Alone is not Lonely

I have discovered this during my long illness: I like my own company. I like being with me. I am OK to be with. 

This may seem obvious to some - overstated to others - but to me it is still a source of joyous surprise.

Until this last crash, I had always known that taking care of others, appreciating others, loving others, supporting others, encouraging others was essential to my life. Until I was forced to face up to me, it had never occurred to me to extend the same treatment to myself.

The Bible says "love your neighbour as thyself' but the last half of that commandment always seems to fall by the wayside. The problem with 'loving thyself' is that I used to confuse it with an egotistic obsession with selfish self-interest. Consequently, I used to see it as ugly and undesirable. Trust me to take a great wisdom and turn it into a half-baked admonition!

I can now say, without any big-headedness or embarrassment: I love myself. I love me, not because I am perfect but because I am not; not because I am special but because I am not; not because I have done some wonderful things but because most of those things still only exist in my dreams; not because I am worthy of anything in particular but because I am worth what all human beings are worth; not because I have loads of money but because I am priceless (in more way than one!), not because I am me but because I am everybody; not just because I love God but also because He loves me. This self-generated love is the closest I have experienced to God's love: it is unconditional.

It is said that the human mind can only do two things:

  • Project, or
  • Extend

Projection is at the root of all our distortions. If I judge others, i am like the man shooting at his reflection in a mirror with a light gun: I blind myself. My projections are what I consider to be my reality and - because of my fundamentally flawed human perception - they produce further projection and foster further attack. This is a cycle that could not go by any other name than 'vicious', both in the inescapable and the cruel sense.

If I don't love myself, then all I can project is my own vicious self-judgement. If I love others, I don't want to hurt others and so I have no other place to store my self-produced vitriol but in myself. As a result, I end up hurting me. Unsurprisingly, hurting me does nothing to heal or help others. In fact, there comes a point when I fall apart under the repeated assault of my egotistic distortion of what love really is. Been there, done that, bought the proverbial T-shirt.

My fundamental misconception was this: love does NOT project - it extends.

As a result, it becomes vitally important for me to generate love within myself in order for me to extend this source of mine to bathe others in love. This is the way God's Love works: He is the very thing He extends. He is what He does and does who He is. Projection entails no correction or punishment even - extension entails only acceptance. Wen I extend, I accept.

Extension does not however mean spreading myself too thin. Been there, done that, and bought another proverbial T-shirt. In fact, I have discovered that I spread myself too thinly when I loose sight of where I am in my love landscape. If I keep love focused on me, then I immediately know when my source is running low and I need to turn to The Source of all Life to be replenished. I have also discovered something that seems at first to be contradictory with my last statement but in fact isn't: when I give Love, I don't lose it. On the contrary, I gain more. The crux of the matter is that it must really be LOVE I am giving, and not some distorted sense of my own self-importance or, worse still, my revolting self-immolation complex! I have learnt my lesson in this regard to...

Well, I now feel happy. I am sitting here smiling to myself. For some reason, I needed to write all this and share it with you. I have no idea why but I do know that I have just told my truth.

I think I'll just sit with me for a while. At least I know when to shut up when I need to be quiet :D

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