Love is the strongest magic we have. It is the fire that transforms anything that's thrown into it. It turns "hawks into doves," enemies into allies, and can heal the deep wounds in ourselves, our family, and our society. Some people have trouble giving love because they fear not having enough for themselves. Others are afraid of receiving love, and being overwhelmed or engulfed. The hardness around our heart, the fear in our gut, and the clutter in our brain, are all protective strategies we adopted in childhood and later in life to deal with a difficult and demanding world. But by putting up walls around our heart and letting our mind or our fear protect us, we cut ourselves off from other hearts, from the world, and even from our vast inner Self.
Loving ourselves is often the first step in opening up to a wide and powerful love of life.
Receiving love from ourselves is the only permanent and endless source of love. Success, approval, fame, romantic love—we pursue all of these in the hopes of attaining the love we need. Allowing compassion to flow freely into and out of our hearts not only improves our relationships, it also grants us freedom from our deepest fears: that we are unloved and unlovable—not just by other people but by the universe itself. When our hearts become a clear channel of compassion and acceptance, the universe becomes a warm and rich place, overflowing with meaning and joy. From this place, we can resolutely affirm reality and say "YES" to our life. When we drop the armor that defends the most vulnerable part of us, a massive weight drops from our shoulders. Such a vulnerable state of openness requires true bravery, because it opens us up to true pain. What we get in return, however, is the ability to touch life directly. When the heart is open in this way, we never have to ask about the meaning of life; we have it already.
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