Play Small, Or Rest in the Love that Already Is
Image credit: Michael Korchia
(Continued from The Gold in February Blues)
Happy Valentine’s! My deepest wish for you is that you rest in knowing that the love you seek already exists in the depths of your being because your true nature is love. Though we share love with others throughout our lives, only our sincere connection to the love that we are will provide us with lasting love. Amidst the chocolates and flowers, Valentine’s can amplify feelings of loneliness, rather than deepen our experience of love. Taking place in the middle of a cold, dark winter, the Hallmark holiday can exacerbate any sense of current disconnection.
It is hard to know that your true nature is love and that you are loved if you feel powerless by believing that life is happening to you. So to rest in the love that already is, you need to come to a place of sincere willingness to experience the possibility of love – even if you may not see or experience it yet. This requires being open to the notion that the way you perceive may not be completely accurate. It is, after all, only a passing, limited perception, tainted by your beliefs and biases. It is not absolute.
When you are attached to the passing perception that life is happening to you, you are in your ego, which only knows to divide. You see life through a limited, distorted lens. The ego is both attached and tricky. It can seem hard to move beyond it. But it has its own Achilles heel. It dissolves when questioned and witnessed.
THE EGO’S PAYOFFS
You may find it hard to willingly move beyond your limiting beliefs that keep you feeling that love is neither your true nature nor possible in your life. That is because you still find value in seeing yourself as powerless and in believing that life is happening to you. You likely do this even if you know it makes you feel lousy.
Let’s say that you perceive yourself to be a failure or unlovable. Those thoughts do not make you feel good. But you hold onto them, because at some level you believe they are true. Deeper still, at some level you want to believe that they are true, however hard that may be to admit to yourself. For some reason, you feel those thoughts are valuable, that they give you something.
But the ego offers no free rides. The sobering truth is that seeing life through the lens of your ego always has a payoff, even if that payoff does not ultimately fulfill you. For example, you may choose to be attached to feeling like a failure, so you don’t try that new job that you know you would love, or go to the gym, or say hello to someone you would like to befriend. Your attachments to feeling like a failure keeps you hidden and safe from the unknown. But in that smallness, you rob yourself of the opportunity to feel connected to the love that already is.
The ego says: “Stay small. You’ve been hurt. You don’t want to be hurt again.” That voice seems reasonable, but it is not. By keeping yourself small, you may prevent temporary disappointment, but you miss long-term freedom found in realizing your true potential. So if you find yourself unwilling to move beyond the voices in your head that say you are unlovable, unworthy, a failure, etc., then at some level, you get a payoff in hanging onto them, even if they don’t make you happy.
CHALLENGING WHAT KEEPS YOU FEELING SMALL
Willingness means confronting those voices in your head that keep you feeling small. You need to ask yourself, “is this true?” Should the voice say, “I am a failure”, you can retort, “is it true that I am a failure?” By questioning it, you can see that it is not 100% ALWAYS the case – therefore it is not an absolute truth. You don’t ALWAYS fail. You can find one thing that you are good at, even if it is breathing!
Similarly, if you feel attached to feeling unloved, you can question if that is true. Have you never, ever, ever experienced any act of kindness from anyone, ever? Likely you have! Someone has likely opened a door for you to let you walk through, or lent you a hand in some way.
If you are going through a difficult breakup, or find yourself drifting away from friends or family, the ego can inflate these into, “There is no one who loves me. I suck.” But if you go deeper, you would perhaps say, “I feel sad that we aren’t connecting.” And beneath the sadness, you would find a transcendent clarity that shows you that your now more distant lover or friends or family are doing exactly what they need to be doing in this moment. Their choices have nothing to do with who you are at a soul level. Their choices reflect who they are at this time. They do not determine your worth and they certainly do not mean that you are unloved or that you suck.
I will share more next week about how to disarm the ego’s tendency to draw devastating absolutes from temporary situations. In the meantime, I invite you to practice noticing and questioning any negative, habitual thoughts that may arise. Ask yourself, “Is this true? What is beneath this thought? What is this thought masking?”
If you are willing to soften to this moment and open to it as it is, you will find a rich, powerful, loving and safe reality beyond the limiting beliefs that keep you feeling small. You will rest in the love that already is and cherish yourself just as you are, and the gift of your precious life.