I spoke with a woman today who told me that she had decided that love was a lie that people tell you to get what they want. She said that she didn't believe in love anymore. This comment made me very sad but I knew it to be her truth in that moment. I know that it is a truth to many other people too. And the worst part is, it's not their fault that they believe that.
We Are Culturally Programmed Not To Get The Love We Need
Our culture has told us that all the love we need should come from those around us. There is this image of the loving family and the loving partner who fulfill all of our needs for love, who tell us that we are good people, and who approve of us enough that we can approve of ourselves too. But in the same breath, we are also taught that we shouldn't toot our own horns, or even really think well of ourselves - any positive self-image is treated as hubris and arrogance and we are thrown down to the ground "for our own good" to keep us humble. And so we live in fear of love as much as we live in desperate desire for it. And so we go out in search of love, despite our deepest beliefs that it doesn't exist because we can do nothing else. To let go of even the hope of it is too depressing.
We Can't Have It - Even When We Do
Why are we so desperate? Because we have forgotten how to receive. Even when love is coming to us in abundance, we don't believe it. And when we don't believe it, we may swim in what we believe to be the mirage of it for a while, but we will never fully take it in. It is as though we are dying of thirst while floating on top of a pool of the sweetest water in the world. Yet again - it's not our fault. We have been culturally conditioned not to receive. We are told "it is better to give than to receive" and we believe it. But let's look at the logic of this for a moment.
"It's Better To Give Than to Receive" - NOT!
Giving and receiving are a binary process. In order for one person to give, another has to receive - one cannot exist without the other, therefore it is impossible for one to be "better" than the other. The maxim is complete crap.
The First Step to Love
The first step to having more love in your life is in learning to receive. Because I guarantee there is already love in world that you are not receiving, which if you learned to let it in would instantly create more love for you. Also, in learning to receive love - without worrying if we are worthy of it or if we deserve it - is the first step to learning how to love ourselves. And it is only in learning to love ourselves that we can ever truly, fully love another.
Love Is Not A Lie
Ultimately it is not love that is the lie, it is our belief that we don't deserve it, aren't worthy of it, and that we are unlovable that is the real lie. Our refusal to accept our own inherent lovability that denies us the ability to choose good partners, receive the love we are offered and treat ourselves with the love and respect that we deserve. All the other problems we have with love stem from this very real issue.
Love Should Be Empowering, Not Victimizing
Our experience of love, when it begins from within is a very different one than we have when we are desperately grabbing for it from every person we meet. When we seek love from others to fill the gaping void within, we are victimized when they cannot be everything to us - when they cannot provide for our every need, when they aren't enough to fill us. Leaving both us and them feeling like we aren't enough, don't have enough and will never be enough. But, when we begin with love within ourselves, for ourselves, we are empowered to create a more loving world for ourselves and for everyone around us.
How Do We Find "Inner Love"?
Learning to love yourself is a process. It is a process of unwinding old beliefs, letting go of the cultural conditioning you've received, and choosing to make yourself a priority in your own life. It is not easy, but it the single best gift you can give yourself and everyone around you.
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