If there is one thing a majority of my close friends know, it is that I “love” love. In other words, I love all the emotions and feelings that the word “love” entails. In my opinion, I believe love adds fulfillment in one’s life. When I first hear the word “love”, my mind is usually taken to romantic love. (I know I’m not the only one that thinks of this type of love first and usually associates it with a good romantic film like A Walk To Remember). Honestly, there are a lot of reasons as to why I love romantic love. One is because this type of love is beautiful— it is lasting, forgiving, ever-changing. The second reason I am so in awe of it is because it is so rare. I am a big believer in love— I want things to work out to the point where I sacrifice everything in order to see it through. (I do think some of this goes back to growing up with divorced parents, and I think another part of it is not wanting to see love fail). The problem with this is that I essentially put my life on hold for the needs of others. To some degree, a majority of us want to be accepted and valued— thus, we all value people in this light and/ or are willing to try to please someone (or people) in order to seek validation. The crazy part? We are our best selves when we validate ourselves within first. The ironic part? I know this, yet I still fall off my self-loving high horse and have to have reality hit me in the face in order to be reminded of it.
Why am I talking about love?
Recently, I have experienced the second part of my love predicament— the falling off the self-love horse in order to be once again (for the tenth time) reminded of what happens when we (I) begin to seek validation externally rather than internally first. In my sophomore year of high school, I went on a retreat called “Agape”. Agape is one of the Greek words for love, yet this form of love is known to be unconditional. It varies from the other forms of love because it goes beyond the surface. It has depth. It loves all. It looks beyond one’s flaws and imperfections and recognizes all as “enough”. Agape love is often mistaken for romantic love or “Eros”. The difference between these two types of love is that Agape love is lasting, consistent, and the foundation for all relationships. Eros love is important too, but it is not dependable. Agape love is the love in which we seek to be selfless. Compared to Eros, Agape love is always present in relationships.
The Good? I’m learning
The good part about my recent set of events is the Agape love I have found all around me. Furthermore, I have found Agape love within. I’m not going to sugarcoat the reality of the situation though— I have cried (a lot), I have lacked sleep, I have wanted to hibernate in my room in hopes of escaping the reality of the situation, I have lived off of cereal for a week because I felt too sick to eat, I got blonde highlights to “change” (this one I find a little humorous), I have gone on an eat pray love journey to visit family, I have sought out advice from random strangers, I have cried in public settings (e.g. Disneyland), I have assured my peers I was fine then said “kidding” five minutes later, etc. The lows have been rough, but that is when I usually know there are going to be highs in the future. Whenever I get asked about how I am doing, I usually respond with, “It’s all good”. Lately, I have been trying to be more honest about where I’m at. There are good and bad parts in my day, and I believe that it is important to acknowledge both. I think when people are in low points, they want to just sweep their problems under the carpet because of the stigma that “sadness” is weakness. Sadness is not weakness. Sadness is the emotion that shows we, as human beings, think so deeply about our lives to the point where we feel something. Although it is much easier said than done, I am doing my best to embrace the moments when I feel sad and remind myself that it does not make me weak. One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, has this quote about vulnerability. She says,
Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
― Brene Brown
Brene Brown’s words resonate with me. It is the reason why I have been able to seek the good in my situation. Her words remind me that the times I have felt most vulnerable in this process are the times where I have been courageous. Perhaps we all could learn from Brown’s words of wisdom.
In high school, I loved the song, Flashlight, by Hunter Hayes. The song talks about enduring the low points of life and having moments of doubt about if things will get better. “Flashlight Moments” are the moments of hope we encounter during our days. These moments are often unexpected and leave us feeling a little better. They are moments that reaffirm us and tell us that “Everything is going to be okay”. I love “Flashlight Moments” because they are one of the sincerest forms of love. As Hunter Hayes sings,
And the moments where you swear I’m just screaming at the sky,
It’s the strangest conversation or a friend just stopping by
And it’s funny when I realize all the places that your miracles can hide”
My “Flashlight Moments” have been unexpected, and I am so thankful for the good that is present in my life right now. I have built connections with people and sought to develop genuine relationships, I have tried to be more aware of the people who have been here for me and show gratitude, I have written (a lot) 25 pages to be exact of poetry (Most of it is just to reflect, but it is helpful), I have made changes to my life (changed majors, change of lifestyle, change of environment, etc.), I have been outside more in nature (one of the ways I always de-stress), I have been reconciling with the past, I have been making my own traditions, I have been reading (A LOT), I have been reaching out to others, I have started checking things off my bucket list and doing them for myself rather than with a “life partner”, I have been trying to step outside of my comfort zone, I have been trying to seize the moment more, I have put down the planner that runs my life and have stopped to simply just appreciate the good in life, etc. As Tim McGraw would put it in one of my favorite songs, Live Like You Were Dying,
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
All these things might sound “extra”— but it must be working because I have been reminded of who I am, what I stand for, my worth, and how to love.
It’s Weird How Life Works
It is weird how life works. I am a big believer that we meet people for a reason. My peers have been using the saying “Some people are a blessing while others are a lesson”. I do not know why we meet certain people in our lives and what their impacts will be on us— but I do know that it happens. It prompts us to look within, see something in ourselves, and seek change. (Disclaimer: I hate change, so the fact that I am saying I am comfortable seeking change is really new to me). I had the chance to walk Land’s End Labyrinth— something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Labyrinths represents a life path and our journey to finding balance/ wholeness. It is usually used for meditation purposes and self-reflection. By the time I got home for spring break, my mindset was, I am about ready to walk twenty labyrinths I am so flippin lost right now. Haha turns out all I needed was one to re-center myself. I love walking the labyrinth with another person because it shows how sometimes you will walk alongside someone and other times you walk alone. I think it is a cool concept, and I always turn to it when my relationships with people are uncertain. To me, the labyrinth provides reassurance that even though a relationship might seem off or undone, we all have to walk alone. Yet, we all end up in the center.
Who am I?
That’s a really good question because I have no idea right now haha. I know I have changed a lot in the past few months through the low points. I’m not sure where my newfound lessons and goals will take me, but I am hopeful that I can see the good in my current “life path” . If there’s one thing I have noticed, I feel more like myself.
(Shoutout to “These Days” by Rascal Flatts for randomly playing in the past month everywhere I go haha. The song is bittersweet but it brings me comfort haha.)
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Have a good weekend! -Elizabeth