Outside In: Showing loving kindness

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This ┬ápast weekend was pretty rough for me. Not to go into specifics but I was let down but some people close to me without being given a reason why. The whole week had a few hints that people I know weren’t going to be able to reciprocate the level of caring and friendship I give to them. While I understand I am pretty intense when it comes to expressing myself through love, I have to continue to understand my emotions and thoughtfulness stem from a deep empathy in me and practice in the loving kindness of the Dharma. Consequently, I continue to be hurt by my need for reciprocity and the expectation of actions by those that call them my friends. I continue to be disappointed and the only thing that comes to mind to safeguard myself is to retreat to a Buddhist monastery in the middle of nowhere, and solely focus on the Dharma. But is that really the answer?

imageI probably shouldn’t give you the answer now so you will want to continue to read the full post but if you are a regular, you already know the answer is no. The idea of running for the hills at the first sign of conflict and danger are no longer ideas that hold weight in my world. I’m more the type to find a way to stay myself, stay strong, and overcome as a guide for others to do the same. I’ve come to realize that my life is supposed to be hard so I may be able to analyze and share my wisdoms with those that want to listen ( thank you for following my blog each week). Even with this realization, the tough times wear me down, most specifically my interactions with those I call friends and loved ones.

I am someone who cares deeply in general, but when it’s a friend or significant other, I want them to show my exact level of emotions. I want them to think of me the same amount of times I think of them. I want them to invite me to all the events that they feel I might be interested in, even if I’ve already seen them five out of seven days that week. I want them to call, text, and speak daily, even if it’s just to say hello. imageThese are ways I show my appreciation to them for accepting me as their friend, but I have problems understanding why I can’t get that in return; especially when I witness them doing the same with other friends in their lives.

I start to feel less than important. I begin to think, ” what is it about me that doesn’t command the same level of friendship they are showing to the other guy?” I start to compare what I do for them to the friend they are seemingly closer with, and begin to tear that other person down as I try to show I should be getting more respect and consideration. I almost always catch myself being in this negative space and then comes the self loathing over my ego showing its ugly head. I instinctively know I am no better or worst than anyone else; however this is a new way of thinking for me, as I lived an insecure life up until recently. The wonderful thing about Buddhism and mindfulness are the tools that are available to be in the moment and correct thoughts so they don’t become actions that bring harm to oneself or others.

imageWhat I really came to understand after meditation was I need to find and accept the love inside myself. I have to be enough, but I don’t want to be seen as detaching from the world, or isolating myself. I want the balance of knowing I am love and loved by myself, and don’t need that from outside; but be fully accepting if others want to share love and kindness to me. I want to know and be comfortable being enough for myself and still open to the world.

I can’t say I fully have the answer to that dilemma. I know in my heart it’s possible, and in my head it makes sense, but I don’t have an action plan to speak of. The best I can come up with is to focus on self-love and take each moment as they come. I have to heal this need and desire for love outside of what I should be providing for myself. I spend way too much time treating others in what I feel is a wonderful way, I forget to treat myself just as kind. It really feels like I am giving the wrong love to the outside world, and the outside world isn’t being receptive because the kind of love I am displaying is for me alone. Once I turn this love inward I have faith I will be shown a better way to love others to receive what I have been looking for.

It’s comforting to know I will always be appreciated and loved because it will be coming from myself. While I feel in time I will have the same from my loved ones, I understand that love is a bonus and what is needed to have a happy and full existence comes from within alone.

 

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