Thoughts on lovableness

“You can explore the universe looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

I had a great discussion with someone tonight about the idea that we are loved for who we are, not for what we do. Intellectually, I can accept this. I can completely see that we are lovable for who we are; there is nothing we do or don’t do that makes us more or less deserving of love. We are all equally deserving of love simply for the fact that we exist, and this is entirely independent of how other people may treat us.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get that intellectually on a theoretical level, but in real, practical terms? Not so much. That’s just not how this world seems to work, from the best I can tell.

If everyone who exists is lovable and deserving of love, then we should all unconditionally love every person we meet, right? I don’t know about you, but that’s not exactly what I see happening on a daily basis. I know I’m not managing to unconditionally love every person I meet, and I’m pretty sure every person who meets me is not finding me exactly unconditionally lovable.

So why is there such a gap between the philosophical idea that we are all lovable and the reality that there are so many who aren’t experiencing that kind of love on a daily basis? Telling someone that they are perfectly lovable exactly as they are and that there is no way they can earn any more love is actually not all that encouraging a message to give someone who is feeling unloved.

The person I was talking to suggested that the key to question is whether we are able to love ourselves enough to believe that we are worthy of being loved. When we truly believe that we are lovable, we are going to be more open to love from others, and therefore more likely to receive it. It also makes sense that someone who is capable of genuinely loving herself will be more able to love others. I can intuitively see how that is true as love for others becomes expressed as an overflow of the heart that is well-loved itself.

This means that while I (or anyone else) may not be able to earn love, there is something that I can focus on to bring greater love (on a practical level) into my life. If I can come to the place that I truly believe that there is no one more deserving of love than I am—and also come to truly believe that there no one less deserving than I am—then instead of waiting for the perfect person on which to shower all the love in my heart, I can open up to showering that love on myself and on everyone around me.

That may not make me any more deserving of love, but I suspect it will leave me feeling more loved. I know from experience that it is almost impossible not to love those people in our lives that overflow with love for self and others.

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