I just want to feel loved. How do I do that?
By loving life itself. That is the only way.
I have tried other ways, but without any love springing from that core of life itself, then there is no love to be had.
Loving yourself isn’t solely about looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing someone you admire, respect, and enjoy being around, though that’s certainly a good marker of whether you do (that happens to me sometimes… not always). In essence, it’s about loving life itself—and that includes your life.
In your experience of life, you are the common denominator. You’re always there. You’re the one doing the thinking and the watching and experiencing and whatnot. And, of course, you’re the one doing the loving (or the loathing). So, loving yourself necessitates that you love being alive.
If you don’t love being alive, that means that you are treating yourself poorly somehow, and thus you don’t love yourself. You don’t get too excited about looking in the mirror.
"Treating yourself poorly” doesn’t mean that you don’t give yourself enough warm bubble baths, although you can do that if you’d like. Rather, it’s a circular problem. Not loving your life means that you are treating yourself poorly, and treating yourself poorly means that you are not allowing yourself to truly be and feel alive.
Too often you say “yes” to things that drain you, and “no” to things that excite you. Your life gets filled with things you’d rather not experience, and they come together they overwhelm you. They lead you to dread getting up in the morning.
The ubiquitous presence of undesirable things shows most strongly in your thoughts and feelings. This means that you feel badly and think negatively. The feelings tend to be more obvious; however, you can get used to feeling a certain way and assume that life is simply supposed to feel this way. Maybe you even feel fairly neutral most of the time and think things must be going okay based on that indicator.
But what if there were no neutral feelings? Subtle, perhaps, but never neutral. What if in every moment, the way you feel is either “good” or “bad,” and you just have to check in to take notice of it? Assuming that’s the case, which way do you think you feel most of the time?
You’re always aligning with either fear or love. I wrote about this in my book. In each moment, you are motivated either by avoidance or by a desire to go toward (approach) something. You are either trying to take for yourself, in order to secure your ego’s survival (e.g. increasing your social status, making money), or you genuinely desire to create something which will be added to the world. You try to dominate life so that it flows into you, or you show your affinity for life by letting it flow out.
In each moment, you either fear death or love life. Which is true for you more often?
The key here is choosing your state consciously, which you indeed always have the power to do. Become aware of which state you want to experience, and use self-awareness to keep yourself on track with it.
It’s like meditation. Your mind is bound to start thinking about silly things while you’re trying to concentrate. But that’s okay, because you can bring your attention back to the present. You will have to do this many times, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
So, the more you deliberately align with one “pole” (provided it’s the one you really want and think you should be aligned with), the better you will get at doing so.
You fall out of alignment with your desired pole (i.e. love or fear) more often than you realize. Any moment you try to distract yourself, you are aligning with fear. Any thought about trying to impress other people is aligned with fear. Any attempt to fight or remove lack (rather than create abundance)- to fill a hole, so to speak- is aligned with fear.
99% of us (at least!) do these things quite often. I sure do. I’ve tried to distract myself at least five times while writing this article. My primary motive is love, but I still get scared. I think about certain objections people might have to what I say and I get a bit nervous. I worry a little bit about being wrong, or about coming off in some undesirable light- maybe too harsh, too self-righteous, too weird—it goes on. I’m not sitting here crying and wetting my pants, but those thoughts are nevertheless aligned with fear.
And even those subtle fears have an impact on my work. I’m starting to consider that the fears I’ve had are not really subtle. They lead me to create from a place of need, rather than a genuine desire to explore, express myself, and share. I worry about how my financial future is on the line. I want to be liked.
Again, this is not to say I deliberately try to manipulate people into giving me money or reading my work or anything like that. I think a look around this website will basically confirm that. The point is that fear is present more often than I generally realize it is, and it degrades my ability to create and to connect with other people authentically.
Getting Scared vs. Living Scared
Fear is paralyzing for me. It doesn’t mean that I can’t get an article finished or tell a girl I like her or give a speech or go for a 30 mile run when I feel afraid to do those things. In fact, I think some amount of fear is a good indicator that you’re on the right path. It means that you’re stretching yourself. You’re crossing beyond your previous limits. You’re becoming something new. This is the fear that tends to say outright, “Ah, I’m scared!” This is getting scared. It generally doesn’t last—unless you let it.
The damaging fear tends to be more baseline—more subtle. It’s the motive, rather than the obvious feeling, of fear. This is the fear that gets a job just to make money. This is the fear that makes a certain line come out of my mouth with the hope of looking good and impressing someone. This is the fear that doesn’t want to be wrong. This is living scared. You’ve allowed fear to run your life. Most of what you do is motivated by fear. You live to avoid death.
Getting a job solely for a paycheck isn’t scary or difficult on the surface. You’re just folding clothes or delivering newspapers or pushing buttons on a cash register. But there is obviously no love in it, either. I certainly don’t feel alive or excited while doing those things. I’m not creatively expressing anything, except for dullness. It’s hard to see how I’m making much of a contribution-- unless that job is connected to a highly conscious, love-oriented organization, which it usually isn’t.
For me, this fear- acting merely to avoid death- is far scarier than the fear that comes at times with doing big things. For the majority of people (myself included), fear-motivation is futile because it essentially yields the very thing you are trying so hard to stay away from.
When you live to avoid death, you never truly live. You never really create anything from your heart. You never connect on a deeper level with other people, because in your mind there is too much on the line for that to even be imaginable. So you become a walking zombie. You appear to be alive, but you aren’t. You don’t even know what life is.
It is this low-level fear that is at the root of the scarcity mindset (or the scarcity “vibe”), which is constantly afraid of external resources running out. Fear always focuses on things outside of itself. It looks at every single thing in the world and tries to figure out how it might be killed by that thing.
Of course, at bottom all fear is really a fear of oneself. You don’t trust yourself. You’re afraid you won’t be able to handle what happens. You’re afraid you aren’t worthy. You’re afraid of facing yourself. You’re afraid of the shell you hide behind being exposed.
All fear is a fear of death. It is also a fear of being alive. It will go to any measure to prevent life—to keep you from truly being yourself. Why? Who the hell knows. Fear is ridiculous. It’s delusional. It’s not worth your time. I might as well stop writing about it now!
Don’t get so hung up in fear. Don’t try too hard to analyze its stories. Don’t take its threats too seriously. That’s what it wants you to do. It wants you to wonder why you spend so much time in fear rather than love, and to beat yourself over the head for it. Forget that silly fear. It’ll have you walk in circles for days. Walk away from it instead.
The basic advice here is to ignore fear. Somewhat paradoxically, however, it’s helpful to know when you are in a state of fear in order to do so. You have a set of behaviors that indicate when you’re in fear—behaviors that attempt to distract yourself, to manipulate others, and to downright scare the willies out of you. When you know what those are, it’s easier to become aware of the fact that you’re acting out of fear. Then, you can stop doing so.
One thing I do to distract myself is to look in a mirror and obsess over every minute detail of my face. I’ve wasted many hours of life doing this. Simultaneously, I usually have thoughts which, at bottom, reflect a fear of other people perceiving me a certain way. In other words, I’m having really dumb imaginary conversations in my head, which will never actually happen because they are dumb. When I bring a moment of awareness to the situation, which says, Hey, this is fear, then I enable myself to stop and walk away.
For me, any sort of imagining or trying to plan out conversations is a marker of fear. I’m trying to convince someone of something in those conversations. It doesn’t matter what—it might be how great I am or how terrible I am. It makes no difference. Fear is downright ridiculous, remember? The specifics of its story doesn’t really matter. All fear cares about is getting people to buy into that story (yes, that includes you). It’s a meme. It just wants to spread. It wants to reproduce like crazy. It’s a disease. Diseases may look like they want to latch on to someone specific and take on a certain set of symptoms. But that’s just an appearance. At the end of the day, they just want to proliferate. There’s no rhyme or reason about them other than that.
Diseases try to look special and different in order to make you extra afraid of them, so you become easier to take over. Then they make you think that you’re special and different because you have this disease, and they give you a reason to share your fear-story with the world. But you just bought into the trap, laddy. They got ya. They got you to think that your fear is justified. That’s their ultimate goal, and they achieved it.
Step Toward Love
Now, walking away from fear is a key step. It is very important. But to stay away from fear a majority of the time, you need something compelling to walk toward. Something special. Something important and heart-centered. Something juicy. Something that brings you to life. Something you love.
You gotta love something, and never take your eyes off it. You have to walk toward it in every moment. The flow of what you create must come up from within, and go out into the world. It comes from your heart. You can probably even feel this flow if you put your attention on your heart for a moment.
How does it feel? It tends to feel centering, grounded, and even fairly pleasurable. It isn’t necessarily jumping up and down and bouncing off the walls, although it can do that sometimes. It often comes with a smile—even a small one.
You aren’t at the whim of the unpredictability of emotions here. You can return to this feeling whenever you want. You just have to choose to go there. Sometimes you’ll forget that, and you’ll be far off in fear-land somewhere running after the Twinkie you’ll never catch. But when you become aware that you’re acting from fear, you can step away, and then step back into this love-centered state of being. Then, you’ll realize that the Twinkie wasn’t really that important… or real (after all, Twinkies were discontinued quite some time ago).
What does love mean for you? For me, love is the same as life. Loving something means that putting my attention on it brings energy and vibrancy—it means feeling alive. Love is aliveness.
Sure, fear has its own energy. It’s an inflow rather than an outflow, but it still flows. However, the taste of love is so sweet, anything that lacks its aliveness might as well be, well, dead. It just ain’t worth a dime (not even the minimum wage paycheck!).
When you connect often enough with love within a certain period of time, fear starts to look silly. Rather than fear it and make up one story after another about it, you start to laugh at it. That doesn’t mean you never ever experience it. But when you notice yourself in your fear-behaviors, you think, “You silly goose!” and then you go back to love. This is in opposition to becoming aware of the fear-state and thinking “Oh god I’m doing it again please spare me I’m not worthy! Rahhfjsld!”
Fear and love transform each other, based on which perspective you take. From the perspective of fear, love looks deluded, manipulative, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and childish. From the perspective of love, fear looks downright silly. Indeed, love also is aware of fear’s delusions and attempts to be manipulative, but silly is the only label necessary, because that’s all fear really is. Let me bonk you on the head while you consider otherwise.
Fear and love also see themselves, of course, as being right. Fear sees itself as necessary and justified. Love sees itself as playful and joyful. Fear sees love as being wrong—just another form of fear in disguise, is all. Love doesn’t try to beat fear over the head for being “wrong”—rather, it sees fear as something that could use some love. In other words, love sees fear as a lack of love.
You Are Life
A key to internalizing all this is understanding that you are fear or love, in each moment—you don’t merely have or use these things. You are them. That’s why loving life is the same as loving yourself. That’s why hating life is the same as hating yourself. You are love. You are life. And sometimes, you are fear.
When I ask what inspires me, there are a lot of things I could say. Learning and growing, creatively expressing myself, making leaps in awareness, connecting with others, and so on. But what it really comes down to is one word—life. Life inspires me. That’s it. That’s everything.
When I asked myself this the other day, one of the first answers that came to mind was myself. But that didn’t feel complete. The next answer, which felt more congruent, was life. Then I realized, Hey… they’re the same thing!
I am life. You are life. You can cower from life and try to manipulate it so that it keeps you from dying. Or you can embrace life in its fullness, and have a plain ol’ good time with it.
Whatever you choose, just remember who you really are.
P.S. Happy 1st anniversary to kimwrate.com! Woohoo! :)
This article is a testament to what I started writing for—to express and to share a love for life itself. As I said, sometimes I get scared and get off track. I don’t know if I’m doing a good job. I don’t know if I’m doing things right. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing at all, or whether I’m doing anything to begin with!
But I can always adjust course. I can always try again. I can always keep going. As long as I can remain true to this purest of intents, I can never go wrong.
After all-- life's ultimate challenge is to trust in it unwaveringly.
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