When people tell me they love me, I still cringe in slight distrust—not fully believing them.
Do they truly know me? And love all of me?
I cower backward slightly with the weight of their words.
Compliments? Praiseworthy compliments? Those do it too.
To love someone wholly—completely—isn’t that what we all seek? And simultaneously fear and resist when it arrives?
It is a deep, innate desire of ours to feel love and belonging, and to be acknowledged for our gifts.
But light doesn’t exist without shades of darkness.
Duality. This is life.
We are life. Light and dark.
To love one is to love the other. We don’t get to hand pick what shade we get.
Some days, we are more dark than light. More storm than clear skies. Other days, we are light as a freshly emptied rain cloud. These are the passing weathers of our own emotional vain.
We don’t always get to choose it.
We would probably prefer if we could choose it. Naturally select what weather we will experience.
Emotions and moods encompass the richness of life. To know joy is to know loss. To know pain is to know relief. To know hope is to know utter defeat.
We live and thrive on polarities. And sometimes, we get whiplash from our own passing moods, let alone other’s. It doesn’t make us wrong, flawed beyond repair, or even inauthentic or disingenuous. Being true to what you feel in each moment is authentic.
Plus: it makes us human.
I know, I know. Some of us on the spiritual path would love to just slip right past the messy, human emotions and get on with our enlightenment.
To be human is to feel the fullness of the human existence. Not to escape it, or spiritualize it away.
Let me repeat and remind you: You are human. And as my favorite vulnerability coach would say,
“You are imperfect. You are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ~ Brené Brown
So, no I still don’t fully, at my capacity, believe people when they tell me they love me or dote on me with a generous compliment. I believe that I am those things (mostly, kind of, okay working on it), but it is not solely who I am.
I am light as I am dark. I am soft as I am hardened. I am deeply compassionate as I am bitter. I am both/and.
You are both/and. Not one. Not limited to one. Not limited to one experience. Break open the limitations of identity. And you will see that you are whole.
Holy and wholly loved—as you are.
Love has previously come with expectations for us to be “good,” to be a certain way, to behave and perform. This is what we must unlearn. We must remind each other that love is not equated with how we have acted or what desirable or undesirable mood we are in.
Love is who we are. Even if it doesn’t feel like it. It is just the wisdom of life remembering itself whole.
Remember yourself whole.
And in that, we can remember others whole when they too need the reminder of love in dark or less than shiny spaces.