“If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, Living Buddha, Living Christ
The current collective belief around love seems to be that you must first love yourself before you can love someone else.
Do animals have to have love themselves to be loyal pets?
Aren’t we susceptible to the same sort of conditioned behaviors? After all, we do depend on each other. It would be hypocritical of me to say that I don’t believe in the notion “love yourself first” and I think there is a fatal flaw in it.
It doesn’t leave much room for compassion.
There’s not much room for error or space to learn about love. In fact, sometimes it comes with a threat, “Love yourself first or no one will love you and you can’t really love anyone else.” That’s pretty shitty if you ask me.
I guess the perspective you take on it is what matters most. If we are all one, all a mix of the same elements, all just recycled souls; then I suppose loving yourself is equivalent to loving everything. The kindness you show the microcosm that is you has the potential to ripple out to the macrocosm.
And oneness is a nice concept but when you are lonely, it sucks.
Plus, we exist in a sweet’n low world; half and half. Or as the philosophers say, a world of dualities.
To be in relationship we must be separate from each other. A mirrored image is not the same thing as the thing is it reflecting. Even if we reconnect with our Twin Flame—the identical match to our soul—we still exist in different bodies and carry out different lives. In my work I’ve noticed that there is a real preoccupation with finding a soul mate.
And, as an aside, soul mates are just agents of karma. It’s not like you get a stamp of authenticity and a life-long guarantee because you found your soul mate. They are just teachers along your journey.
So, it doesn’t matter how esoteric a person gets. On a fundamental level being a human-animal means learning, adapting, and growing. It is pretty basic stuff.
And love isn’t really that complicated either.
As a intuitive counselor, I’ve worked with so many clients who have wondered, “When will I find love?” “Where has love gone?” “I lost my love, how can I get him back?” and many other cerebral inquiries about love. It would be naive to think I’ve found the answer and I do think I’ve found a damn good response:
Love cannot be lost, nor earned, nor proven, nor stolen, nor traded. It is just forgotten and our choices help us to remember that love has been here all along.
The separateness that happens when you are in relationship is the catalyst for helping you remember everything you’ve forgotten. We learn and grow through contrast.
We’re all one and we’re also each separate beings.
This too is an esoteric concept somewhat based in scientific fact. I don’t pretend to understand quantum physics. But, what I do believe in is the periodic table and the fact that all the elements on it make up our known world. I’m made of the same things stars are made of—in other words, we are elemental.
And on the biological level my nervous system and body develop in reaction to the elements inside of me while also configuring to the environment surrounding me. In simple terms, I’m never going to be a beautiful black woman. I was born a wild Italian woman. And that has set me up for a certain type of life—complete with chin hair and a penchant to mother people.
Let me get to the point.
You learn to love yourself by loving another person because that person gives you feedback about who you are, the impact you have, and new perspectives. Then you get to decide what to do with that.
They may share the same elements as you, the same soul and their life is uniquely theirs.
There is not much esoteric about diversity. And it is miraculous that you were born who you were with a signature all your own. Your uniqueness has the ability to shape the world as we know it.
Your life means something.
Every choice you make and action you take is the opportunity for new awareness to be born into the field of mass consciousness. Over the course of my writing career, I can’t tell you how many phrases I’ve typed out that shocked me because they felt so original and unique to that moment. They came through me. I was chosen to be the one to craft something special.
We can choose to open to love and participate in something special.
Every time we love it is a reinvention.
Again I say, love is never lost—it is just forgotten, and falling in love with another person just aids you in creating the conditions to remember. The choices you make help craft the conditions for you to experience all life has to offer. Further, pain helps us remember what we’ve forgotten to pay attention to.
In this life we are growing, adapting, and rediscovering what we already know from you to me and me to you.
I love you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard