“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
By nature, human beings are story tellers. It’s how we make sense of our lives. Every story we tell starts from a belief we hold to be true about ourselves and the world around us. Every story we tell starts from a place of fear or a place of love.
Ultimately, we identify ourselves by the stories we tell and we accept the love we feel we deserve.
We all search for love. Although you might subscribe to a whole host of definitions of love-the unconditional love of your child, romantic love, the love you have for your pets-your body only subscribes to one: connection. Love is connection. Belonging. Kindness. Compassion. Longing. The Supreme Emotion. Call it what you want…we all search for love.
We seek out this love in in our conversations with others, feeling a sense of validation when we’re recognized or heard and feeling worthless when words are kept from us. We seek love in bathroom mirrors and reflections of store window-fronts, hoping with each passing glance we might like what we see. We seek love in the redeeming qualities of others and when it just doesn’t work out, we chalk it up to “falling out of love.”
We spend our lives seeking and pursuing love like feathers in the wind.
For many years, I told myself a story of un-love-ability. I convinced myself that my happiness and ability to be loved was outside of myself. That my happiness depended upon weighing less than 95 pounds. That my degree of love-ability depended upon how perfect I could present myself. The stories I told, created my reality and my incessant drive for perfection manifested in an eating disorder, an interview at Renfrew Eating Disorder Clinic and two days spent in Friends Hospital for depression.
Flash forward two years and I’ve given up diet pills, caloric restriction and excessive 5+ hour workouts. I’ve moved on from toxic relationships that were no longer serving my highest good. I’ve upgraded my thoughts to more loving ones. I have more good days than bad. While these are all things to celebrate, I want you to know something very important: I’m not “there” yet either. None of us ever are. Maybe it’s in a single moment where doubt creeps in. Maybe it’s something that overrides your day to day life. In the end, we’re all here trying to be more loving to ourselves, just to greater or lesser degrees. I still have days where I’m not so happy with how I look. I still have days where I’m very much in my head and harbor negative thoughts when I could lovingly choose a new one. But here’s the big difference from two years ago: I now know love is who I am. I now know love is not an outside job. It’s a storyline I can choose tell and live. Every moment. No matter what is going on around me. No matter how dark it seems within me. The light always comes from within…
…but I also know how easy it is to forget that.
Recently, I was reminded of the power of stories. I watched someone I love dearly slip further and further into a fear-based story. The further imbued in fear she got, the more I distanced myself and the less love she felt she was receiving. The less loved she felt, the more she sought it out. The more she pulled, the more I pushed away. It was like playing with a Chinese finger lock: the more we both struggled, the more stuck we became. As she sought validation, I chose to move myself further and further from our situation. I chalked up my resistance to tough love meets spiritual lesson, the “You have to learn to love yourself and I can’t do that for you.” And while it was true I could not recreate her story, my emotionally unavailability only served to fuel her fear-based stories. Despite the fact that I was saying over and over to her that she was love and had to find this love within, my actions told her that love was in her outside circumstances. A simple “I love you” formed the story that she must be loveable after all. But when the words didn’t come from my mouth, and they seldom did the further she went into erratic fear, her stories confirmed what she believed to be true: that she just wasn’t very lovable and worthy after all.
In reality, neither her stories of love-ability or un-love-ability were true. They were both storylines based on outside circumstances, reinforcing who she believed herself to be and what loved she believed she deserved. And to a greater or lesser degree we all do this. We identify ourselves by the stories we tell and we accept the love we feel we deserve.
The greatest story we can ever tell is one of love. The greatest story we can ever live is also one of love: to simply love ourselves and allow ourselves to be loved in return.
Sometimes living that love means loosening our grip on the things we fear losing. Other times it means letting go of the stories someone else is telling. The minute we do that, we bring ease, love and compassion back into the picture. We create space onto the page so that we can tell a new story.
Our truth is love. Our fear is that we are unlovable. Everything else is just a story line. What story will YOU choose to tell today ?
To new stories, new beginnings and living in love always,