"I am unable to give love unless I own it, and I won't be able to hold on to love unless I give it away."
— James McPartland
I have come to realize that love starts with me. I have learned that I am unable to receive love unless I have maintained a place inside of me to nurture it. Simply put: I know that I will never be able to fully express it, unless I possess it.
Of all the life related questions we have, I fundamentally believe that (at a minimum) we want to know three things from the people who surround us:
1. Do you love me?
2. Am I measuring up to your expectations?
3. Am I making a difference in the world?
We may never know the answer to those questions until we first answer them for ourselves. And it all starts with love. Envision love as the current of a river – the river of life. Fear clogs the river, whereby trust creates flow. The foundation of loving oneself, and then another, is rooted in trust.
Fear and trust exist on a spectrum. Fear starts with doubt, leading to skepticism, and ultimately can end with paralyzing fear. Trust on the other hand, starts with hope and moves up the scale until you have trust in the universe, your place in it, and all the events happening around you. Though you may not know exactly why, you have a sense that everything is working as it should in your life. Trust is what allows us to tap into the flow of the river of our life.
In coming back and answering the three life questions above for yourself, you get to practice what I have come to know as one of the powerful entry points to our own river: being vulnerable. With this exercise, you allow yourself to become vulnerable because you trust that you will not get hurt. In doing so, you will increase your ability to achieve the power of your own flow state. You will strengthen your emotional immune system and your ability to protect yourself from painful experiences.
When we practice being vulnerable, as I am doing here in the writing of this very blog, we become more resilient to life's inevitable blows. These are the parts of the river where drowning in fear could literally take us under.
Trust that you have been given a handful of gifts to discover in your life. You get to use those gifts to make the world a better place, to help others gain access to their own entry points to the river. Remember it all starts with you.
Demonstrating what you are looking for from life (think of the three questions) will be far louder than any words you might provide. People hear what they see… If you want to make an impact on the world, then face your fears and trust that loving yourself first may be the most important gift you’ve been given. It actually may be the strongest one to help accelerate the rate of flow on your own river of life.