Three months ago it was Valentine, the traditional or perhaps more commercial day on which we treat, meet, discover, celebrate, … our ultimate lover. The streets and shop windows are decorated with red illuminated hearts. Everything is about love or perhaps rather being in love. Everywhere restaurants filled with wonderfully staring couples, drowning in the dreams they discover in each others eyes, safely warming in the embrace with each other’s arms.
In itself there is nothing wrong with this holiday and with celebrating each other and the relationship in which you experience happiness and love together. But often one forgets to look beyond the eyes of the other. Often one forgets the reflection of itself that one recognizes in it. Often we seek ourselves in the other person, but we find ourselves ultimately in that mirror image, within ourselves.
Loving yourself unconditionally is not self-evident. From an early age we are taught that appreciation, that being there, that being good enough, that love, in whatever form, is often only given if we meet certain expectations or rules. We unconsciously learn that loving ourselves can or may only happen under certain conditions, and that this often requires confirmation from the outside. In that sense it is logical that later in life in a similar conditioned way we look for appreciation, for love, for approval, for confirmation, again and again outside ourselves, again in someone else.
But what you do not have, or do not give to yourself, you can not share or give to someone else. The promise of unconditional love threatens to become a superficial conditional dependency. “I love you so that you love me because I can not love myself enough yet.” Dependence not only between partners, but also between parents and children, and more broadly in any form of human relationships.
In that respect I often get up with a feeling of fundamental loneliness. Fundamental because for almost my entire life I denied the connection with my true self. The broad context of me growing up conditioned me in various ways to let go of that connection. Unknowingly, I learned to believe that who I really was, who I felt I was, in a broad spectrum of personality traits, wasn’t right, wasn’t enough, did not fit the expectations of so many boxes that were projected onto me or imposed on me. At that time an almost necessary strategy to survive that context. Today a long road inwards to learn to live again.
In the experience of this loneliness, this inner emptiness, I may receive an invitation from my Inner Child to look for them within. Time and again a big challenge. For so long I have unconsciously taught myself to hide this painful emptiness under patches, under a large influx of external stimuli as an anesthetic, te prevent me from feeling what had been hidden inside for so long. A body that goes into resistance as an automatism, afraid of pain that was once too big to feel, too incomprehensible to process.
But with every tear that gets room to flow, at any place and any time, through the experience of forgotten pain and sorrow, I can let go of those old beliefs about myself, those twisted conditionings, those wildly-grown obstacles that have kept the road to myself barred. Tears not like weakness, but tears of real strength from full vulnerability. Tears as liberation. Tears as resurrection. Tears that like Kintsukuroi may fill the cracks in my heart with gold. Tears that might once fill a sea that others can enjoy while on their way to themselves.
In the senselessness of life and myself, which often rises from these moments, I may travel in the sense, in the direction of myself. I may learn to find and have meaning within myself. Feel like myself! I may discover that giving meaning is not something that you should receive from others or from life. Meaning is actually found in giving yourself to that life unconditionally. An unconditional manifestation of my Inner Child that is good it is every time again. No measurable results, no goals to be achieved, no expectations or boxes. An natural existence in which my Inner Child has the space to grow up unconditionally as the ultimate partner in my life.
Within the last four years, since my burn-out, which was the ultimate awakening of my own flame, I have already taken a whole spiral movement inwards. Sometimes they seem to be endless circles, meaningless repetition without change. Often I am tired, in my tears, rolled up like a scared filly. I search for patches to cover that which painfully demands attention. But I realize that, if I were to find them, those patches, they would only be a temporary postponement of what must be felt. Pain, grief, things that we often label as unpleasant emotions, however, do not have to be suffering if you feel and release them with self-love without resistance.
In reflection of those four years, I feel closer to my true self as ever before. Every time I descend deeper, my Inner Child grows and heals, until we can take hold of each other’s hands and write history together. As the most beautiful confirmation to ourselves, and from this patient road inwards, a while ago I fell in love with myself while falling asleep. A new experience, a new feeling that gave blissful satisfaction. No narcissism, but a healthy coming home within myself. Love for the pure fact of being here. Love for self-being, self-giving, sense-giving. Self-Love!