The way is love

Graphically real in a full monty kind of way

Past loves teach us about ourselves: Gratefulness project day 11

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It’s incredible how much we can learn about ourselves from our past loves.

If we open up our hearts and really take an honest look it’s quite a revelation.

I have learned that their feelings for me were quite a bit more profound than I imagined.

Maybe that was me being blind or underestimating myself or them not expressing how they felt–or all of the above.

And maybe I underestimated how much I felt for them too.

Fear can really get in the way.

Fear can get in the way of seeing things as they really are, and also expressing how we truly feel. That’s a serious Catch-22 situation because if we distort reality and can’t admit our innermost feelings then what life are we living anyway? One rooted in fear, likely from our past experiences.

I know how profoundly the cruelty I experienced as a child affected me. And my opinion of myself. And how I tend to assume people will be very harsh with me. I don’t blame myself for that, I really experienced it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go on. Or that I need to let it go on.

As a child I was caught, but as an adult I am not. But sometimes I have acted like I still am. I’m not proud of that, but I know it’s an old fear that’s lingered deep inside me for my lifetime.

And it’s a fear I’ve only been able to face head-on recently. And I am sorry for any people I have hurt along the way. I try to be brave, I really do. But I haven’t always been.

Little kindnesses touch me deeply now. I cry more easily and I laugh more easily too. I admit I am vulnerable.

Not like I was as a girl with no choice. No, now I choose to be vulnerable in a healthy way because it’s the only way to experience life to the fullest.

As my father gets older and loses his memory bit by bit, I lose him slowly. It is not a good feeling. That makes me feel vulnerable, but I wouldn’t want to miss his final years. So I will stand by him, even though I will often cry. Even though the table turns and I will parent him until the end.

That is life. Life is vulnerable, and yet incredibly strong too.

I have learned that I do not want to live alone. That is likely why I hardly ever have. It is not me. I like being part of a family. I like looking after people and a home and animals and people’s hearts.

I love people’s hearts.

And so today I’m grateful for my past loves. They don’t likely know it, but they’ve taught me more about myself than I ever could’ve learned alone. And I love them for it.

With love comes the possibility of being better. And I’m always trying to be a better person for myself, and everyone in my life.

 

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From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

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