Originally Posted on January 8, 2012
Deep down inside me is a strong wish to have grasped the meaning of that statement long before understanding came. Previously my long-term theory of living was simply if I love someone, somehow, someway it was going to work out. Otherwise, why would love have found me if not for an intention of becoming something lasting?
Such a view was one of a child carried into adult hood; a child not loved enough hidden inside an adult who grabbed at any scrap of affection that came his way. The need to be adored was irresistible. It did not matter that what I perceived was not genuine or what another expressed to me was feigned, disposable or temporary. So eager for love, my heart openly accepted what it identified as affection from whatever source it came. So hungry to be noticed and appreciated, I became involved with almost any woman who showed interest in me.
With time I came to know that frequently people love what is not good for them. An alcoholic loves a drink. A drug addict loves a fix. A gambler loves risking every dime. An adrenaline junky loves the rush of risking life. And so on it goes when there is emptiness on the inside that one tries to fill from outside the self. With women I either loved ones too much who were not good for me or else did not love enough those who were.
In more youthful years I claimed to date ‘crazy bitches’ because they were more fascinating and exciting. In more mature years now, the realization is clear that ‘like attracts like’. It was only because I was ‘just as crazy’ that my attraction was so strong to such women. More thrills and spills than a roller coaster ride , but like any amusement, such extreme relationships eventually got old. They exhausted me.
There is this notion within those similar to me who have spent much of their lives feeling “less than” that if we can save another person they will in turn save us. Rarely does it work because such a scenario is an attempt to get esteem from outside one’s self instead of nurturing it internally. A person then becomes a sort of emotional vampire, always on the hurt to ‘feed” on another’s feelings but sated each time only for a while. One can only save them self from the inside out and no one else can do the work. No amount of basking in another’s emotions made me better. No amount of trying to be a ‘savior of women’ actually saved anyone. In reality the attempts usually caused me (and those I was involved with) to be worse off emotionally than before we knew each other.
Once upon a time nothing pleased me for long. Whatever I achieved seemed hollow quickly. Whoever I was involved with in time felt too imperfect. Never was there contentment for long with what was in front of me. I always either wanted more or continually asked myself if there was more. More money, more sleep, more success, more sex, more time, more attention, more love. Enough was never enough.
My insecurities caused me to attempt to collect love by alway trying to hold on in some way to every woman I was ever involved with. Whether maintaining some occasional contact, keeping mementos and photos stashed away in a box or keeping thoughts of them alive, I held on. There was no questioning if this was healthy. Constantly my ego yelled “you’re not good enough” through a screaming bullhorn in my brain. The only way to quiet the noise even temporarily was to allow myself to be filled with the thrills of someone new.
To actually see my own life clearly and become grateful for all that led me to this here and now took aligning myself with some measure of peace and truth. To learn to look at my present circumstances through gentle, kind and loving eyes required years to learn. Even longer was needed to realize I was living a wonderful destiny that was uniquely mine.
Peace is loving what is…what exists now in this moment here. In her book “Loving What Is” Byron Katie wrote the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what we want. If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” Wanting reality to be different than it is, is hopeless.
So here I am in late middle age with all my flaws, scars, and blemishes but wiser and happier than I have ever been. Getting here took establishing good boundaries for myself and others. I had to let go of a lot of things and people: my Mother, two ex-wives, several friends, a handful of ex-lovers and girlfriends, a comfy long-term job, the big house, over half my savings and more. Only through the letting go was there space in my life for what I truly needed. My gratefulness to be in this here and now is beyond my command of written language to express fully. So I will just say “thank you” with sincere gratefulness.
No one can give you freedom but you.