Fucking painful. Well that has been my experience. Whether it be myself or someone else, this love evolution has been a painful journey.
What I have learned most on this journey is really how little I loved anyone. Myself at the top of that list. I just didn’t know how. I knew how to compete, to attempt to be better than, to change, to posture, to need and want but love was not on my agenda.
I think that I mostly saw people as beings to get needs met. Or wants. I wasn’t really concerned with the whole love exchange because I wasn’t capable of it and I was calling a whole bunch of things that weren’t love, love.
I didn’t have a clue about loving myself. So how could I possibly love you?
My early years I think love took the form of occupation. The relationships I had occupied me and I them. It wasn’t completely a hostage situation because I am one who has always needed her freedom, but I like to think of myself as a free agent, even when the words I uttered and the commitments I made, made me anything but a free agent.
I was not capable of intimacy, with myself or any of you. So relationships were just a frustrating exercise of trying to go deeper with people by refusing to go deeper with the people I selected, or by picking people who were not really interested or capable of going deeper. It was a vicious cycle, and it kept me tied up for years.
Heartbreak has a way of gaining attention that is much easier to splash all over the place until you are decimated. For me, that process, while so incredibly painful, changed everything for me. I could not understand how someone who said I was his everything, I was the love of his life, could leave. I still don’t if I am honest. I would have walked to the ends of the earth to make that work. But him, nope. In the end, he wouldn’t even have walked to the end of the street. I hate being honest about this because I feel so pathetic when I write the truth. But I guess I put it out there because I read every single day about people who feel just like I do and think that this other person’s lack of love, affection, intimacy or departure is their fault. It isn’t. That relationship ended because it wasn’t the right one for me. I was not his everything or maybe even the love of his life. And that is ok. Now.
What I know now, that I didn’t know then was that I was to outgrow that person and relationship. I would never fit into it today. Not even a little bit. And in the mourning and loss that I hiked and walked through, I found a love for me that I had never known before. I spent so much time alone hiking trails that led me to places within myself that I had never known existed. I hiked my way into loving me.
I wish that I had a formula that I could sell, a course of miracles like thing “Hiking through Heartbreak - the course”. With a money back guarantee...of course.
But I know that it matters not that it was hiking. What worked for me, likely might not work for someone else. I guess what I am offering up as hope here is that if you spend enough time alone, doing something for yourself, you just might come out the other side and find that you no longer love him or her more than you. That you have found a love for you that exceeds anything you have ever experienced before...because that has been my experience.
I didn’t really date or commit for a long time. I was terrified to give myself away to someone else. I was afraid that I would again be lost on the horizon of someone else, and all those things I learned to love about myself would disappear.
That has not been my experience. Instead, others continue to be a catalyst to my own growth, forcing me to look at who I am and how I am showing up. And to love myself and them more deeply. It is painful. I am not going to lie. There are days when I miss the delusional happiness of my younger years. Where I was barely invested. I was that free agent on so many levels. Of course, I was never going to get what I needed or wanted, because I was not capable, but it felt less painful. Today, I know that was a major part of my delusion.
It was way more painful back then. I was so lost: to myself, to others. I could only give you crumbs and I could only accept those as well. It was a crumby way to live...sorry I couldn’t help myself.
I was so focused on who and what I was getting, that took all my energy. It took all my time. And I was so frustrated to always feel like I was running to stand still...well, that might have been because that was exactly what I was doing.
Today, I am learning to love more deeply. God. Myself. You. My kids. My boyfriend. Strangers on the street. And it is hard. And painful. And rewarding. And through this process of loving and allowing it to permeate me daily, I am learning things that I did not previously know. And while being hard and not without discomfort, I am learning that love is really what it is all about.
I have always had the ability to love. It is what drives life, if you think about it. Life has become this journey with a very definite and profound end date that I do not get to know, so really what I believe I am supposed to do with the time that remains is to love better, love more completely, love more deeply myself, you and all the beings in this world. Some days I nail that objective and other days I fall so far short. Regardless, I am absolutely sure that this whole life thing is about loving more deeply, day after day, week after week until we are dead.
I like thinking about my life like this because there is always better to be had. Maybe I loved me great yesterday but I wasn’t all that loving to my kids or boyfriend or the stranger at the restaurant, I know what my work is today then. I begin where I fell short yesterday and I try again. I will never get it all right. I will never cross love’s finish line. I just get to wake up each day and do better than I did the day before. Loving God. Loving me, which is the only possible way that I am ever going to love you at all, let alone more deeply.
It is a painful process this whole love business. But I have lived long enough to learn that love continues to come regardless, there are endless opportunities for me to practice and grow toward becoming a more loving person. And it is painful and rewarding and the best use of life that I can think of.
Learning to love more deeply is just living. Some days are easy, breezy and others perilously hard. Love is really what makes it all worthwhile. And it all begins with me. And life got better for me when I realized that every interaction, every moment, every person and opportunity are all provided to me to teach me how to love better and more deeply.