To be free all you have to do is make yourself wholly available to what is already inside you. — Dr. Robert Holden
When I was younger, I always had the idea that love was a gift that someone would give to me one day. But I questioned if I would ever get it because I didn’t think I was particularly special.
Fast forward several years and several relationships later, I was loved and yet it didn’t transform me in the way I hoped. If I wasn’t addicted to the love in the relationship, I was underwhelmed by it.
I then had to pivot from thinking that I may not ever get it, to thinking that I need the “right person” to get love from. As a result, I dated people I normally wouldn’t and quickly remembered why I didn’t date certain types. They made me feel unsafe but I needed to risk it all for love — or something.
It occurred to me that maybe I was the problem. After all, I am the common denominator in all my failed romances. But I didn’t know what the specific problem was, much less how to solve it.
Eventually, I started to question love itself; not whether or not it existed, but why I had it in friendships but not romance. Actually, the question of if love existed was always laughable because obviously people had it. Some enjoy successful, long-term romantic relationships so clearly it’s achievable. Others enjoy it in families and friendships.
I realized that I was lucky to have this in my friendships and family, but the major contrast from friends and family compared to romance was that I didn’t try to get love from friends and family but I tried to do that for romance.
How odd. Why would I treat these two sides so differently? Was it because of sexual attraction, societal expectation or the media? Was it that friends and family are simply undervalued?
These factors probably played a role but in my opinion, they play a supporting role to the main culprit. In friendship and familial love, I didn’t have the notion that I lacked love, and so I didn’t live like I lacked love. However, in romantic love, I was acutely aware that I was missing that kind of love in my life.
At any point in my life where I wasn’t worried about what my next relationship would be like, I felt perfectly fine. I wasn’t hungry for love. Funnily enough, the times in my life where the love of friends and family were weak, I craved love from them too. But once I accepted the love I had, no matter how small or from where it came from, more people started to show love.
Moreover, I was able to give love to the people I admired because I was and am a love-generating being. Love wasn’t something to get from someone; love was something you gave and then you had it reflected back to you!
Similarly, if someone came to you in hatred, you become resentful too because you are reflecting their hatred back at them. But you do have a choice to respond peacefully rather than unconsciously reflect anger in return. It’s a skill but it’s possible.
If someone came to you with a fearful message, you feel the fear within and the only way to dispel the fear is to question if the message is true or not.
If someone came to you in gratitude, thanking you for something, you are happy and grateful for their kind words. Of course, you can minimize your work and then feel nothing but this is another conscious or unconscious act on your part.
When it comes to love, if you give it, you will receive it. However, some will not be able to return it because they do not love themselves. I was like this. People respected and liked me, but because I did not respect or like myself enough, I rebuffed their love.
As I wrote earlier, I didn’t think I was anything special so one of two things happened. If someone liked me but I didn’t like them, I’d think something’s off about them; or if someone liked me and I liked them back, I assumed I’d ruin it somehow or that I’d be found out and then abandoned.
You are your worst enemy and your biggest fan when it comes to things like this but when you see the truth, you can then make different choices for yourself.
Not only do you have the love you seek, you are the hatred and judgment you’re running away from. It all begins with you, which means you are the one who can put an end to the wrong thoughts and actions, and finally change your life for the better.
So stop trying to find love. Give it and realize that you were looking for yourself all along.