Monday, January 14, 2008

All You Need Is Love

"Standing at the crossroads, trying to read the signs
To tell me which way I should go to find the answer,
And all the time I know,
Plant your love and let it grow.
Let it grow, let it grow,

Let it blossom, let it flow.
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, let it grow."
~Eric Clapton, Let It Grow

It begins from within. It begins with loving self. We can't love anyone else until we learn to love our selves. Once we learn that magic trick, the rest comes easily. The rest falls into place. Like the man sang, once planted, just let it grow.

Truly loving yourself has nothing to do with pride, and everything to do with humility. When we love another, we want only the best for them, and we will set aside any hindrance to help them achieve that. The same thing happens when we love ourselves.

I used to care about everyone else first, and then me. I put myself at the end of the line and left me there, running to catch up. It's exhausting and unfulfilling. I pretty much despised myself and didn't really care what happened to me, so long as everyone else was feeling good. Because of that, I ended up in a dormant marriage, vastly overweight, and finally in a career that tried to crush the spirit out of me.

I woke up one day and realized, somehow, that I was worth loving too. It was an epiphany that sent my life in another direction. I got out of the marriage and started losing weight. Then I found a relationship wherein I was not only loved, but respected for who I was. Somewhere along the line, through a series of tragedies, misperceptions, and a misguided need to commit to an overly stressful career, I lost sight of that.

It took a cataclysmic event to wake me up to it again. It took a dying man, saying, "Please, be good to yourself. Be the woman I've always seen and loved and believed in." I'm here for a reason, I'm worth something, and I love myself. I love who I am. Because I've rediscovered that, the things I want for myself and the things I want from this life are beginning to fall into place.

My best pal, Laura figured that out a couple of years ago too. The biggest, and most obvious result to come from that is that this weekend, she finally reached goal weight after losing nearly 110 lbs. She's one of my heroes. Not so much because of the weight loss, although I know what a daunting task that is, but because she gets it!

I've seen growth in my friend Timothy. He spent years loving everyone else better than himself. Then he turned the corner and figured out that he had to be true to Timothy above all else, and amazing things began happening in his life. It's been a gift to be able to watch him become.

Does loving one's self mean that nothing bad will ever happen? Of course not. It just means that we'll be better equipped to deal with it when it does. Does it mean we never set ourselves, our own wants and needs, aside for the good of someone else? Of course not. But it does give us the wherewithal to recognize what it is another person really needs from us (even if what they need most is to head off down their own path). So, love yourself. It's ok. It's more than ok; it's required. It will make you want the world to be a better place, more, it'll make you strive to make the world a better place.

there ain't no reasons things are this way
its how they've always been and they intend to stay
i don't know why i say the things i say,
but i say them anyway.
but love will come set me free

~ Brett Dennen, Ain't No Reason

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