For a long time, had you asked me what was the opposite of love I would have said hate. I mean, it just seemed obvious. But as time has carried me on through the journey we call life I have changed my thoughts. I would now, if asked, say fear. Some may say indifference and I see some merit in that as a possibility but I’m going with fear. And you, being you, will ask “Why”? You never grew out of that.
Well my reasoning for this is that love is an expression that can only be made looking outward, whether given to another or given to one’s self. It’s something that finds its birth within us and its validation in our giving of it. Even giving to oneself is a deliberate act that encompasses acceptance and a affirmation of one’s worth. “I am worthy to be loved” maybe the most positive statement in the universe and the one that is so foreign to so many.
At the start of this new year I have read many blogs that focus on mental health. I haven’t gone looking for them, they’re just there. Mental health is a real, ever present issue. Many hide it away behind a project façade that they fight to maintain but behind locked doors the desperation prevails. And fear, fear of what others will think, fear of becoming unacceptable, fear of rejection looms ever present. It’s so often fear that makes love an alien emotion.
Love takes off the mask that we fear we cannot live without and know that we cannot live within.James Baldwin
To love, to actively decide to do so, is a courageous act. I’m not talking about the gushy momentary emotional response of two people who have just discovered each other. No, I’m talking about the commitment to the long selfless walk that we must actively decide to make. The walk where we agree to bear ourselves in exchange for something we believe is possible, for something that is better than the learnt emotions and responses that we have carried with us from childhood onwards.
We fear so much. We fear the thoughts and opinions of others We fear our own inadequacies and the shortcomings that we are constantly aware of. We fear the unknown even if it comes to us as light. It is fear that deprives us of our right to give and know love. What is that saying? “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. We fear loss and the pain we associate with it and if there’s one thing we need to take into the year ahead it is that love and pain know each other well.
Love is a willingness to accept the possibility of pain, to no longer fear it, in the knowledge that it is part of the growing process if we choose to become a better person. Don’t succumb to fear and turn back for in pursuing love we pursue our highest self and fear will pass away as we walk on, as we practice more and more.
Fearlessness is what love seeks. Love as craving is determined by its goal, and this goal is freedom from fear…Hannah Arendt
Love is the gold of the soul. The precious stones held within. And here I am saying we need to be prepared to give these away with a willing heart. But as the man said, “Great will be your reward in heaven”.
Yours, trying to walk forward,