I was listening to the radio one night and the host began a segment of the show listing some of the most common misunderstood lyrics. Afterwards, he shared some lyrics he misinterpreted from a song on the airwaves the other day. His version of the lyrics are “We found love in a homeless place …”, the real lyrics to the Rihanna song are “We found love in a hopeless place …”. His 12 and 15 year old daughters still tease him about it.
I found both versions to be intriguing as to where love actually is, how I define it and how I know if I am feeling it or not – having love or not. Most times, in my own life, I feel love for most everyone or at least I want to. I’m working on that to improve it to loving everyone. But, one of the hardest things I struggle with is the love for myself. In love, we are to be compassionate and tolerant, patient and eternal, unconditional – without limits. But, these are all the things I don’t have for myself in any way or I twist them to make it right for myself. The result is that it never works and I wind up hating myself intensely for any variety of reasons.
In the gloom and doom of loneliness, I spend too much time in self-inflection. That’s a bad place for me since I keep reminding myself of reasons I should be upset at someone or that I should define myself by external standards, my failures/ perceived failures, etc. I guess, this is where I feel the greatest sense of abandonment – self-abandonment. Other elements that make things worse include my complete lack of trust in others (which I learned early on) and the fact that I often feel I don’t have anyone to talk to about things, even on a day to day basis.
Going through an old folder, I came across a handout entitled ‘Common Self Defeating Beliefs’ that also included some affirmations on the following pages. There were a few self-defeating beliefs about love that I identified with, but, one stuck out:
- Approval Addiction: I need everyone’s approval to be worthwhile
- Love Addiction: I can’t feel happy and fulfilled without being loved. If I am not loved then life is not worth living.
- Fear of Rejection: If you reject me, it proves that there is something wrong with me. If I am alone, I’m bound to feel miserable and worthless.
There are several affirmations that directly tie into how I feel that I need to look into more seriously and introduce into my daily life are, some more than others:
- I love and accept myself the way I am.
- I deserve good things in life as much as anyone else.
- I am learning to love myself.
- I am learning to be more comfortable with myself.
- If someone does not return my love, I let it go and move on.
- When I love and care for myself, I am best able to be generous to others.
The Promises these affirmations most resemble, to me at least, really stand out as the following:
- Our ability to share intimacy will grow inside us.
- We will choose to love people who can love and be responsible for themselves.
- Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set.
I’m taking some steps in evaluating my own character and personality traits, such as separating my self-image from the image others have of who I am. I am also in consideration of my own personality and values, and in learning more about them all, I learn more about my faults, reactions and how to come to terms with myself, which, in turn, allows me a greater knowledge of how to interact with others. I also realize I need to allow myself to grow and evolve; make mistakes and learn – allowing myself to be human, that it’s ok to make mistakes.
In other ways, I need to do nothing but listen internally. Whether I am listening to nothing, being ever so silent or listening to whatever thoughts or feelings pop up, I have to realize I am not to react; my only purpose is to bear witness to them. Mindfulness is a way to reflect upon what I am feeling – whether I’m feeling hungry or a deep seated hatred for myself – and not react. But I need to practice this more as I haven’t been very mindful of my own needs, realizing being in my own head can be a precarious place.
After going through the cathartic process of doing this spilling this out, I am reminded of several things. I know now that I find love all around me. I find love everywhere. I find love in places like this. And, I also find love in people like you. As I began making these realizations, I found love isn’t homeless. Love has a home in all our hearts, if we choose it so, and it doesn’t have to be hopeless.
Finally, as I was preparing this, my co-pilot whispered to me:
when darkness falls
and you have slipped
into the deepest hallows of tonight,
look up to the evening sky
that when you see the glimmer
of the stars above,
there is hope where there is light.