How would you define love? What does love means to you? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there are different types of “loves” in the world. The love for my mom is a different then the love expressed towards my best friend. The love for my girlfriend is much different than the love I have for my sisters. But even though we have different levels and stages of love, I’m learning that there are few commonalities amongst all types of love. One of those commonalities is sacrifice.
I learned a lot about love and sacrifice from my mom. Family love has taught me a lot about sacrifices that are necessary in order to persevere during times of struggle. My mom sacrificed her whole life for me and my sisters when my dad died. That level of sacrifice has taught me the meaning of love and what it takes to truly “be” love. Some of the best moments in life are going to be the ones that give you an overwhelming feeling of love.
Understanding love is not as easy as understanding fear. Love is as equally as powerful as fear but not as easily understood. I have found that the more love you show the more love you shall receive. Most of my adolescence was spent in solitude as I had no friends growing up. The only love I received was family love. When I matured and became a young man, I learned that it was my lack of confidence in myself, along with a host of other factors, that prevented me from receiving love. I was holding myself back. My negativity. My illusions and lack of social understandings. The brutal truth was – I did not love myself.
The light is love. Whatever periods of darkness you may have in life, understand that love will shed its light in it eventually. Loving yourself is the key to that light. At 32 years old, I have finally learned to love myself. Self-love has to be discovered. It’s okay if you don’t love yourself right now. I always felt like I had to earn love. Earn it because- I was not a happy person. I was not a positive person. I was not person that was adding anything good in someone’s life. I had to become that person. I had to shine my light of love within myself first.
Each individual has a diverse experience in life. My experiences in childhood were a series of unfortunate events and abuses. Thus, for most of my adolescence I hated life. I was a negative person. I was sad and depressed. Hate was my energy and everyone knew it, better yet, they could feel it. Overcoming that self-hate was a gradual process. It takes time and patience is required. You have to show as much love as you can and shine your light of love authentically inside and outside of yourself- everyday. That journey took many years for me and today I reap its rewards. Now I shine my light of love in as many places as I can. A few things I try to do that accomplish this are:
- listening more than talking
- authentically caring about others
- being selfless in small acts
- serving the less fortunate
- learning and improving conversation skills
- forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made
- forgiving others for the mistakes they’ve made
Love trumps hate. Love will always trump hate. Hate of self and hate of others prevents our spirit from truly being free. So for an individual out there who is seeking a form of enlightenment or love, show as much love as you can in your daily steps. Loving yourself as you are loving others. Positivity over negativity. Love over hate.
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