Love is the easiest and the hardest thing you will ever do.
I have found it much easier to love in my 40's. Love in my 20's, it scared me. Why?, because love means you have to be willing to be naked. I'm not kidding. Love means that you show your true-self, you acknowledge your weaknesses; stand naked; openly sharing what they are. Love means being you. For many of us, we struggle with not being "good-enough," we want that perfection. Unfortunately, it's just not possible.
I could easily walk around with a sign on my chest listing all of my weakness. My sign would say:
"Hi! I'm Kathryn. Sometimes I'm a mess. When I'm a mess, it's because I let this foolishness slow me down."
Here's my foolishness:
I worry I will die and leave my children without a mother.
I'm painfully insecure--seriously insecure and that means I have some anxiety issues!
I want to love everyone and for everyone to love me.
I'm super embarrassed about my weight. I mean look at me...
My husband is so amazing, I can't for the life of me comprehend why Jeffrey loves-me.
I worry; I'm a lousy wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend...
I worry; that folks don't understand my illness and think I'm a big faker.
I don't think that I'm smart or beautiful.
I have huge guilt that I don't work.
I'm a huge slob... I'm super duper messy.
I often feel like I'm an impostor.
I can't comprehend why people read or listen to what I have to say.
Here is the thing. Most days I shut these negative feelings down. I don't let them bubble-up. Period. End of story. Everyone has a bad day and I'm no different. When I have a bad day, I reach out to the people I trust more than myself. I know these aren't rational feelings, but they are part of being human. I share that my anxiety and worries are bigger than me. It's in these rare moments that I fully trust others. The people I love.
I work hard to acknowledge these fears and set them aside.
My fears rarely slow me down. Why? I will tell a person on the street what my fears are. When you "wear and own" your fears, they no longer hold you back. Today I find my fears self-propel me and make me work a little harder. They don't stop me. It has taken a ton of internal work, but it has enabled me to be fearless.
The fearlessness of acknowledging your struggles, makes it easy to love. I have nothing to hide, so that means I can be transparent.
Transparency is freedom.
Freedom not to judge you and the freedom to allow you to love me. I get that you have messy too. So just tell me your messy, and let's get it out. When you share these "triggers" it also explains why some things make us a little crazy. When I know you struggle with your weight, flying, fear of hospitals, or public speaking. It means I'm never, ever, ever hurt you with that. It means I love you so much that we will protect your soft spots together. I will hold your hand and never leave your side. It means I know this is hard and I have your back.
My mother-in-law shared with me that she is amazed how I just meet strangers and they become good friends. I laughed, it's true I do make friends in the most unusual places; but my response is, why doesn't everyone? Life is so much better when you have a big circle of happy people who love you and you love them back.
I want everyone I meet to feel special, to feel important and that our interaction was significant in my journey. Don't you?
Don't you want everyone you meet to feel your love, your connection of happiness and your touch of a little joy? Do we all fail at this everyday? Sure. But, isn't it worth trying?
If you are looking at your life and questioning why your relationships aren't where you want them...perhaps you need to ask yourself the question: What are you really afraid of? What don't you want others to know about you? What are you hiding? Are you open to honestly listening to others? Or are you making fun of or worse minimizing the very things you promised to protect (their fear of flying or fear of hospitals).
Keeping some things under wraps may be preventing you from the greatest loves ever.
Peace be with you,
Photo Credit: PilgrimageGal Daughter