Not too long ago, I became present to a profound insight which shifted my entire perspective about love. To put it simply, I first realised that most of my love for myself was subtly but perniciously conditional. I talked about self-love and encouraged others to develop love for themselves first, as a prerequisite to truly loving others, but I was oblivious to the fact that my love for myself was not unconditional. Deep down, I felt I had to “achieve” to deserve my own love.
Up until that realisation, I had been blocking a deeper relationship with who I was as a result of conditions I unconsciously set for being worthy of my own appreciation. This state of affairs could have gone on ubeknownst to me for years, possibly decades. This is how many of us live: bargaining our love for ourselves.
Luckily, I love coaching and the cornerstone of my vocation is about coming from a place of love. At least this is my perspective on coaching and the place I choose to come from with every soul I serve. I can’t serve someone well if I don’t genuinely feel love for this person. As such, there being a lid on my love for myself inevitably limited my capacity to love, hence serve, others. That didn’t sit well with me.
My theme for the year 2017 being the word “limitless”, I inevitably discussed this with my coach John P Morgan and we identified the subtle but omnipresent conditionality I imposed towards my own self-appreciation. I then started researching the topic of love as well as exploring various practices that I hoped would bring about more love in my day to day life, for myself and for others. One of the practices I came across was a specific type of meditation called Loving-kindness meditation (LKM).
Upon practising LKM more and more, I realised not only that I did feel a stronger connection with myself, including a deeper sense of peace with who I am, but I also noticed I could meditate with absolutely no awareness of time! I genuinely enjoyed repeating the LKM mantras and wishing them to myself and others. I also noticed the shift in my behaviour with my fiancée and my clients. I became more sensitive to them, more present with them, and less caught up in my own head. I stopped trying to fulfill the “conditions” that, in my mind, would create love between us. I became capable of having conversations that I would previously have judged as really uncomfortable, and maintain a deep feeling of connection throughout.
What began to clearly emerge for me is this: love is connection. Within this broad definition there are many nuances of course, which I won’t go into here, but at the heart of it love is purely and simply connection. And what’s even more beautiful than seeing that, is realising that this connection does not “happen” to us as much as we happen to it! Connection can be created and nurtured.
Connection is our own doing.
Conditionality kills connection. Conditions limit our capacity to create, they block the flow of energy, positivity and empathy which connects two people, and leave each person fenced away in their own heads, impeding love to take place. The deepest form of love is pure unconditionality, because it leaves the channel of energy wide open for the cleanest and most powerful form of connection to unfold.
I am not “trying” to love myself more, nor am I trying to love others more. Instead, I practise my capacity to experience pure unconditionality within myself and with others, because unconditionality leaves the door open to true connection, and true connection inevitably leads to unsullied love.