I do not claim to have relationships figured out but I have recognized the simple fact that many people, myself included, have been looking for love in all the wrong places. (Insert SNL skit with Eddie Murphy if you like. “Wookin’ pa nub?” Anyone? Anyone?)
This Valentine’s Day, it’s been important for me to identify the “wrong places” that I have been looking for love. I don’t have to take you through the inner monologue I have with myself about the relationships, church leaders, friendships, online communities and meet-up groups where I’ve looked for love. All of these characters, that may or may not been aware of their roles, make up a series of failed adventures in Love. The details are different for each of us but we all play out the same predictable plot. We go looking for love in all the wrong places because we avoid that one, lonely, quiet and somewhat frightful place where true love can be found:
Personally, I acknowledge how my first serious relationship wounded me to the point that I allowed that wound to shape my responses in my second relationship. Now that I’m years removed from both “failed” attempts at a long-term commitment, I’m stunned sometimes by how those two overlapped in my third serious relationship.
It’s important to identify the patterns, if we truly hope not to repeat them…
What I see as a reoccurring theme is that conflict comes when I fail to recognize that only I hold the power to love me unconditionally.
I’ll write it again: Only I hold the power to love me unconditionally.
Unconditional love. I look for it in others but is that realistic? Do they have the capacity to bear witness to my body, thoughts, feelings and beliefs and UNconditionally accept me, just as I am?
I argue that it is not within anyone’s capacity to offer that kind of love.
It is a role for the Divine… and maybe for our parents. But beyond the parents who celebrate me and the Creator who guides and comforts me, this role cannot exist in my partner. It is internal. Forever and ever, inside of me.
Truly, if the woman I’m with really loves me, she will love herself, her thoughts, feelings, body and beliefs unconditionally. She will hold herself accountable to the life she wants and the love she chooses. Alas, then, we come to one another out of CHOICE and not out of need.
And truly, if I love my thoughts, feelings, body and beliefs unconditionally, that is the platform from which I will choose her.
And that, my friends… is where the trust begins. My wife will love herself enough to tend to her identity, desires, integrity and dreams. I will love myself enough to tend to my identity, desires, integrity and dreams.
And that is how the sacred marriage will occur. When two people with very different identities commit to companionship while maintaining a balance of healthy self-love.
Can it be done? I still don’t know if it will happen for me this time but what I know now that I didn’t know before is that I don’t NEED a relationship. I want one. And there’s a big difference.
I’m no longer looking for love in all the wrong places. I’m going inward… and I’m learning more about Love than I’ve ever known before. In fact, today, I learned that the Path to Love has many more thorns than it does roses… so whether we are single, married or somewhere in between, let us walk slowly on the Path of Love, acknowledging the prickling sensations when they come out of nowhere and celebrating the sweet smells and sights of Love when it blooms.
Today and every day, when we look for love, may we first start by looking within because only you can meet your needs to be loved unconditionally. You… and maybe a lil’ Buckwheat Sings clip just for fun: http://georgespeedys.weebly.com/buckwheat-aka-eddie-murphy.html
~~ This post is dedicated to the online community Homospirituality 101, where we are all teachers and we are all students. Unconditional love may be impossible in love relationships, but somehow, we are creating it within community. When the people reflect the heart of the Divine… it may be possible. For more information about this online community, email or message me: www.facebook.com/groups/gail316