When it really comes down to it, the only thing that matters is the quality of your relationships.
Young, old. Male, female. Pale, dark. Whatever you are – doesn’t matter.
Also doesn’t matter whether these relationships are at home, or at work, or on the playing field, or at Starbucks.
What I know down in the marrow of my bones about what matters and makes people feel happily fulfilled is this:
That you know someone fully, and allow yourself to be fully known.
The only antidote to all the anxious striving we seem to do in this world of ours is to have a truly safe and secure place to just be yourself. Which is, in my estimation, the best idea of love. The writer Henri Nouwen summed it up when he said, “Love is making a safe place for another person to be fully himself.”
So say what you want about having a flashy car or that fabulous house in the best neighborhood or Kardashian-esque heels, it doesn’t match having a friend who remembers when you both ate ramen seated on the floor because no one had any money for chairs – and loves you as much now as he did then.
Or when you absolutely, truly and thoroughly make a horse’s ass out of yourself – it’s your true friends who wince right along with you and then support you as you pull yourself out of your mess.
Or who stand by you when you have to make a tough set of choices.
Those are moments when the quality and nature of your relationships make a real difference in how it all plays out. On how you get through. Without taking the risk of allowing yourself to be fully known, and accepted, you wouldn’t bounce back as quickly – or maybe at all.
Some folks think so poorly of themselves, though, that they fear that allowing themselves to be fully known would end up…really badly. You know, if other people saw just how stupid, coarse, corrupt, and just plain wrong they are, there is no way they could be accepted let alone “loved”.
They’re sure that there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening.
So they keep their self-perceived flawed true selves bottled up and hidden away like a crazy aunt in the attic, and the snowball really never does have a chance. And, as a result, these folks never feel the thing they want the most – a real gift of total acceptance.
The real crux of it is that they can’t accept, let alone love, their flawed little old selves. So there’s no room for anyone to return the favor. Which has got to be the first step – if love is making a safe place for another person to be fully himself then surely self-love is making a safe place for me to be fully myself, too.
And it sure is funny how when we start to make a little space, suddenly it turns into a large space with plenty more room than we ever imagined.
Enough space to let love in.
If you’re in that place – and who hasn’t been there at one time or another? – where you’re feeling rather alone… rather unloved… kind of unaccepted…sort of lone wolfish…and it feels…bad…
Create a little space for self-love. Treat yourself the way you’d treat your dearest darling or your closest friend, even if you don’t have one presently.
Be that which you seek to find.
And, the space you make will soon be filled.
With true, real, loving friends. Who totally dig you.