Love the One You’re With
“Love the one you’re with” – that snippet of lyric from a song by Stephen Stills, reverberated in my head this morning during meditation. Not really the type of music one thinks of when communing with The Universe, but it crept in and would not leave me alone. And I think I know why. I have been practicing being kinder and gentler with myself of late. Not something that comes particularly easy, mind you. I have a fierce inner brow-beater with an oversized personality that takes great pleasure in pointing out all my shortcomings. Can you relate? Some days, admittedly, I am not at my best. I let the stuff of life—disappointments, annoyances, unpleasant occurrences—get the better of me. On such days, I feel grumpy or agitated or worse. I allow anger, fear, or self-doubt to take over, causing me to think dark thoughts. It’s hard to love myself when I get that way. When meditating this morning, following a particularly challenging yesterday, I paused to place my hands over my heart and whisper, “Good morning, dear one. Today will be a good day. I love you.” As I did this, I sensed an internal shift, an opening, a softening. It’s easy to love ourselves when the bright, capable, productive one shows up.
But what happens when we hit a snag? What happens when our confused, self-doubting, procrastinating self emerges? What do we do then? What do we do when, in the throes of “one of those days,” when nothing seems to be going right, when we’re angry at the world or down on ourselves or both? What do we do then? “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” We love the one we’re with. We love her like we would a cherished child having a rough day. We would seek to understand, to comfort, to guide her through the tough stuff, and to love her no matter what. By loving myself, I not only attract more love into my life, but also, I become better able to stay centered in love when encountering others gripped by demons of their own. As I venture further into the uncharted territory of self-love, where various ogres continue to lurk, I take with me appreciation for the struggle that comes with being a spiritual being having a human experience. We are all here to learn and grow, and to share our light with the world. To do so, we have to love ourselves, even when we are not at our best. This is a heroic journey of the heart; a journey we are all traveling alone and together at the same time. Brave hearts, all.