The Love Story of the Year cannot be found in the movies. It is not a novel. No matter how well a Hollywood writer can describe two people coming together the story will pale against what happens every day in your own living room.
Your unspoken, under appreciated, unseen love story is the story of the year. How’s that work? Let me explain.
Many of us are significantly impressed when someone else takes a risk. This could be risking their own safety as in war or natural disasters; it could be risking their self esteem by holding an unpopular opinion or speaking out in a hostile environment. When someone risks loving someone we view as not particularly loveable we are touched by their compassion, their selflessness.
But to love the person that lives within you, to cherish your doofusness, to embrace your own imperfect body, to forgive yourself for chronic failures – that is truly a love story. It is so because of the we all have fed on many internalized messages that feed our own self doubt . We were raised you might say on self criticism. We were taught to believe it. We were nurtured at the feet of the ‘you can do better’ gods.
Some of that teaching was framed as ‘motivational.’ Some of it comes directly from a puritan heritage that held big doubts about humans ‘inner goodness.’ Religion certainly thrived using an angle of self doubt so did (and does) formal education. You get good grades by following the rules, not by going with your own instincts for learning (cf Alice Miller’s For Your Own Good). You get credited with being a ‘good person’ by passively complying with the current standards of morality and appropriate behavior. We notice the relentless increase in the diagnoses of hyperactive/ attention deficit disorder/ anxiety neurosis and on and on.
Humans who create, who say no to socially approved behaviors, who ask hard questions, who ‘deviate’ from some authority’s norm – they risk the shunning and disapproval of the mature and normal people who decide the standards of civility.
I know a young man who successfully survived twenty five years of shaming because of a disorder known as Tourette’s Syndrome. From approximately eight years old until he was twenty his disorder wasn’t diagnosed and he was routinely instructed to ‘stop shaking’ or to ‘control yourself.’ He was offered bribes if he would be still for a full five minutes, he was given rubber bands to put around his wrists. Surprisingly he was never offered shock treatment but I would bet some considered it.
I mention him because he is a true story of inner love prevailing. Today in his mid thirties he is a brilliant artist and as well as a craftsman in various aspects of computer technology. I had the privilege of a long and intense conversation with him the other evening and he holds many unconventional opinions – about education, about politics and about religion. He believes that what took him through the storms of high school was that he was driven over and over into a deeper connection with his own legitimate right to live. When he recently was offered a full scholarship to a masters program in a highly prestigious university he was overwhelmed with the realization that finally he could be seen for who he is and for what he brings to the world.
A few people helped along the way and he is grateful. For the most part however, he did it all on his own.
Loving the one within is the beginning of being able to love others. Loving others is what can change the world. Write your own love story. Stand up for the one within you that never stopped loving even when everyone around you kept pointing out what’s wrong with you. And you’ll discover a path that will take you to your true home.
The Delphic Oracle said ‘know thyself.’ We agree and add ‘know and embrace thy own loving center.’
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