a guest post from Erin Dullea of 52 Dares
Here was the scene: 9:15 on a Thursday morning in the local specialty food store. Me with half-a-make-up-job (never did get back to it), a baby parked (sort of) nearby in her car seat with her hat slid down over her eyes, a sick toddler with a stomach bug (who was emitting a stink that I’d rather not remember), and an over-eager five-year old who kept interrupting me to ask for – beg for – a pack of Juicy Fruit gum (which, by the way, I’d previously told him he would not be getting.)
This was precisely when a coaching client of mine walks over and tentatively asks, “Erin??”
Yes. Yes, it’s me. This is my life. Isn’t it beautiful?
(Ok, in truth, I quickly took stock of the situation to see just how disheveled we all were.)
But then I locked eyes with this beautiful woman – and no longer cared who was doing what in my bunch, or whether or not my eye make-up matched. I was drawn in.
This is love. It’s what it does. It cuts through the bullshit and brings you back into the moment. And it connects you with all-that-is-good-and-beautiful-and-right in the other, in the world, in you.
I used to feel funny saying that I loved my clients. Love was reserved for the longer-term tenants of my heart – the people with whom I’d shared several chapters of my life, not just a passing paragraph or even page.
I see now how it was a kind of emotional starvation.
Because not only did I put pressure upon the people who were supposed-to-fill-me-up to always do just that, but even when they tried their best, it never felt like enough.
What I failed to see is how effortless love really was. How it isn’t something to chase after, to hold onto tightly, to hustle for, to earn. How there aren’t rules for what counted as love, or when you might be able to categorize it as so. And how it is always right there.
And yet, we pass it by, in our hurry for whatever-it-is-that-might-fill-us-up-instead without the vulnerability that accompanies love.
Because to love the imperfect being that stands before you – to see and appreciate the beauty within her story – you must find the beauty within your own, without needing to change or edit or hide any part of it.
And this does not come easily to us humans, who have developed these stubborn, delusional egos that tell us, repeatedly, that we are not enough; that we can’t handle it; that we will be forgotten and stepped over and tossed aside; that we are flawed and therefore unlovable.
It takes courage to sit in the presence of these messages – to feel the vulnerability of being a human being with a beating heart that aches and breaks and makes you, sometimes, want to run screaming out the door.
But if you dare to open up to it – to stay with the feelings when they arise – you will begin to discover just how wide and deep your well really is. And perhaps even in your worthiness of being loved.
Right now, exactly as you are.
So while Valentines Day is typically reserved for the romantic kind of love, make this one about finding love in all kinds of unexpected places.
Perhaps even here.
Erin is a personal coach and the founder of 52 Dares, nudging you to engage playfully, creatively, and bravely in experiences that expand you and your world. Take the dare and get your brave on by subscribing to The 52 Dare Challenge, or any of her other emails aimed to help you become your most awesome self!