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Love is given. Love is received. But love is also within.
A concept so simple but so easily overlooked. I spent my life thinking love is both acquired and given, and when those are both achieved then I will have known what love is. I believed love was a shared entity of bestowed capability, and the further along it was passed from one to another, then I would have felt its presence drifting its way into my life. So if I was sending love to those I cared about, and the people in my life were also giving me love, then how could I possibly ever feel alone?
But I did.
I felt a gap in this streamlined equation. There had to be more to this channel of tunnel vision. Love couldn't be that simple and love certainly couldn't be that easy. I felt unusually empty in the midst of all that love gleaming around me. How could I not feel love if it was surrounding all parts of me? And all of a sudden, it made sense. I was searching for love as if it were treasure to be found, when all along I held love within me that I neglected to understand. I forgot to love myself as I was too preoccupied to make sure I gave and received love. So I've begun to practice an attitude of self-love--to reach within and bring out what I've failed to acknowledge all these years. My successes and victories. My favorite subtleties. Cherish what is significally extraordinary and specific to me. And that doesn't make me a boaster because there's a difference between gloating and embracing. I can celebrate me with the intent of solely making myself happy, everything else is irrelevant.
I'm learning more and more about myself and the wonderful parts of me I've neglected to recognize my whole life. Each day, I'm meeting myself over and over again to discover new things to admire and delicate details to appreciate. The way I see it is, if meeting new people is exciting, then meeting myself has to be even more dynamically delightful--I'd think I've known myself all along, only to identify new qualities that make me more sure of myself. I'll never have to feel limited in the way I perceive myself again because there will always be something to unearth. I'm making it my daily mission to do something different each day, from something as small as taking a walk and exploring little corners to as big as going to a jazz club for the first time (something I've found absolutely magical). I'm learning about my personality type (Type 2 ENFJ!!) and am understanding why I am the way I am, instead of questioning my validation. I love that it is in my nature to look after others and hold a heart fond of caring and helping whenever possible. I love that I feel so wonderful about myself whenever I contribute my time and efforts to something beyond my own obligation, and how it makes me feel better about my sense of purpose in life (I also do it to honor my family and grandfather). I love that I'm the type of person to set a goal in mind and immediately feel determined to see it through, despite incoming challenges because I want to see just how far I can stretch out my potential. I love that these are a few things I didn't know I loved about myself that make me happy in life.
My new habit of practicing self-assurance reaffirms the comfortability within my own skin. As long as I found new ways to fall in love with the person I am and celebrate the nuances of my significant life, love means more coming from within. And the love I spread forth from now on will be one of deep-founded energy reflective of a greater and fuller me.
So learn yourself new everyday. Because when you find out about one thing, your curious self will want to expose more of your beautiful self. And how could that ever lead to disappointment?
Photography by William Coles