Lately because of my own personal work and also the work that my clients bravely undertake, I’ve been holding the words from “The Bridge” by Nayyirah Waheed “…you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.”
Love often feels so conditional that we expect that we have to be a certain way, act a certain way, have accomplished certain things in order to deserve love. It’s also a fickle thing where we fear that suddenly someone will stop loving us – just because. We worry that people will find out who we really are and no longer love us. That our flaws, which are a part of our personality, make us undeserving of love. This breeds shame and embarrassment about who we really are. At our core, we often feel that we are unworthy of love. This is unfortunately something that is cultivated when we are young, and persists as we get older through social situations, advertising, etc. Through these influences we are told that there is something we need to change about ourselves – only then are we lovable, only then are we to be accepted. Our desperate desire to belong causes us to compare a ourselves with our peers and focus on our differences. We learn to hide our differences when we’re young and as we grow, it becomes much harder to learn how to embrace our differences.
I’d like to challenge that it is our differences that should be celebrated, that our flaws are not flaws at all but something that has developed because of some pain in our past. That we are worthy of love and acceptance. However, this is much easier to write than to accept and put into action. Unfortunately, too often our default is to compare ourselves to others, or to think there is some part of our self we need to “fix.” This often leads to judgement of, and isolation from others. However, if we can hold the thought that “I’m am worthy of love just like my neighbor, just like my friend, just like the woman at the grocery store,” then we can begin to accept ourselves as we are – no strings attached.