Opening and giving to others is a movement that starts and ends within.
In order to offer our love to others, we need to first give to ourselves. Does that sound paradoxical? It’s not. The amount you can give is directly proportionate to the capacity of what you are.
When we pause for a moment in stillness, we become instantly more self-aware. Oh, there you are. We are present and able to see clearly the most important character in our lives – ourselves. Our “selfs.” Are we really paying enough attention to this person?
Taking good care of yourself seems easy, right? You just do it. Of course. How simple. Except it’s not. Because until you actually accept and understand who your “self” is, it’s pretty hard to actually love it. We do this by simply being present with ourselves. Discovering our needs and filling them, just by asking, “what is it that I need right now?” Taking our time, taking what we need. Offering basic compassion. Nourishment.
When we are filled with self love and approval, we are better able to give. What’s more is that we can give from an authentic and meaningful place. We can continue thirsting to offer more of ourselves, but without internal neglect, mindlessness or deprivation. We can channel our motives for avoiding focus on ourselves and learn that we can give not to fill a void. That void is filled with peace and love from within, not without.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
Allowing someone to love us is equally difficult as actually loving someone.
At least once, you’ve likely looked around and thought, “I don’t understand why you love me.” You are being loved without feeling deeply deserving of love. This is normal. It comes from the very nature of unconditional love, in which we are loving in a way that is more than baseline requirements. We are taking the risk to offer a love that is otherwise not needed. I’m convinced this is one of the more powerful feelings we can experience as humans.
I think a lot about isolation.
One can become so well-practised at being unloved that they cannot accept it. When someone genuinely loves them, the only thing they know how to do is push them away. They cocoon themselves in a false security that seems impenetrable. Unbreakable.
And we are put on earth a little space
That we may learn to bear the beams of love
And these little black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove – Blake
In order to endure love, we must make ourselves vulnerable. We must risk loving without the certainty that it won’t be rejected or exploited. We must love wildly, until we forget where we are in space, and what the date is, and who will judge us.