The Joy of Learning How to Love


I have a theory: maybe our purpose in life is learning how to love & be loved; maybe love is not something that can ever be figured out for certain (there is no ‘aha!’ moment on your deathbed), but rather an act of giving it your best shot, over and over again.

I’ve always thought that I’m better at loving others than I am at loving myself. How many people can say the same – we tell our friends to take good care of their precious, fragile hearts, but struggle to follow our own advice, our own wisdom?

I’m beginning to understand that I teach others how to love me in the way I love myself. If I can’t love myself how I need, how can I expect anyone else to? It seems so obvious, I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out before. Why are some people able to honour themselves so well from early on in life, while others, like myself, take decades to learn what they are worth?

I used to think the best love was without boundaries. I would choose to give my power away, time and time again, in the name of love, rather than empower myself for the same reason.

Now I’m learning just how necessary boundaries are. I still struggle to set them, perhaps for fear of what I might miss out on if I do. But when I do manage to draw a line (and stick to it), I realise what I have gained and strengthened, the loving kindness I have bestowed upon myself.

I used to think boundaries were hostile walls topped with barbed wire, an unscalable barrier to intimacy between myself and those I love. Now I see it’s more like a moat surrounding a small, tranquil island inhabited only by you. Others come knocking, wanting to visit, to take up residence, and only for those deserving do you lower the drawbridge and invite them across.


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