One of the reasons Kiran and MeiMei have one of the most beautiful relationships I've ever witnessed is that they have both failed. Not only have they failed, but they've failed big! They have put their hearts on the line, and swung for the fences only to be met with rejection, or disappointment, or a big old strike-out. What they so desperately dreamed and wanted did not unfold the way they had envisioned. And yet, these big failures did not break them. Kiran and MeiMei choose to use their failures as catalysts for growth and learning. But using failure as an asset is not easy! It requires crazy amounts of courage, because failure is scary!
It's this irrational fear of failure that most often stands in the way of our ability to fully live our lives and love others without reservation.
Fear is what makes us build up walls of anti-vulnerability. Fear pushes us to lie, or hide the icky parts of ourselves that we don't love. Fear is the fuel of insecurity, doubt, and selfishness.
We fear rejection.
Rejection makes us feel broken or deficient in some way. The feeling of rejection makes us feel worthless and empty. It makes us question everything about ourselves. When we are rejected, we begin to wonder, "What is it about me that makes me so unlovable? What do I lack? What am I doing wrong? Am I not smart/funny/attractive/skinny/fit/outgoing/interesting enough?"
We fear deception.
We've all heard the horror stories. A friend starts dating someone, falls in love, or even gets married, only to find out that the person they have invested so much time, effort, and energy into is not who they say they are. They find themselves being manipulated, abused, or deceived. What if the person I love lies to me? What if they cheat? How can I ever trust others again after a betrayal of trust? Or worse... how can I trust my own judgement of character? What did I miss? How many other people are lying to me? Do people think I can't handle the truth?
We fear abandonment.
The fear that life will slowly pull the people you care about away from you is torturous. Change, especially unexpected change is hard to deal with. It can be devestating to have your world turned upside down without any warning or explanation. Unexpected breakups can be confusing and heart-wrenching. Naturally, people develop fears of abandonment. What if the one I love gets bored of me and decide to leave? What if I fall short of their expectations? What if we can't recover from a disagreement? What if we drift apart, and just stop loving each other?
We fear the truth.
We fear that people will see us for who we truly are... warts and all. We fear that our icky parts make us unloveable. If people knew who we really were, they would not want to be with us. How could they? What if my person sees me - all of me - and it's not enough? What if my past gets held against me? What if they find about the skeletons in my closet? Will it make me less desirable, or worse... unlovable? These fears are all fears of failure. Failure to live up to the expectations of others, and sometimes even ourselves.
The only way to combat this fear of failure... the ONLY way... is self-love.
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You must love yourself before you can love others.
When you love yourself, you do note fear rejection.
You do not need the validation of someone else to feel whole. You know what you deserve, and you happily refuse to settle for less. If you are not enough for someone else, they are not the right person for you, and you are one person closer to someone who is. Your love is enough.
When you love yourself first, you do not fear deception.
You respect yourself too much to stand for manipulation and lies. Because you do not fear the truth, you demand it from the people you love. If someone is abusing that trust, you know it is them and not you who has the problem. There is no guilt. You have nothing to be guilty for. There is no shame. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You have lived with love and integrity. Your love is enough.
When you love yourself first, you do not fear abandonment.
Being alone is not scary or sad or uncomfortable, when you love yourself because you are always in good company. You don't need someone to laugh at your jokes if you think you are funny. You don't need somebody to tell you you are beautiful if you think you are beautiful. You don't need somebody to stick around to validate or love you if you have no problems validating and loving yourself. Your love is enough.
When you love yourself you will never fear the truth.
Nobody can hold your icky parts against you. You have already embraced them and accepted them. Nobody can use your past, your fears, or your insecurities against you if you love them. You can't be hurt by yourself if you love yourself. Your love is enough. When you love yourself, failure becomes less scary. Fear loses its power. Now it can be used as something positive. Failure can expose our weaknesses. This gives us a chance to make our weaknesses stronger. Failure forces us to stand face-to-face with the truth... especially the truth we are hiding from, or avoiding. This gives us a chance to embrace and love the truth, and removes its sting. Failure forces us to stand up and try again. It forces us to be vulnerable. It forces us to get outside our comfort zone. These things give us a chance to build courage, connection, and to experience growth. If you do not love yourself first, you will always be plagued by the fears of abandonment, rejection, deception, or not being "enough." Love yourself first.