From very early on in life, we are taught implicitly that love is conditional. Whether it’s a well-intended “good boy” when we open wide for that extra spoon of apple sauce, the hugs we got when we would hurt ourselves, or the bonus allowance we’d score for a good grade, all of these little exchanges instill the idea that you need to do something or become something to get something you want. And underneath all of our wants and needs, our deepest desire is to be loved.
Put two and two together and you have a recipe for a lifetime of striving and suffering based on the idea that we don’t just get to be loved as we are. Love is often given as a reward for action and achievement. The resulting message we get is that we can’t just accept and love ourselves here and now without any reason or rhyme. Oh no, we have to sweat and struggle and work to get better and better until we one day arrive at the promised Neverland of perfection and worthiness.
I’ve spent a long time going down that road and chasing that elusive destination, and I’m officially done with it. And it took a huge spiritual kick in the ass to get me to this point. I get a lot of love from a lot of different places in my life. Just you being here reading this blog is a form of love and acknowledgement (thank you). I also have an extremely loving and supportive family and an ever-growing tribe of soul family in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, and Australia. I’m not saying this to brag but to highlight how INSANE I would have to be to complain that I don’t get enough love. But there’s that troublesome word again. How much is “enough”? And believe me when I tell you that in my moments of greatest achievement, in those moments when I have been on the biggest stages, and sometimes even when I’m surrounded by those who love me most, that feeling has still haunted me. Something’s still missing.
Here’s what I’ve discovered. As long as we operate in a reality where we believe that love is conditional, no amount of love or acknowledgment or praise or notoriety will ever be enough to fill us up or makes us feel complete. And the reason is that if we have the belief that love is earned, not given, whether we know it or not, it will completely limit our ability to love ourselves WHOLEHEARTEDLY. And if we’re not loving ourselves wholeheartedly, fully and completely, then we will always feel like something is missing and we will continue to live our lives in search of the next achievement, the next epiphany, the next notch on our spiritual belt so that we can get “better” and be more “worthy” in order to….yup, get more love. And so the cycle goes.
So here’s the solution: the quest for more, bigger, better STOPS NOW. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and go within. Really allow yourself to tune into your heart and feel all the love in there. Feel your connection to the Divine’s infinite supply of love and goodness. Once you’ve made contact, allow yourself to become present to the truth of who you really are, of your oneness with all that love, of your right to claim and use every last drop of it, right here, right now, just as you are. If you don’t believe me, ask your heart if its love is unconditional. If you get any answer other than a resounding “yes”, that’s your mind talking. (It’s ok, we love the mind, too, but we don’t need its input on this one.) Remember that you’re already worthy and that there is no condition upon your ability or right to experience all that love and be embraced by it. Notice any blocks to your experience of that whole heart full of love and notice any part of your heart that’s holding back. Let them go and say goodbye to the experience of being unfulfilled, incomplete and dissatisfied. Release yourself from the need to constantly work, struggle and fight for every little drop of love you can get. Immerse yourself completely in the warm, cozy embrace of your own heart’s love as though you’re giving yourself a huge energetic hug.
How does that feel? Pretty good, right? That’s how the un-conditioning happens. By feeling more and thinking less. By gently reminding ourselves over and over again that love is UN-CONDITIONAL. By remembering that you are and have always been enough, and worthy of all the love you desire. And the best part is, all the love you could ever want and more is in your own heart. It’s a bottomless well of love and the only thing stopping you from experiencing its fullness and splendor is that false belief that love is anything but free. It’s yours to have, to feel, to share, to give and to experience. It always has been.
So the search is over. There’s nothing left to do, or get or become. You have all the love that you seek. You ARE the love that you seek and you are here to experience it fully and to share it with others. And from there, you can be, do or have anything you set your sights on, not because you have to, but because you choose to.
Written for The Daily Love (Dec. 9th, 2012)