Stop Fooling Yourself

Stop fooling yourself.

I know you know what love is. I know you know what it looks like and feels like.

Love is effortless. It either is or isn’t.

You can’t make anyone feel it, and when it’s there, it will not keep quiet. Destiny will make it come together, in ways you never could have dreamed of.

Love is not convenient, selfish, proud or vain. There is no confusion, doubt, fear, hesitation, restlessness or insecurity.

Stop making excuses.

It’s not shyness that’s keeping love away. Love is overwhelming, courageous, and it feels perfect. It is perfect.

Love drives away fear and insecurities. Your tests don’t become walls. Your reaching out isn’t interpreted as rejection. If there really is love, it won’t end so quickly. It will not make you cry so, it will not leave you to your loneliness.

It’s not love.

I know you know what love is. I know you know what it looks like and feels like.

Stop fooling yourself.

Listen to Hemingway describe love in the film Midnight in Paris (2011):

We Aren’t Here to Make Things Perfect

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Moonstruck (1987)

Loretta, I love you.

Not like the way they told you love is. And I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice. It ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess.

We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts. And love the wrong people, and die. I mean the storybooks are bullshit.

Now will you please come upstairs with me and get in my bed?

Letting Yourself Be Vulnerable

I’ve been listening to many Tara Brach podcasts in the past few days. I find her descriptions of the inner workings of people extremely insightful and true. She uses ideas of Buddhism to understand and explain human emotion and action, and how we can relate to ourselves and one another.

One very interesting thing that she talks about is how we all build scales, to protect ourselves. And it all comes from vulnerabilities and fears — the fear of not being accepted, not being loved, not feeling worthy or deserving of love, etc. And she talks about how we do not allow the love of others to come in because of these fears.

With inspiration of her discussions, I tried to open myself up to someone recently. I definitely did. I was able to go one layer down and reveal the first layer of my vulnerabilities, which I have never done before. But I also realized that there were other layers that I had not reached and had not opened up.

It’s shocking to me how even at times where we have the intention to be very direct, open and honest with someone, we actually are not 100% honest. We still do not reveal the very, very deep workings of our psyche. The very deep and sometimes shameful vulnerabilities that we ourselves have difficulty facing. Even my most honest self, is still withdrawn and scared.

What is it that we’re so scared of? Why is the fear of being rejected and unloved so frightening and powerful? Why do we allow these emotions to control us so? And how can we ever establish truly meaningful relationships if everyone is always pretending that they are stronger and better than they really are? Don’t we all have to let go a little?

Something else I struggle with is what I actually touched upon in a previous post, the struggle of knowing that something is wrong, analyzing it correctly, and expressing it as such, only to later fear that I may have made a mistake or that I have been hurtful. Although my desire to never hurt anyone’s feeling is very strong, I also know that my assessments of and feelings about situations are fairly accurate. And if something doesn’t feel right to me, it probably isn’t right. And that is not something I should regret. I think this mainly has to do with self-confidence and having the assurance of knowing that what I feel, cannot be wrong. Ideas can be wrong. Judgements can be wrong. But feelings, no. You can never tell yourself that what you are feeling is unreal or insignificant. If it exists, if it’s there, there is a reason for it and we have to learn to trust that.

What I do based upon those feelings are still open to discussion. How we react to situations is definitely something that we all can work on. But I think how we feel about them should not be questioned.

Don’t Give Hurt Back

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“Now I can see that I bring out the worst in you. Let me just help you to not say something that you’re just going to torture yourself about for years to come.” You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Be who you want to be, no matter the circumstances. Sometimes we get emotional, we get hurt, we get frustrated. We want to point out the faults in others. We want them to understand how much they’ve hurt us, and maybe even pay for their mistakes. Although it seems attractive, it won’t make you happy. It won’t give you what you want and it won’t make anyone have an epiphany and change. But it may hurt their feelings, and then you end up being the same.

I used to think that not opposing the wrongdoings of others made me weak and foolish. I used to think that it meant being taken advantage of. I felt it a duty to present a mirror to them, make them face themselves, and the dark sides of that self.

But then I realized that no one wants to know. And no one is going to change unless they want to. And if that does happen, it will something internal for them and not something that you initiate. And in trying to show the shortcomings of others and make them face it, I realized that I was being judgmental, defensive and mean. But I don’t want to be that person, I am not that person.

Does being kind and forgiving and loving only apply when others treat us the same way? Of course not. If we truly are the kind people we claim to be, we have to be kind even to those who are not kind to us, no matter what they have done and how much they have hurt us.

This is not weakness. This does not mean that you have to give yourself up to that person. It doesn’t mean you have to be with them or do as they say. You still decide how that person will be in relation to you. You still prevent them from hurting you again. But without hatred or anger, without giving hurt back.

It can be extremely difficult to accomplish this. I’m still working on it. When we are very emotional and sensitive, it is difficult to think straight. You may not get it right the first time around. If you don’t, it’s okay. Apologize and move on. I never feel small by apologizing. If I make a mistake, I will own up to it. I will say sorry, and I will move on.

Listen to this: http://www.tarabrach.com/audio/2011-10-19-Divine-Abodes–Compassion-TaraBrach.mp3 

Truths, Cynics, and the Greatest Love of All

Some believe that love is about another person. No. Love is about ourselves.

It’s about how it makes us feel. It’s the emotions, thoughts, dreams and expectations that we attach to an idealized image of someone else.

And again some believe that love means being with another person. But loving someone doesn’t mean that you have to be with them. It doesn’t mean that the person is right for you or will make you happy and vice versa. It doesn’t even mean that the person is good. Love is not logical. It’s not pre-programmed and it doesn’t fit into a rigid construct. Sometimes, loving someone just means that the person takes up some space in your mind and heart. Maybe forever, and maybe not. And still, that person in your mind and heart is not the real one… it’s the idealized image of that person… because that’s the only one we ever want to keep.

Who is this soul mate that everyone keeps talking about? Is there such a thing? What does a soul mate look like? How do you know it’s him?

What if a soul mate is not a spouse or life companion in the traditional sense? But rather just someone who understands us and accepts us completely and without reservation? Why must all be found in one magical person? Who can satisfy us emotionally, intellectually and physically? Is that the soulmate, the one person who can accomplish all three?

I’ve always longed for a soulmate. Not finding him forced me to broaden my mind.

The alternative truth about all of this is that we are made to believe by society that all of us– our thinking and way of life– must fit into a single box. We are born, we study, we work, we get married, we have children, we raise them, we retire, and we die. Everyone falls in love. Everyone finds someone suitable for themselves. Everyone has a soulmate.

Today I want to tell you the reality. None of this is true. Some people fall in love, and often not mutually. Most people do not find someone suitable for themselves, and few people have what they call a soulmate. And ALL people compromise.

The world is not the cinematic fantasy driven into our heads and hearts as children. Life is challenging and it almost never turns out the way we plan. The true secret to happiness is compromise. Compromising in all areas of life and learning to be content with what we have and not what could have been.

Your elementary school teacher lied to you. What she should have said was: “You cannot be anything you want. You cannot accomplish all of your dreams. But as long as you keep trying, it’s okay.”

From young, we are taught that anything is possible and acquiring our wishes are inevitable. But it’s not what we acquire or don’t, it’s how we tried and how we overcame the challenges along the way.

The truth is that no one is a failure. If people’s success in life was measured by the unrealistic and shockingly over-exaggerated expectations imposed by society– such as wealth, status, appearance and health– you can be certain that no one can be termed to be successful.

I’m not trying to be fatalistic. Of course we can change aspects of our life, but I also believe that there is a limit to what we can change about some areas. For example, no matter what you do, you may never be a millionaire or a CEO. There are only a few areas of your life which you can change without limits and which do not require miracles, well at least for most. And that’s knowledge, belief, and ethics.

There are no limits in expanding and broadening these. No one can prevent you from obtaining them and you can reach as far as you wish. Good thing is that these are actually the only things that matter. And as long as you keep trying, you can never fail, because in all three, the path is the destination. Every day that you try, you succeed.

Going back to soulmates, I suppose one is always a cynic until it happens. I meant, if it happens.

The adorable thing about the human heart is that it’s like a mischievous free child. It forgets. It’s always happy, and it’s always hopeful about the future. The greatest cynic in the world cannot deny those moments of weakness, when the dark, gloomy clouds of pain, sadness and disappointment depart, revealing that glimmering all-powerful ray of hope, however small it may be, that love exists. There, far away, somewhere in the distance, it awaits, to be found and to find.

Some believe that love is about another person. No. Love is about ourselves.

And maybe it’s about our love for the greatest love of all– the One who is most loving.