I remember a conversation with my friend where we were talking about hosting birthdays. I told her very bluntly that I can’t stand hosting birthdays for myself or being the focus of a celebration. I explained that it’s just not something I find necessary - I feel like I’m already loved by people around me. “Oliver… What if other people want to celebrate you? Are you going to rob that from them?” Ouch… That hit me quite hard, but it started a good thinking process in me.
In the above example, the idea of celebration was so hard, because it has to do with receiving. So why is receiving so difficult then? It might be because we feel like we’re not good enough. We often feel like every good thing has to be deserved. We know ourselves so well: the thoughts, the feelings or, in some seasons, the lack thereof. That’s why it’s so easy to think we’re not worthy. This requires a change in mindset, because if we feed the idea that everything has to be earned, we kill the potential to love others unconditionally as well.
A friend of mine recently showed me a beautiful painted cup he purchased. He told me about how he’d been thinking about that specific cup for quite a long time. It was a special edition of a brand he’s collecting, and was only going to be made this year, after which the production will cease. He thought to himself: “Will I regret it if I don’t buy it? Yep probably will. But do I deserve it…?” He came to the conclusion that.. no, he’s not worth it according to his own standards.
That sounds so sad, doesn’t it? But you know what blows my mind? He decided to buy it anyway! He understood that real love is unconditional - even towards yourself! Later on he explained, that it’s extremely hard to understand unconditional love. It’s hard, because you need to humble yourself and receive with nothing to give in return.
Another obstacle to receiving is control. Deep inside, a person that needs to control knows that the root lies in fear: we’re afraid that if we let others close, we then have something to lose. It’s vulnerable to let others love you, because it reminds us (of the reality) that we need other people. When we admit that in order to live a full life, we need other people, we’re on a journey of losing control. Control means to always have it your way. To always have it your way means you’re unable to truly love. What is true love then? Have a look at our last post A Life Of Meaning.
There’s much less risk in being alone you see. Alone you feel like you’re in control. Don’t let anyone in, and no one will break what’s inside. But it’ll also be dark. A life of control is lonely. A life of freedom, however, is full of closeness. Control has to do with fear. Freedom has to do with trust.
That year I decided to host a party. I remember creating that Facebook invitation and hating every moment of it. But I did it. I grew. In the end, it was a great experience and through it I got to communicate to the people close to me, that even though it was challenging, I honored them through it.
I want people to know real love. The kind that is sacrificial. The kind that communicates respect towards others. The kind that is genuinely fulfilling. It’s available to you too.