To love or not to love
Every now and then I get messages from people who tell me they’ve given up on love. They don’t want to try any more because they’ve tried for years or even decades and they are still alone. They sound bitter and disappointed, and quite determined too.
But I always wonder, why do they have the need to tell me that, me of all people. Especially after they searched and read one of my blogs on how to find a partner.
Maybe it’s because I am so vocal in my belief that everyone can find a partner and they just want to prove me otherwise.
I know that saying love is within everyone’s reach sounds idealistic. How can I say we can all find love, when there is so many people who have never been able to? Well, it still doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t.
I have no proof, or ways to prove I am right. I can only vouch for what I know – and that is a life of experience that is all my own. Am I subjective? Of course I am. But so are you, I-know-I’ll-be-alone-forever-person.
I believe you can find it because I found it. You believe you can’t find it, because you haven’t.
So where does that leave you? And why are you reading my posts, if you disagree so strongly with me?
I think you are reading because you want hope. Because you can’t, no matter how much you want it, choose a life without love and be completely fine with it.
Of course, in a broader sense of the word love – you can’t choose a life without any kind of love no matter how hard you try. Love is an experience, and a feeling, and a state we all have in our lives. There is no life without loving, and being loved. There is no person who hasn’t experienced love either as a receiver or giver.
But unfortunately – we humans are very selective about what kind of love we want and appreciate. We all crave the love of our parents, yet we seldom get it in a form we desire. And we all want to be special to that special someone who will love us and be our One.
Love is the one wish we all share, and we want it so much in some forms that we usually fail to see we already have it in some other ones. And that we can feel it whenever we wish, because we already have it in us – the ability to love.
Is that love, the one we can feel for ourselves, and other creatures – less worthy than love we get from our partner? No, but if we think it is, no other love will ever be enough.
We can love deeply and be loved with true passion and dedication by our friends and even pets. We can love so many things and so many people, and concepts and ideas, and phenomena, and books, and sunsets and pieces of art, natural or man-made.
Yet, our craving for the love of a romantic kind is sometimes so great it makes us oblivious to the wonders of this world that is by design so full of love. We cannot enjoy the love that’s within us because we are so focused on not having the one we want from others.
We forget to love ourselves. We don’t even know why we should. What is there to love? Why is that even a thing, self-love?
Am I selfish if I love myself? Shouldn’t I care more for other people, isn’t that the right way? What if I get self-absorbed in this love for myself, to the point where other people will condemn and discard me? Will loving myself backfire on me?
Those are all legitimate concerns, in a world that still shuns self-love as something superficial, unnecessary, and even wrong.
There are more and more voices, books, research and evidence that loving oneself is key if we want to experience any kind of lasting happiness, but there is still enough doubt to make those voices seem foolish or not “scientific” enough.
Matters of the heart are very hard to measure in a lab, and even harder to quantify in numbers and formulas. So what that leaves us with is just a decision – to believe or not to believe. To try and see for ourselves.
We can’t prove if there is life after death. We can’t prove if we have a soul or just some chemicals in the brain emulating it. We can’t prove many things – not yet at least, including the benefits of loving oneself.
And someone who has never truly loved him or herself, and that is most of humanity, will find it hard to believe in something they can’t see, or can’t see a solid, material proof of.
I can only tell you this: start believing. That is the only way to take the path which will ultimately give you proof. Why? Because it is a much more productive way to spend the rest of your days than believing the opposite, and doing nothing.
I can’t persuade you into something, but I can show you that it is possible. I can tell you my story so you can get inspired. I can give you tips and tools that will help you get a glimpse of what it’s like to love yourself, even for one moment, even for one little thing you think is loveable about you.
But that’s just a start. And the journey is long, so don’t give up too soon.
We’ve all loved ourselves as children without being aware of that love – we didn’t know any different. Then family, society, rules and our own conflicting desires made us un-love ourselves. We wanted to be liked, appreciated, approved – so we started doing things we thought would please others.
The more we did that, the less love we felt. We stopped being authentic, peaceful, satisfied, connected with our own nature and needs. We forgot what truly makes us happy – following our passions and desires, enjoying life spontaneously, listening to our inner voice. We grew apart from our own sense of self and got lost, confused, insecure and empty inside.
We stopped loving ourselves, yet there was no love from others that could easily replace it. Because others didn’t approve and love us the way we thought they should or would. They wanted us to be a certain way, yet we could never fully mould ourselves into any of their moulds. Everyone had different expectations of us, and we could never – and still can’t – satisfy them all.
That’s what we do when we want love – we try to be someone else, someone who we think is worthy of love. We change our appearance, we try to learn skills that will help us win over the person we want. We try everything and anything except being ourselves.
Because, who would love us just the way we are? We were that person a long time ago, as children, but that didn’t work. We never got the love we wanted when we were just ourselves.
This is exactly where the problem is. You can’t be loved for something you are not. You cannot know what is it you need to be to be loved. You can only be yourself, and be loved as yourself.
That is the only kind of love that is true, and real. You will never feel loved if someone falls in love with your mask. Your pretend personality. Your “best” self. The one you think has at least a tiny chance of being loved.
The more you try to be liked by following society standards of beauty and likeability, the more you think that you need to be or look a certain way because that’s what men or women want, the less success you will have in finding a person who will truly love you.
That is why loving yourself is so important – because you will not be you with others if you loathe yourself. You will present them something you are not, and you will get the kind of attention you don’t really want.
They may fall in love with your mask – but it will only last as long as you have enough energy to keep up appearances. And you will only see and fall in love with their mask too, because the people who don’t wear masks don’t look for love among those who do.
So go, do it, start anywhere – with books or meditation, professional help or just simply being with yourself and connecting with how you feel, and who you are, right now. You cannot possibly connect with others deeply if you are not connected with yourself first.
Learn to love yourself, and, bit by bit, the world will love you back.
What is the one thing that makes you feel more love for yourself?
When do you feel most connected and at peace?
Thank you and thank you again for sharing and being in this space with me.