Everything That’s Not Going Right is Perfect
So often I just wish that life went the way I wanted it to.
Why can’t everything be perfect? That’s the way it should be, at least I think. After all, I’m doing my best.
Meanwhile, here are these unwanted things happening to me and that’s never fun. Also, wanted things aren’t happening to me and I feel stuck, waiting for that wanted thing to come.
Is life always going to be this way?
The more I sit in silence, the more I’m reminded to shed my wants for love. I’m learning that the gifts of life lie not in our desire for perfection, but surround us amid the imperfections.
Contrary to what I so often catch myself believing and acting out, love is not wanting something to be a certain way in life nor is it wanting to have, own, or be around someone or something. This is because love is less about what we want and more about accepting what is actually happening.
For example, if we are sad because things are not going well in life and happy because things are going great in life, then we are putting our happiness into something that’s outside of ourselves. We’re saying that happiness is something that’s out there, something we can’t control, and something that’s only attained by certain conditions happening.
Instead, love should be totally and completely unconditional. That no matter what happens in life, we must accept the circumstances and love them unconditionally. Love is accepting what is, a state of mind entirely free from wanting.
Easy to say, hard to practice. Cultivating love is a skill that no doubt takes the whole life to develop yet is always at our fingertips.
Love is often thought of in the context of loving others. But how can one give others what they do not have themselves?
That’s why we must always start with ourselves. We should do our best to cultivate love and gratitude for everything that we are and everything we’re becoming.
So, how do you feel about yourself in this moment?
My self-love has come from practicing gratitude for 10 minutes a day. It’s not much, but I think the practice is cumulative. Here’s what it looks like:
For the first five minutes, I wish myself well. I reflect on the reality of what is happening at this moment and try to remember how grateful I am for life itself, completely independent of external circumstances. Once I feel like I’m in a good spot, I’m ready to pass this gratitude to others.
I find that if I’m loving myself, it makes it very difficult to not love others.
For the next five minutes, I wish others well. It starts very generically like wishing that all beings be happy. If I’m feeling really focused, I’ll move onto specific groups of people and even individuals.
So, what’s keeping us from loving ourselves?
The first barrier to loving yourself is thinking that you are your external circumstances. The more we invest our happiness into things we can’t control, the stronger the wall we’ve built to keeping us out of our own happiness.
The second barrier to loving yourself is your perception of imperfection. In reality, imperfection is unavoidable and actually a good thing. This is because we love imperfection. We’re attracted to those who have imperfect qualities: things like authenticity, “real-ness”, truth-telling. Also, the flaws we see in others are often endearing.
So why when it comes to loving ourselves are we so critical of our own imperfections when imperfection is the very characteristic which endears us to others?
Perhaps it’s because we’re quicker to find imperfection in others, both for our benefit and detriment.
Since I more quickly see imperfection in others, I’m also more willing to give love to others before myself. Perhaps this is why it’s easier to fall in love with others and quite difficult to fall in love with ourselves. The love of another promises to fill whatever perceived gaps of love we’re lacking for ourselves.
Seeing our own imperfections requires deeper reflection, but we should not turn away from the task. Rather, we should look directly into them, completely free from judgement, with true love for ourselves. Again, this is a skill that takes time, perhaps the whole life to develop.
I find myself making the same mistakes again and again, wanting to have rather than allowing and wanting to give. But that’s not really love.
Still, it’s only natural to want, so the best I can do is identify a want as a want when it arises, have compassion for that want and cultivate love for it. Then I can choose to act on the want purposefully rather than reacting blindly to it. This makes it easy to shift from wanting to have to wanting to give.
Whatever it is we want in this life, we must give of it as much as we can before it comes to us.
The greatest barriers to finding what we really want in life exist within the framework of our own bodies. I wish you well in your journey and may we tear down our barriers to give and love unconditionally. Cheers y’all.
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If you haven’t read it yet, check out this post about how to make your dreams a reality.