Learning to love, starts by loving yourself. I want to tell you a little story about my journey toward love. I always thought I should love others. I did love other. I loved others so much that I put everyone else before myself.
I thought I was doing well, but I wasn’t at all in tune with my own needs and limits. I became so frustrated and didn’t know why. Some people call this behavior being a push over. I call it simply not understanding what love is.
I asked myself over and over, ”What is love?” In some languages there is more than one word for love. There is love of the Parents, love of the Siblings, love of the Friends, love of the Spouse, love as Lust… and the list goes on.
I even contacted my first ”love” and asked him what he thinks about love. Did he love me then? Does he love me know? Can love really dissolve? Did I love him? Or did I just like the attention?
I have slept with a man that I did not ”love”. Call me what you will. You are allowed to have your own opinion. But in some way I did love him. I just knew, that I did not want to spend the rest of my life with him. Short lived. I am married to a man that I love. But I’m not always running around ”in love” with him.
So what is love? What does it mean? And how do we express it?
I spent the other night talking with a new friend about just this. She told me, that love is not always the same. She loves her family members in a different way than she loves her friends. She said she doesn’t love people that she doesn’t know.
I said, ”I love everyone just the same.”
She tried to convince me that this is impossible. Arguing that you can’t treat everyone the same. Saying, ”You don’t have enough time to love everyone.” Meaning there are billions of people in the world and if I love them all the same then I must behave a certain way toward them. Like, ask them how they are doing and spend time with them.
I replied, ”Loving everyone doesn’t mean spending an unlimited amount of time with them it means treating them with respect.”
Her reply, ”Respect is not love. Respect is respect.”
”Right,” I say, ”but respect is an expression of love. Everything we do is an expression of how in tune we are with the love that we are. See, we are love. We are born as a bundle of love. Love is the only everlasting ‘part’ of us. It is our very soul. We all came from the same love source. Love gave birth to love. And here we are on earth. One day we will be united in love, with our creator, who made us in his own likeness, unconditional love. Do you follow me?”
”So while I may not have time to speak with every person on the planet, I can still treat the people, that I meet with respect. I recognize that we are all love. Does this mean that I’m perfect? Not by any means.
I spend more time with you, because I have gotten to know you and we communicate well. Does it mean that I love or respect you more than others? No. I love you just the same. Does that mean that I have to do, what you say or try to make you happy? No.
I love everyone just the same. But I don’t have to sit around and allow people to hurt me. For example: My Father and step mother have hurt me in so many ways. The funny thing is, I doubt they even realize this or care. I still love them both. But I don’t subject myself to being hurt by them.
”So, you are saying we should love people that hurt us. But what about people who murder? Should we love them?” My friend asks.
Now, I ‘m not going to lie to you. I had to take a moment to collect my thoughts. I said, ‘ You and I don’t have to love anyone. Fact is, we all are love. Do we have to like the fact that murder happens? NO! Lock a murderer up. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should let them hurt you. In Fact, Please go away from them. Leave, out of love.
If you have ever hurt someone emotionally or physical, then you know, that it hurts you as well. And we are all humans, so I’m sure that every person can identify with this at some level. We are not perfect.
So I see it this way. If someone hurts me, I get out of the way. If I keep putting myself in the line of fire, then I’m hurting myself by not moving. I’m helping someone else hurt themselves by allowing them to hurt me.”
My new friend, who normally always has something to say, was quiet.
”Are you ok? Did I put you to sleep?” I asked.
”No, no, I just have a lot to think about.”
Speaking about murder was not the goal of this message, although I assume it will get the most attention. It is a sensitive subject. I have no authority or personal experience with it. I have never known anyone, who has had their life taken away at the hands of another human. And if we speak of murder, then it is difficult to avoid the topic of war. I do not judge anyone. Who am I to judge? I am trying to figure things out myself.
If you have lost some you knew in this manner, then I am very sorry. I can’t even begin to understand how it has affected you. I don’t pretend to understand. Feel free to write a message and I will pray for you.
So my personal journey did not end with this conversation. I went on to learn what it means to be good to myself, to love myself. I am learning to take time to listen to myself. What is my body feeling? What does it need? What is my mind saying? What does it need?
I have banned two words ‘must’ and ‘should’ from my vocabulary. It is great. I ‘desire’ or ‘want’ to do something and that is why I do it. I love myself and found that I automatically love others in return. I respect myself and found that for the first time, I really know what it means to respect others.
This has been inspiring for me and I hope for you too. Until next time…
Love Rebekah Butterfly