Sitting on the patio, the sun has warmed my hair. It has been far too cold this Canadian June and I yearn to head south for the warmth of climate, family and friends I’ve been missing for far too long.
I’ve been reading Love 2.0 and am learning that, on a biological level, face time with people we care about is as important as we believe it to be. I’ve been working on synthesizing some of the material in this book along with several articles that all seem to play off each other, but it’s been slow-going because I keep finding more information in this book that I want to share with everyone. I feel like it’s totally ground-breaking, as far as how we need to shift our perspective on the L-word.
Incorporating this new information into my own life, I’m learning that we hold ourselves back so frequently. Between what I’m learning in this book and really taking to heart the quote from Don Miguel Ruiz: “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally,” I’m learning to throw caution to the wind and be direct and forward with what I want out of life.
It scares the shit out of people.
I’m learning not to be afraid of myself and the effects I have on people. In my journey of becoming more of who I am, as well as in my journey of learning how to heal (both myself and others), not being afraid of my innate power is vital.
We ALL deal with Me Phobia… haha, I should clarify that by saying we’re all afraid of ourselves, not that all y’all are afraid of ME. (though maybe you should be! *steeples fingers* Muahahahahahahaaa!!!)
And not only are we afraid of ourselves but many times, we can be afraid of others who are actively overcoming their own fear of self. Like I mentioned up screen, it scares people. A friend of mine told me a story a few weeks ago about how an acquaintance of hers told her she just couldn’t hang out with her anymore because her light was so bright. For real. I barely knew what to say because it was the first time I’d heard of anyone actually owning up to being afraid and subsequently letting that stop them from continuing to be around a particular person because the person was too comfortable with themselves and therefore too blindingly awesome. Astounding. Truly. I am shocked at all the ways we let fear limit our too-short experience of life on this planet.
The graphic above really reminds me of the Marianne Williamson quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Playing small does not serve the world, neither does it serve me or you. I used to be so much more neurotic and anxious than I am now and I find I like myself better now than I did then. I don’t fret nearly as much as I used to, which is not to say I don’t still make mountains out of molehills, just that I do it far less frequently.
We are liberated when we allow ourselves the freedom of taking nothing personally. When we realize that it’s them, not us (for the most part, within reason — if you’re being a racist asshole or a victim-blaming, rape culture sympathizer, etc., then it’s you, not them) — but if you’re being a generally stand-up person sticking to your integrity and life-affirming, accepting ethics, and someone is put off by you, then that’s them, not you. We can all learn to respect one another, even if we’re not in accordance with each other. We all dance to the beat of a different drum and one of the most amazing things about life here is that we can sync up with each other occasionally and have amazing times together. And other times, the syncopation of another’s beat to our own provides us opportunities to stretch ourselves and grow.
When I realize that my directness, even if tactful, heartfelt and honest, can be seriously off-putting for some, that means not that I need to stop being that way, but that I need to be patient. I can soften the harsher edges of my communication style if I want, but I don’t need to bend over backwards just to get them to like me or not be put off by me. If they’re able to meet me where I am, then we can have a hell of a lot of fun together. If they’re not ready for me, then that’s the path they need to walk. It does not mean I need to play small to suit their needs. If I spend my life conforming to others, I lose the beauty of who I am.
This is partly where face time can come into play. All too often, I’ve had the experience of trying to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in a very very long time (thanks, Facebook!) and while I’m very similar to who I used to be, in many ways, I’m very different. And without all of the benefits that live, visual interaction can give, with vocal nuances, facial expressions, and eye contact, when it’s just text on screen, it’s really damned difficult to show all those things that help animate that text and situate it more appropriately. Soften it, in my case, or give it an edge or emphasis it otherwise lacks without face time.
That said, people are either going to gel with me or they’re not. And sometimes face time isn’t really necessary to feel like you get where the person is coming from. This is how authors can create characters we fall in love with or despise. This is how we make friends online. Life is so full of ways we can connect with each other and I’m learning that what that connection is is love. Love is connection. This is what Fredrickson has discovered and has written about in Love 2.0. Love is connection.
And this is an ongoing exploration of why we are so threatened by connecting with who we are and connecting with other people in real, honest, and direct ways.
We are always evolving and life is a journey of learning who we are. When we are able to be at peace with the journey of ourselves, so many opportunities for real connections with others open up and life becomes a series of joyful moments strung together by a sense of security in who we are.
Few of us are really there, but it’s a place I catch glimpses of every now and again. It feels real and fulfilling, and so I keep striving to learn how to stay longer. To learn how to quiet the ego’s incessant and droning chant of inadequacy.
This is not to say that life will never be hard or troubling or upsetting. No. What it means in learning to connect with ourselves and really love ourselves — love who we are — is that we are more able to take things as they come with the added perspective of being comfortable in our own skin, in the relationship we each have with ourselves, and a detachment from taking things personally. We’re more able to understand that others are on their own path and there is far less judgment of others in understanding that simple fact. And with less judgment, there is automatically more compassion.
Becoming comfortable with who you are allows for greater compassion for others.
Connecting with who you are allows for more potent connections with others.
Loving who you are allows you to love others more freely and honestly.
Why does this scare us?
It scares us because we conflate love with commitment. It scares us because we listen to our ego-based intellect more than we listen to our body-based heart. It scares us because we let ourselves be limited and let fear diminish our perspective in this world.
So how do we scare people in one simple but not easy lesson? Get over our fear of ourselves. When you let your light shine, you will nourish many and blind some who are not yet ready to bask in the awesomeness of you. Ain’t your fault, so don’t take it on.
You gorgeous thing, go love yourself up, now, k?