I am sick. I’ve been sleeping most of the weekend, feeling unlike myself as cold and flu medicine circulates in my bloodstream. My fever broke but I still smell salty-sweet from my sweating. I’m wearing my shirt inside out for some reason…

My face is broken out and my eyes are glazed with that lost look of sickness. By all measures, I am not exactly desirable right now. Yet here I am, feeling totally, completely and fantastically loved.

Looking in all the Wrong Places

I haven’t always felt this way though, even when at my best. There have been countless times when I was well, fit and primed, yet still felt rejected, undesirable and unloved. It took me over 3 decades to discover what was available to me all along: love starts with ourselves.

See, back then – 2, 5, 10, 20 years ago – I was more concerned with what was “wrong” with me than anything else. Everything was a potential weapon I could use against enemy number one: myself. Of course I was the problem and if I could just look right, act right and be better everything would change.

Well, everything did change, but it’s not because I found some perfectly “right” way of being. I simply allowed myself to start paying attention to more than my fear and pain. I started to appreciate the love in my life instead of justify my rejection of it.

Coming Back to the Truth

I never needed to work out every day to be loved, but I tried to use my own self-worth against me to manipulate myself into doing just that. I never needed to push myself beyond my own boundaries to be loved, but I would sacrifice my integrity for any small semblance of external approval anyway. I never had to lose myself and become what everyone was told to want, but I was too busy listening to the chatter of desperation to tune into my own heart.

I had it all along, I was always loved, but I couldn’t accept it. I was never good enough, never deserving, and my life became a distorted version of who I thought people wanted me to be rather than the expression of my own unique divine existence. I had rejected myself, and from that place I couldn’t accept anyone else either.

The turn around came when I broke through rock bottom and found it was me running things with pitchfork in hand down there. I had to decide if I would keep feeding my inner hatred and disease or if I would endeavor to rise above, so I started climbing out from the pit of my own dispare.

Starting at the Bottom

It wasn’t easy; reclaiming my life would require sacrifice and strength. I would meet challenge after challenge, most from within, my thoughts and emotions seemingly at war with my intention. I had spent decades grooming myself into a victim and undoing all that conditioning is time consuming, and painful.

I wanted to become “the person I could respect most” in this world, and though I have always enjoyed personal development, I started to pursue my actual enlightenment for the first time. That was just over 3 years ago.

Making the Climb

Since making a commitment to authenticity in the summer of 2016, my entire life has changed, and that has included my understanding of love. What I was chasing for all those years was approval, not love. What I deprived of myself of in attempts to try and get approval, that was love.

It started with me, I was the one who decided that not being approved of meant I was unloved. I was the one who denied myself my own affection and care in order to try and manipulate myself into becoming something I wasn’t. And it has to be me who undoes all the damage too.

I am sure I will be continuing to deconstruct, heal and integrate what I’ve learned about loving myself throughout the remainder of my life. I find it absolutely vital that the time it takes does not matter though. I cannot allow myself to create new conditions for my own acceptance and love again, even if they “evolve” with me to sound desirable to my new world views.

Becoming Aware and Appreciating the Journey

You see, love isn’t a destination but a way of traveling. There is no prescription of behavior or belief that makes you more or less deserving of love, but what you believe about love will color every aspect of your entire life.

When I didn’t love myself, I didn’t love anyone else, and I couldn’t accept any love for myself from others either. Love was to be earned and well, no one is worthy.

But that’s just it. True love is a blessing that extends beyond justification and deserving. By opening myself to the grace and beauty of love’s power, I was able to overcome my own limitations as well.

Taking in all the Majesty and Splendor

I am still making this climb, I am still undoing the damage I did when I was desperate to force myself to be “ideal.” I don’t know how long this journey will take, and I don’t care. It’s all great now.

Here I am, feeling gross and undesirable, knowing I am loved. I have opened up and as a result my life has become filled with love.

I had over 150 messages on my phone to catch up on from this weekend – all from encouraging, inspiring and loving people I am blessed to know, from all over the globe. I have a generous and loving family, I’m close with my sisters, my mom, and my grandmother. I get to be a part of things I am passionate about and am no longer afraid to make people uncomfortable or be unliked.

I don’t need everyone’s approval anymore because I have my own. No, I’m not perfect, but I’m also no longer suffering the delusion that I should be either. I am better than perfect, I’m real.

Every Vista an Achievement

I’m not sure that there is a top to this climb, but there are innumerable views along the way. Wouldn’t it be sad to miss everything in a desperate scramble to summit?

That’s what I was doing for the majority of my life, more concerned with achievement than living. I never stopped to admire the speckled inclusions in my sensitivities or marvel at the expanse of my mind, I had been missing out on the immense passions of my heart for even the smallest of delights.

Now? I am enchanted, each moment a blessing. It doesn’t matter how well I do at something because I’m already proud of myself for trying. I no longer try to manipulate myself and my Self is very grateful.

It is in this way I feel I already have everything I could ever want. True richness comes in perspective and true wealth emerges from gratitude. No matter what my life holds, it will be blessed because I bless myself and others. No matter the challenges I may face, I will rejoice because the outcomes are less important than what can be learned.

I wish this freedom and joy for each of you. If you have been denying yourself your own love, decide to stop manipulating and do the work of repairing your heart. You have the power.

“Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have.”

Rabbi Hyman Schachtel

Blessed be my beloveds!

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