I’m at a place in my life where I can look back at all my prior incarnations and feel so much love and compassion for the person I’ve been. I’ve forgiven her foolishness, and her painful choices. My heart breaks at her confusion and suffering. I go easy on her where she is too hard on herself, and beats herself up and has such profound misunderstandings about what’s going on. She’s doing the best she can.
It is not always easy to receive love. Even though it’s our essential nature, it’s not always a familiar practice. I used to be so quick to criticize and reject the love that showed up for me — and it shows up all the time, in a thousand different ways. It shows up in unexpected forms. Sometimes it brings friends or behaviors that I don’t want.
I practice staying open and receptive when I start to feel myself shut down and close up, wanting to hide or turn it away. I’m practicing receiving the love part, and releasing the rest. I’m not always good at this. But I find it changes everything.
Yes, of course, practice loving yourself unconditionally. Love the whole of you. Do not reject or throw away any part. But also practice receiving love, unconditionally. Even if it comes in a way that doesn’t meet your wishes or expectations. Receive love from family and friends, even when there’s friction. Receive love from strangers, and from people who would never admit that they love you. Recognize the love part. It’s for you.
Be curious. Savor all of it.