“We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love …
Our past does not define us. Marianne speaks to us here about actively sharing our love today, regardless of who we are, where we came from, and what we experienced. Perhaps you know someone who was mistreated, neglected, or unloved as a child, and who now blames the things that go wrong in their life on this. When we step back and look at the way in which many of these individuals are living their lives, we often discover people who are self-absorbed and are seemingly unable–or unwilling–to make changes in their lives that will help them to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.
We are human. And part of that humanity includes being able to extend love with those around us–for when we fill others’ cups, we not only create an excess of love that fills our own cup, but we also add to the total sum of love that spreads throughout the world. However, being self-absorbed keeps us from doing so. Fortunately, being overly concerned with ourselves and our own needs is often the result of another ailment, one that can be dealt with and overcome. Perhaps it is fear telling us that we cannot give or we will get hurt, or pride saying that we do not need the love of a certain individual because they might have done something that we still hold against them. But such conditions are truly a sickness to our body, mind, and spirit, for they cruelly blind us to the truth that not giving and sharing love with others is hurting us more deeply than any other person could possibly hurt us if we did take the risk and extend our love to them on a regular basis.
The love we share with others is truly an extension of our heart and soul, of the good within us. And extending that love can be a result of an act as simple as offering water to someone who might be thirsty on a hot day, or being there for someone to listen to them and offer your company to them during times of grief or loss. It is found in acts such as encouragement, moral support, compliments, or even silence; and in acts of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. The key ingredient is that we are focused on someone outside of ourselves, and on their problems and tribulations instead of our own; for when we are aware of the needs of others, we are showing compassion and we are giving from our hearts.
By not extending our love, it might be easy to feel that we are protecting ourselves from suffering and pain, but that is not the truth–doing so holds us back from living life to the fullest–of sharing our unique talents, abilities, and potentials, and becoming who we are capable of becoming; of growing and changing, giving and receiving, and feeling and sharing. And instead of being caterpillars who are leaving our cocoons to become something beautiful and graceful–butterflies–we shut ourselves in without leaving any possibility of becoming more than we are right now.
Wrap those around you in a warm blanket of love.
Questions to consider:
How can we be holding ourselves back if we are not extending love to others on a regular basis?
What are some ways in which we can extend our love out into the world where it belongs?
Why do so many people find it difficult to extend their own love to others?
For further thought:
“You will daily give and give, and the great stores of your love will not lessen thereby: for this is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength and which could help all human beings if they would take it without doubting.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke