Don’t we all wish as we reach our middle age that we had a little bit more information about this often misused word, love, when we first fell in love and experienced heartbreak. I know that my journey to find love was long and sometimes unbearable. It took tremendous introspection and revisiting painful and confusing childhood experiences to truly grasp the meaning of love. To grasp just how little our parents and their parents understood about true love. It took forgiveness, not just other people, but forgiving myself for not looking deeper for answers and simply blaming others for not understanding what love means.
When I grasped that life will love you back as soon as you start loving it, everything changed for me. A world opened where I could be free to accept kindness and love from a man, after so many failed attempts. So many times of giving away too much too soon, just in the pursuit of receiving some form of acceptance and appreciation for who I was. But I was not a whole person, and every time I tried to heal by entering into a new relationship I just lost more of myself. It reached a point where I simply did not want to love anymore. Until I stared hard and deep into my own shortcomings, and admitted that all the work has to start with myself.
Today I am a wife and a mother, two things I once thought I don’t deserve to be, but I thank myself for taking a chance on myself, and finally on love itself, shared with a husband, and now with my daughter. I can transfer what I have learned, lovingly, and with kindness and patience because it took me half of my life to understand.
I have read many books on these topics, but one book that sticks with me, and that I still pick up every now and again, paging to a chapter that I need reminding of, it is my little reference book on all the big dilemmas in life: The Road Less Travelled.
So today, on the day of Love, I want to share this with you from Scott M. Peck’s gem of a book:
The act of love – extending oneself – as I have said, requires a moving out against the inertia of laziness (work) or the resistance engendered by fear (courage). Let us turn now from the work of love to the courage of love. When we extend ourselves, our self enters new and unfamiliar territory, so to speak. Our self becomes a new and different self. We do things we are not accustomed to do. We change. The experience of change, of unaccustomed activity, of being on unfamiliar ground, or doing things differently is frightening. It always was and always will be. People handle their fear of change in different ways, but the fear is inescapable if they are in fact to change. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear, the moving out against the resistance engendered by fear into the unknown and int the future. On some level spiritual growth, and therefore love, always requires courage and involves risk.
Read it again, and then read it once more, because every sentence, every idea is so huge, so deep, it needs to find a little place in your heart where you can go back to as often as you need to, especially when you are challenged by your loved ones, and to remember and understand that when you love, you extend yourself, you break free from the fear to share your vulnerabilities and accept and understand theirs.
I leave you with this:
We want someone that we can be at our weakest with, and not feel so. That our vulnerability isn’t taken advantage of, but taken care of.” – Dae D. Lee. How beautiful, but the question is, if this is what you want, is this also what you are willing to give?
May you slow down, and look at love as both a gift to receive and hand out.