This post is a follow-up to Tiger’s Cascais Meditation & Spiritual Musings Episode Called “Self Love, Permission to Be You“, written by Gail Florence.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Matthew 22:39
Isn’t it amazing no matter how modern and fast-paced living has become, everyone still seeks, speaks, and screams love? In books and films, fine and digital art, political and social messages, social media posts, songs and dramas, science journals, advertisements and everyday conversations, all pertain to an expression of love. It seems lifestyle, technology, and diet can change but never love. However, while it is most revered, it is also most difficult to gain. Many people believe it is hard to love, to open their hearts to someone else, and to accept another’s veneration. The struggle of simply loving is undying.
Ironically, love is free. If there are no conditions, hindrances, preferences and limitations, love can be felt, experienced and shared. It seems love is only made available if expectations are reached or sometimes exceeded. Such is a painful experience. “I will love you if…”or “I can accept you if…”are words we repulse to hear but painstakingly work on. As Tiger Singleton describes,
“…the conditioning we grew up around ideas of love often become a possessive love. It shows itself as a conditional love that says, “I love you if…” Do you see this, “I love you if…” is a statement that says, “I want to love you in the future,” which doesn’t speak to a real love right now? “I will love you if I get what I want.” It is important to recognize that, however ingrained or conditioned that might be, that we see the innocent insanity of this – the, “I love you if…” is not a recognition of, ‘I love you right now.’”(T.S., 2019)
Naturally, conditional love has made us hide the truth of ourselves in order for us to experience the love we believe is real. The denying, restricting and suppressing our true selves is the most constricting process we go through in our lifetime. To give ourselves up for the want of another is a sacrifice. Thus, there is sacrificial love or the painful choice.
Tiger shares, “Do you see that this is the great difficulty? ‘I can’t just be as I am,’ which is like saying, ‘I can’t be honest,’ and if, ‘I can’t be honest,’ is like saying, ‘I can’t be the truth of what I am.’ Is there anything more painful than this, so painful as to say you are not worthy of you?
In my own examination of my life, it seems like this has been the only challenge – some intrinsic fear that says, ‘It is not okay for the truth to be the truth. It is not okay for me to be me.’ You can see this intrinsic fear is almost a fear that says, ‘I don’t know if it is okay to love myself because you might not love me.’ I have pointed this many times before in the statement of, ‘If I want you to accept me, I have to reject myself,’ which is again something that could say, ‘In my attempt for you to love me, I must withhold love for myself,’ which is to say, ‘I must be who you want me to be.’ We see this throughout human condition that we are somewhat determined to be accepted by the world, be loved by the world, (and) get something from the world.”(T.S., 2019)
Can’t we just be ourselves and be with people who can accept us fully? The answer is WE CAN. If it is a choice, the choice is always there. We can always be true to ourselves. We can always be downright honest about our vulnerabilities, fears, shortcomings and blind spots. We can always regard our insecurities, flaws and weaknesses. We can always delight in our strengths and what makes us happy. We can always accept and love the way we are. Scripture even allows to love ourselves. For in loving ourselves, we can see how it is to love other beings. To accept our nature creates the capacity to accept the nature of others, too.
Tiger beautifully encourages, “I say these things to see how directly connected self-love is with self-honesty, so much to say that the real love for yourself is to allow yourself to be honest… Do you see that the play of self-honesty, the play of sincerity is simply to acknowledge what is there, what is true, what is real? This is the nature of sincerity or honesty – what actually is… This is what I love about the expression of love between human beings…the sincerity of that love says, ‘You have permission to be honest. Even if it is not what I want to hear, you have permission to be you.’”(T.S., 2019)
It is for us to look at ourselves and connect to our honesty. It is for us to see love that welcomes the truest of our nature which starts with us. And if other’s can’t accept us? Let them be. Allow them to have their experience. Allow them to be what they are. Allow them to choose what they want. Letting them go is loving them too.