Everyone wants love. It’s an emotion that is known to begin at infancy and that we cannot fully process to our dying day. In the interim, we are thrashing sometimes not so quietly in frustration, hurt, ecstasy, loss, bittersweet moments, regret, trauma…you just name an emotion; if you can name it, love is surely behind it.
It’s not only the healthy that need love. In fact, the healthy get their fill of it to the full. Everyone wants to be around healthy people. However, healthy people only want to be around other healthy people, so there is not so much healthy love to go around.
One admirable attitude is found in Christ when he said, “It is not the well who need a doctor, but the sick…” (my paraphrase). Think on it. Think on it real hard. Harder. No, you’re not thinking hard enough. If you were, you wouldn’t be sitting here reading my article.
You’d be out in the field, looking after drug addicts, the homeless, and the mentally-ill warehoused in prisons. You’d be volunteering for the right reasons. You’d be making time for your kids and spouse. You’d stop playing or chatting and give TLC to your pets. In short, you’d no longer need to sit here reading articles written by a crazy “half-wit” like me.
So you’re still here. O.K.
Why do we have a hard time at the end of the day in an empty basement suite to face the night alone? After the chatting and gaming has somewhat died down, we are bored. We’re not processing love. What do I mean? Well, I know when I’m left to fight sleep for yet another night, I often lay anxiously on my bed and ruminate on why I’m still alive. Then, meds kick in and I’m out like a light. I wake up the next day, numb, but full of optimism that today, today will, has to be, must be, different.
Unfortunately, it’s more of the same. Same solitude. Same chores. Same soul. At the end of that day, I’m ready to throw in the towel, yet again, and then phone the crisis line.
Can I blame anyone? No. It is my problem alone to fix. Period. If I want to heal, I cannot blame my parents, I cannot blame my bullies, I cannot blame my first ex-boyfriend. If I don’t change my attitude, no matter how much love my family, my friends, even strangers at an LGBTQx Pride Parade, try to shower on me, I will not process it.
The secret of the processing is to not be hard on yourself. Let love break through the cracks that make you vulnerable bit by bit, ray by ray. It may be just a glimmer. It may be a flood. It may be a steady stream. In any way that it may manifest, get into that head and heart space that allows you to receive the emotion of being loved by trusted ones, and the occasional, truly kind stranger.
It is the self-belief that you really are loveable.
It starts with compassion on specific people in your life. Make “excuses” for them while maintaining your boundaries. Basically, you are giving them the benefit of the doubt whether or not they deserve it. That is grace. There is nothing so lovely as grace. All the beauty of Van Gogh and a truly beautiful person is in their grace.
Make a phone call home, just to see how the folks are doing. Or to get more basic, go to a dog shelter and walk a dog. It is a privilege to have the S.P.C.A. in our country. Many countries don’t fully treasure and protect all living, breathing creatures. That may be their prerogative, fine. Just be glad it need not be yours. ~V
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