by Sarah May Bates
…To want something despite the fact that it will cause you pain and devalue you is to not love yourself. It is to disregard your own health and happiness for the sake of a chemical high sometimes misinterpreted as love. I would call it “extreme want” – something that is painful and intoxicating, but blinding.
…One of the best pieces of advice I got when I was stuck in my head was to stop trying to “figure it out” and do everything in my power to get to a place where I could hear my real voice inside. To listen to my feelings, what my body was already aware of but my brain chose to ignore. Now I strive to hear it constantly and when I do hear it, I never betray it. The self is everything. It’s the divining rod that will guide you truly. Don’t let chemicals and ancient feelings get in your way.
I recently arrived on a new definition of love and I have to say, it has grown into something much better and much bigger than I could have understood before. To love someone you have to know them and know them honestly and you have to be present and aware and whole. There have been times that I felt I was in love with someone and I realized I was in love with my idea of who they were. A rendering half-completed by my own excuses and explanations. This false-reality also created an internal incongruence in that my gut was telling me things that did not match my outlook. I became blinded and lost without my inner voice to help me find my way out.
Coming out the other end, I would like to offer this to those who perhaps are stuck somewhere that doesn’t feel right and those who don’t quite believe that perfect love exists. I don’t know if I will find it but I know what I want and I don’t want anything less. Real love is different. It requires that both parties reciprocate the feelings, and if one party is incapable of caring for the other properly then that should be accepted, and you should move on. Real love means a person will never willfully hurt you (aside the occasional fight where words are thrown and then retracted). Real love means you can be yourself and be honest about your feelings and never change yourself to please the other person. Real love makes you stronger, helps you grow more and go farther. And everything that is special about you is brought to life. Real love is peaceful and soothing. It is family. It helps you to blossom.
To be truly available to another person and love them and receive love, you must first love yourself. Looking inward, taking care of yourself, retaining your balance and clarity above all else is the most important thing in the world. It will give you all the answers you will ever need with friends, work, health, family, in times of pain and trauma, in times of overwhelming change. If you can take care of yourself and stay connected to your body enough to feel your gut and know when it is talking, you have the most important thing in life. Never lose sight of it. If you have inner conflict – that’s a sign that your “mind” is trying to tell you to go against your gut. Just slow down and listen. And whatever you do, never betray yourself or hurt yourself, because what that does is tell you that you don’t matter. That you are not worth loving. And whoever you are, that is false.