| September 28, 2016 |
Some people feel like they don’t deserve love.
They walk away quietly into empty spaces,
trying to close the gaps of the past.
– Jon Krakauer, Into The Wild –
I was re-watching one of my favorite movies, Into the Wild, and felt a knot in my stomach the whole time. I could feel the loneliness and frustration of Christopher McCandless as he realized he needed companionship in his travels. Happiness only real if shared. In my current travels to the state of Washington, I’ve had incredible adventures and have felt more connected with myself than every before. Yet, there’s always a part of me that will want to share it with someone meaningful. To have a hand to hold, an arm to snuggle into, someone to ponder life’s complexities with while laying under the stars…
Below are more thoughts, complemented by photos from the house where my family and I stayed on San Juan Island, Washington…
In my recent read, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, it was revealed we all desire the feelings of love and belonging. Brené even argues that “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
Unfortunately, a lot of us fear we don’t deserve this connection. People who live a “wholehearted” life, per Brené, simply “believe they are worthy of love and belonging.” These people recognize they are enough… and they do this through active daily practices.
We don’t believe we are worthy by some miraculous sense of luck. Rather, this sense of worthiness takes a lot of effort and mindfulness…
Today’s culture encourages independence. Yet, is this the most important, or would we benefit more from codependence? We need other people, and to deny ourselves the connection simply because we “should” be independent.
And so, we should reach out to others. We should open our hearts, and speak our truth. We should seek the belonging we so deserve.
It may seem so complicated, and so difficult to achieve, but if we believe we deserve love, then we will have love. If we trust we are enough, then we are enough.
You are enough.
A life lived with a backdrop of love and fearless connection is freeing.
How do we define connection and belonging? According to Brené Brown in Daring Greatly:
Connection: Connection is the energy that is creating between people when they feel seen, hear, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment.
Belonging: Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which ar enot only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self acceptance.
Do I need someone in my life? No, I don’t. I’m perfectly capable of creating my own happiness. Yet, I recognize the power of human connection. I recognize that people give me immense energy, and I feel more joyful when I have someone to share life’s precious moments with.
I love passing time with loved ones such as family, friends, and significant others. I certainly treasure alone time, yet recognize I need to connect as well. I don’t deny myself this connection, and I don’t change who I am to connect with others either. I am me. Because I am enough.
Of course, I also am sensitive to others. I care how you feel. My authenticity and sense of self does not overshadow my ability to be empathetic. I accept constructive criticism, and listen to your needs. Because you need me, too. We need each other.
Again to quote Daring Greatly, “When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed.” It’s all about balancing our ability to be our authentic selves, yet being sensitive to others.
We deserve each other. We should be open hearted and willing to help others when they need us. What we give often comes back to us, one way or another. Our open heartedness can be expressed with a compassionate spirit, as we act to lift each other higher. We are equally deserving, loved, and abundant people who have both darkness and light within us. As Pema Chödrön writes, “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
We all hurt. We all feel lonely. We all feel downhearted and blue. We get angry. We fight. We cry. We tell ourselves we don’t deserve love. But we ALL do this because we are ALL human. We all have moments of weakness, but we also have strength. We also have the power to believe in our capacity to love and be loved.
Repeat after me: I DESERVE LOVE.