On Receiving Love

Giving to others the love, care, empathy and support that you yourself would most like to receive is of course only one half of the love equation: you must be open to receiving it into your heart from other people and this you cannot do unless you truly believe that you are worthy of it.

It doesn't matter how many people tell you that you are lovable and it doesn't matter how demonstrative they are about their love for you; if you do not truly believe it yourself, you have unknowingly erected a wall which stops that love getting through to your soul.  This has serious implications for your well-being, but it also hinders the imagined universe of which I wrote last week (in which there is more than enough love to go around for everyone).

If you do not believe that you are worthy of receiving love, then it doesn't matter if people have love shining like sunbeams from their faces and it doesn't matter if everyone has made of themselves a light, because that love and light cannot penetrate the wall you have erected to hide the fact that you don't think that you are worth loving.

Taking down that brick wall could well bring you face to face with every vulnerable moment that you have faced in your life, each one's name written on every brick:
The boy/girl/man/woman that broke your heart - Brick number 102
The parent that made you feel you weren't good enough - Brick 33
The best friend who told everyone your secret - Brick 108
The colleague who let you down - Brick 2
The one who shouted and hurt you - Brick 5

And looking at each of those bricks might show you what you did internally with what happened to you:
Brick 102 - I am not good-looking enough
Brick 33 - they were right and no matter what I do, I will never be enough
Brick 108 - people can't be trusted
Brick 2 - I should keep my ideas to myself so as not to risk embarrassing exposure at work
Brick 5 - I must keep my feelings hidden so that nobody will hurt me like that again

Perhaps you decided you aren't worthy of love to protect yourself; or because someone made you feel that way; or because it was the only explanation you could come up with for having been rejected; maybe you secretly think that if people knew what you are really like, they wouldn't even like you, let alone love you.

Whatever the reason and however it is made manifest, when it comes to love, I really do think that it is easier to give than to receive.

But just giving it is not enough.  To love totally and fully, to be able to see the light in everyone, you have to learn how to accept love and care from others; you have to know that you are not perfect AND you are lovable.  Just like everyone else.

Bring to mind someone you care about; imagine how they would be if they didn't make mistakes, didn't put their foot in it, lose control sometimes, get the giggles, act like a fool, lose things, act a little self-importantly sometimes.  Haven't you just taken everything that you love about that person away?  Haven't you just turned them into something a little less than human?  Do you even want to be friends with that version of your friend?

So now, why don't you let yourself off the hook.  The chances are that people love you FOR your shortcomings and not in spite of them.  You are lovable and you are good enough, exactly as you are right now, before you give something to someone, come top of the class, get promoted, earn more, lose weight; you are enough without having to prove anything. 

The strange thing is that when you are able to do accept love from others and put away that niggling sense of not good enough, then you find that you are not so needful of love; that it doesn't need to be so big and all-encompassing; you are not so demanding of it and nor do you have to reject it.  Now you are able to accept lots of little bits of love and know that you deserve it, you don't go looking for the big ticket demonstrations that prove that you are lovable when you don't really think that you are; and this makes possible a smaller, quieter, more fulfilling life.


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