Before and after love
Before and after love
I have a powerful memory of love. I was about 2 years old and sitting on my grandfather’s lap, with the sun streaming through the nearby window. I remember feeling such an indescribably profound feeling of love inside me and I completely surrendered to it. I felt so held and so completely loved. My mistake at the time was that I attached that feeling to my grandfather rather than realising that the love was inside me, so when he passed away a few months later I was left feeling completely bereft, and I spent the next four decades trying to find that love outside of myself.
I think we are all born with a knowing of what love is, and knowing that it’s something we need. Otherwise, how does a child grow up knowing there isn’t enough love in their family?
My parents did the best they could, and they were very focussed on the practicalities of raising a family. I know they had their own private inner struggles as well, which is something I didn’t fully understand until I was older. At the time, growing up, I just felt unloved and unseen. I grew up with a sense of worthlessness, that I was unlovable, and that there must be something wrong with me.
As I grew older, life felt like it was missing something – it felt empty to me. I couldn’t see what I was looking for in the world around me, so I escaped into a fantasy world. I spent much of my life looking for my ‘true love’, thinking that I would find it with a man. I had grand romantic fantasies of how perfect life would feel if I could just find the right man. I thought if I could find someone to love me, then that would prove I was lovable. But somehow it didn’t quite work that way; even when I found good, worthy men who loved me for who I was, I wasn’t able to let the love in – I thought that anyone who loved me must have something wrong with them too.
When people spoke to me about self-love it seemed like a somewhat pointless concept, definitely not grand or romantic. To me self-love sounded a little … boring. Wasn’t the point of love to fall madly in love with someone who would love you back – a partner who would make life fulfilling and make you feel complete? But actually I have come to realise now that unless I learn to love myself, I won’t truly let love in from others. And in fact, if I love myself, I won’t feel needy of love from others, because I will already feel complete and loved.
It was quite a discovery for me to realise that loving myself felt just as special as the ‘perfect love’ I had imagined from someone else, and in fact it is the love from me that I have been missing all this time.
I have come to these realisations through becoming a student of the Ageless Wisdom. I love learning about the Ageless Wisdom because it is so much about love. It is love that we are made of, love that we are held in. When I listen to Serge Benhayon speak and I feel his love for humanity, it touches me to the very core. It resonates so deeply with me that everything is, in fact, about love.
Learning to let love in
I’m learning how to let love in. It’s not something that comes easily to me, having kept it out for so very long. I had a deep distrust of love, not allowing myself to feel it, in case I should lose it again. I also kept love out because I felt unworthy of love. Learning to love myself was not something someone could tell me how to do, or something I can explain in detail. For me it has felt more like an inner exploration, allowing myself to take tiny steps into new territory. Like asking myself: “how would it feel to love yourself a little more right now… does that feel a little different inside?” Even feeling just a tiny bit of love is a good start, that’s something to build on. At the beginning I couldn’t feel love for myself, so I started with gentleness. I practised building a feeling of gentleness inside, in my thoughts and movements. That slowly allowed more room for love.
I began to see the impact of that love on everything in my life. Life felt richer and more meaningful; even the most mundane tasks could feel beautiful. My relationships changed, and the explosive arguments I used to have with my partner virtually disappeared. My life-long battle with anxiety and OCD also improved with each step that I took. I began to feel how beautiful and precious I am, simply for being me.
I really appreciate how far I have come, and that appreciation in itself confirms and helps build the foundation of love, allowing the feeling of love to grow stronger and stronger. Recently I was lying in bed, about to drift off to sleep, when I suddenly felt a huge feeling of love well up from inside me. I automatically tried to figure out what that amazing feeling was due to. Was it for a new person? A new project?
And then I just stopped and let myself bathe in the love, knowing that it didn’t need to be for anyone or anything in particular, that I had in that moment aligned myself to the love in the universe and that love was for everyone and everything, including me.
And in fact, the love is inside me, eternally there, just waiting to be connected to. We are made of love, and the source is inside us, as well as all around us. The more I live connected in this way, the more magical life feels to me.