I Deserve Love
It is Saturday morning, the end of my third week of getting up at 5AM and practicing meditation and yoga before I start my finance job. I have heard that it takes 21 days to make something a habit, and yesterday morning I felt a flow when I woke up. I actually woke up before the alarm and my body and mind were ready for it. The weeks before that it had been a lot of work to get out of bed that early and start moving my body. I would make some coffee and feel tired and irritable, and not want to sit and meditate and do yoga. But that feeling has slowly changed into an anticipation for my morning routine.
I always thought meditation was going to do something ‘to’ me. That when I was sitting cross legged on my pillow on my floor that suddenly I would have an epiphany or see the light somehow. I heard people saying that meditation changed their lives, and up until now I would sit waiting for that change to happen. I was waiting for a vision, or a feeling that would explain everything. Something to come from the heavens or outside of me to show me the way.
Now I realize that I was approaching meditation the way I was approaching my life. Waiting for something ‘outside’ of me to give me validation or direction. I have always been motivated and ambitious, but it was always to reach a goal. There was always an end result I was aiming for, my actions were determined by the outcome they would create. But when I think back, when I did achieve my goals that I made for myself, did I ever celebrate? Did I ever feel satisfied completely? Not really! If I did, it was never for that long, and then I would immediately set another goal for myself.
My celebrating, and my happiness, was always in the future. I had to work hard in the present to get to some imaginary future where I would be relaxed and satisfied. The picture in my mind was of me being loved and appreciated, but not for who I was, for what I had accomplished. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious or wanting a better life, but I was doing it so that I would measure up on some scale in my head, to everyone else.
Meditation didn’t give me a vision or a message to show me the way. But it has started to shine a light on my own actions and motivations. It was so hard for me to meditate in the past because I didn’t like myself when I was still. When I was just a human being with all my faults, I rejected myself. That wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t allowed to just be myself, I had to be moving and ‘doing’ something interesting for myself or for someone else. I had to be useful in some way, otherwise who was I?
I know so much of the way I feel came from growing up in an environment where I had to compete for attention. Where I was never allowed to just ‘be’ and feel my emotions. If I wasn’t playing my family role, or checking in on my mother’s feelings I would pay the price. That price would be either punishment, humiliation or the worst, being ignored. I learned quickly what I had to do to get what I needed to survive. I didn’t have time to feel my own feelings, so other people’s feelings also took too much time for me. I lived in my head trying to avoid pain, and gain love and acceptance.
I brought so much of that neediness to my marriage.I wanted so badly to be accepted and loved, and I once again worked really hard at it. I wanted my marriage and my new family to take away all the pain from my past. But the more I pushed that hurt part of me away, the more it showed up when I least expected or wanted it to. I was trying to gain love outside of myself. I wanted someone to tell me that I was lovable and worth their time. Love, like so many other things in my life, was a goal to achieve. And I was determined to work as hard as I needed in order to get there.
I have known these facts for a long time. This is not a completely new revelation for me. But it is the way I am seeing it now that is different. I am not seeing it as the hurt vulnerable child, or the neglected wife. I am seeing it with love and empathy for the person that I was. I did the best I could, given the tools I had at the time. I forgive myself for trying so hard, instead of being embarrassed about it. And in forgiving myself, I see that the people around me were hurting too. They were doing the same thing I was, and just like me, probably didn’t realize that it wasn’t going to get them where they wanted to be. They were trying to gain love outside of themselves by controlling and manipulating because they didn’t feel love inside. We were all treating love like a commodity that we exchanged, withheld and gave under certain conditions.
Meditation has allowed me to see my own thoughts and actions as separate from who I really am. They are separate because I can change them. I can think different thoughts and I can take different actions at any minute. They are not ‘who I am’. I am more than that. I am at my core a human being with love inside of me. I know I want love and peace in my life, deep friendships, and hopefully one day to fall in love again. Those are the things I want, and I am starting to realize that they aren’t goals to achieve, they are in me already. Instead of working so hard, I need to relax into and feel the love that I already have.
In being still, I am slowly started to accept that I am a perfectly imperfect human being that is doing the best I can. I am not less than anyone, and I am not better than anyone. But I am part of everyone, and most of us want to feel love and accepted above everything else, we just have different ways of what we think we need to do in order to gain love.
Love is not something to be achieved, but a gift every single one of us are given as being human. Somewhere along the way, I was made to believe that I didn’t deserve to have that gift. That somehow I was being selfish if I acknowledged and protected the love I had inside of me. I was conditioned to give it away freely to whoever asked for it, and not to ask for anything in return. Looking at it this way, no wonder I felt so sad and depleted. No wonder I was looking outside myself to get the love back that I had given away.
But I know that the love I crave so badly is already inside of me, the only work I have to do in order to receive that love is believe that I deserve it!