I love you.

untrue love“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.” George Sand

Love is a word that is seen and heard everywhere. It is used freely to describe emotions and feelings. It conjures up romantic notions and lusts. Yet there is so much more to love than just a sentiment which makes you feel good.

Of course it’s wonderful to make people feel wanted and needed through words that are encouraging or compassionate. But when you use the words ‘I love you’, it can take the relationship to a completely different level. Those three little words aren’t just a statement of affection or admiration, they can be the ultimate declaration of attachment and loyalty.

When you tell someone you love them you are investing your heart, mind and soul. ‘I love you’ should never be spoken lightly. In my own life I have found it very difficult at times to express my love or receive it. Because I never wanted to feel so desperate, lonely and unloved as I did when I realised my mother had abandoned me forever.

“The love you seek is seeking you at this moment.”                                                              ~ Deepak Chopra

My thinking was that if I didn’t allow anyone to love me and if in turn, I didn’t love anyone then I couldn’t be hurt again. But I did hurt. And the more I used alcohol to numb the pain, the more I distanced myself from ever being able to love not just others, but myself. And so too will you be distanced  further from what you truly desire if you try to avoid loving or being loved. A loveless life is merely an existence void of real joy or happiness.

So when I reached the point that existing was no longer an option for me, I started on my journey of recovery. If you have ever been on that journey you will know how vulnerable and raw it can be. Not to mention terrifying. But it is worth it. You are worth it.

Through faith I experienced a love that forgave everything I had been, accepted me for who I was, and helped me believe that I could live a life of value and worth. Most importantly it taught me that I needed to love myself because it was only through self-love that I could truly extend that love to others.

“Love one another.” ~ John 13:34

It wasn’t easy but I had to learn to look at myself and say ‘I love you’, before I could declare it to anyone else. Even now I have to admit that I am much more at ease at telling those I care for deeply that I love them than reassuring myself. But the reality is that you can’t give away what you don’t have, and that includes love.

illusionAs well as needing to be loved, we need to love others. For me this means not just speaking of love, but showing it. Gifts, tokens of generosity or sensual actions are all ways to demonstrate love, but just as important are respect, empathy, commitment and authenticity. ‘I love you’ can then have huge impact and meaning.

I am so grateful that today my life is filled with friends and family that I have genuine love for and who reciprocate that love time and time again.

My message to you is as always, ‘I love you.’

Untrue love’ and ‘Illusion‘ images thanks to the fabulous talent of Boryana Gold   http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BoryanaGold

 

Freedom.

Sagittarius gallery one“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.” 
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Would you say you are free? Or do you crave to break out of your life? Freedom is something I often take for granted. Of course there are restrictions imposed by my domestic or work situation, but generally I can travel where I choose, I can read what I want, listen to the music I enjoy, practice my faith – all without fear. Many around the world can barely imagine such privileges. But whilst I accept these liberties as usual in my life, the opposite can be said for my personal freedom. Being able to live my life as the person I was meant to be is something I appreciate and cherish daily.

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

I wake up and am glad that I am alive. For anyone who has never experienced a deep depression, waking up each day is not an issue. But my depression took me to suicidal depths that held me trapped for many years – fearful, hopeless, stuck with past memories, fighting a daily battle to simply exist. So to find myself living a life of joy, expectancy, enthusiasm and creativity is an existence that I could only have previously dreamed.

I wake up without the need for a drink. For anyone who drinks socially or is teetotal from choice that is no big deal. But alcoholism controlled me physically and mentally for many years. So to be able enjoy sobriety and reap the incredible rewards it brings is a  breakthrough that I could only have previously coveted.

Both the freedom from acute depression and addiction are something that I have received for many years. Never do I take them for granted. They are something I thank God for, thank my family for and thank my friends for every single day of my life.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32

It’s through my bondage that I have found my release. It’s by enduring the trials that I have found the solutions.  It’s by confronting my personal truth that I have found my authentic self.

When you are feeling trapped and weak it is hard to imagine freedom. If you are the grip of victim mentality, it is practically impossible to feel empowered. But whatever the restraints of your situation and however hard it is to change what goes in your physical world, you are still a unique being. How you react and how you feel inside are choices that have within you. Choices that will encourage and expand your personal freedom.

sagittarius gallery twoMy journey of self-discovery meant facing truths that hurt. With the comfort and restoration of faith I dealt with the pain. I allowed myself to start walking in freedom.  Freedom to accept myself for who and what I was. Freedom to say ‘Yes’ when I wanted and ‘No’ when I didn’t. Freedom to accept my  mistakes and to celebrate my successes. Freedom to love and be loved.

Freedom to be me.

What does freedom mean to you?

Images thanks to the wonderfully talented Aja of the Sagittarius Gallery at http://www.etsy.com/shop/SagittariusGallery And many thanks to Val Andrews  Escape Artist who’s blog regularly inspires me to consider and revere my freedom.