I’ll never forget a time in my thirties when I was sobbing, talking to my angels. “I love him! I love so much I hurt…” sniff, sniff. “That’s not love!” The angels were very firm with me. I got offended. “What do you mean?” I protested. That’s not love, they said. That’s longing. Love feels beautiful. They were right. I was crying that I loved someone when in reality, I was pining away for this person to love me back. The angels told me to stay away from this person completely and work on myself instead. It was tough love on their part, but it was love. They saw the light within me and didn’t want me to torture myself looking for a cheap substitute in another who couldn’t offer it.
And thus began my exploration into self-love… which in truth is an exploration into the true, beautiful connection that we have with the Divine as it lives and breathes within us. Now, finally, a few decades later I truly know how to love. And it doesn’t hurt. It feels amazing.
Just a few days ago I felt compelled to comment on a string of nasty comments under a YouTube video. I gently but firmly reminded others that all that matters is being loving and kind, more so than being right. A rather angry gentleman responded to my comment by saying, “Shut up you stupid $!*!!” I won’t repeat the word. It was too vulgar. I felt only compassion for this man. Only a hurting soul could make such a childish and wounded attack. I wrote back, “Thank you and God bless you.” I meant it. I didn’t accept his pain into my soul. I sent love. “Thank you for showing me you need love. Bless you.” He didn’t know what to do. It changed his energy. I felt it. He wrote back more kindly and even with a bit of humor.
The more I enter the mystical realities, the less I want to do anything other than let love flow through my being. It hurts to withhold love. It hurts to expect or long for others to love me back if they don’t. It feels amazing to create love in my every day life for myself and for others. It feels amazing to simply accept life as it is and myself too and make my decisions based from that very uncomplicated reality. I fill my own cup by doing simple things I enjoy every day. I share when I feel full because it feels good. I hold my head up high whether others like me or not. As Rachael Ray, the famous cook once said when an interviewer asked her what she thought about a “hate site” dedicated to bashing her, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.” The less attached we are to others’ opinions of us, and the more true to our own heart we strive to be, the happier we become.
I no longer absorb, or feel the need to change or even stay around unloving behaviors. I can love someone without liking their behavior. I can love someone with whom I want no more interaction. I am loving the light withing their being, respecting their right to act as they do, while also respecting my desire to spend personal time only with those that uplift my soul. It is a balancing act. It took many years working with angels before they convinced me that honoring my own heart could be loving even if meant someone else might not like my choices. I took awhile to truly believe that when we love ourselves, and honor ourselves, everyone grows. We serve souls, not egos.
Love doesn’t hurt, but it does expose the unloving behaviors in ourselves and others… the ones that do hurt.
Even when people cannot love me the way I wish, or don’t act as I would like, this light that I have worked to find within myself, rises up and helps me sees their innocence and their need to listen to their own hearts. This light celebrates growth and expansion. This light comforts me even when I don’t get my way.
Mother Theresa is quoted as saying, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Our challenge in life is to grow through the less evolved forms of human love, longing, expectation, etc., into a deeper form of love – one that wants only to honor the light within ourselves and others. This love truly does elevate our spirit. This love feels as if we are running pure water through our souls. This love makes us feel like our best self, it fills us with joy, and it needs nothing in return. In the words of Thomas Merton, this love “is its own reward.”