As I write this, I’ve mentally and emotionally been trying to prepare myself for my trip home tomorrow after having spent an amazing week with my sister and her family. Contrary to what so many single people often believe, that if they just had a partner, they wouldn’t feel so empty and alone, I still feel that way even though I have a good relationship with someone who does care deeply for me.
Time and time again, many of my single friends over the years have told me that all would be well in their world if they just had a partner to love them. Yet, I’ve had quite a few long-term relationships in my life with individuals who have loved me immensely, but still felt more alone than not during each of them. So, how can that be?
Because I believe that all my aloneness, all my emptiness, and that huge pit of despair I’ve frequently felt within me throughout much of my life, that I’ve consistently sought to fill with addictions, with relationships, and a vast number of other things as well, has nothing to do with anything I don’t have but my own lack of unconditional love for myself.
Lately, my ego has even been trying to convince myself that maybe if I could just get out of Toledo where I reside now, and move back east, that my inner world would somehow right itself. But I know that’s a lie as well that I like to tell myself regularly. Because my emptiness has nothing to do with that either. For as much as I’m not a Midwesterner and do prefer living on the East coast, especially near the ocean, my emptiness won’t change from a geographical move either.
The simple fact is my emptiness is coming from not loving myself enough unconditionally.
While I love the volunteer work I do, my 12 Step recovery and sobriety, and the many ways I try to be a selfless individual nowadays, I really don’t love myself enough unconditionally. In fact, I place far too many conditions on loving myself. I often place many expectations around who I should be, rather than embracing me for who I am right now. I frequently judge myself as well and often become my harshest critic. The reality I see now is that there is no person, place, or thing that can ever be a part of my life that will change my emptiness, even God, if I don’t start doing a much better job loving myself unconditionally.
It is sad to say that I have spent so much of my life looking to fill my inner void with something outside of myself, when I see now that my emptiness will only ever be truly filled by having a lot more love for myself, something that I think God has been trying to show me for a very, very, long time.
Ultimately, I think that God loves each and every one of us unconditionally, but how can we ever feel that if we don’t love ourselves in the very same way. When I fail to love myself unconditionally, the more I beat myself up, the more I judge myself, and the more I place even greater unreasonable expectations and demands upon my life. The longer that goes on, the more I end up living in negativity, trying to fill all that emptiness with people, places, and things, none of which are ever successful filling.
If we can’t offer ourselves the unconditional love we deserve, we really do start becoming our harshest critics in life who are constantly looking outside of ourselves to fix that brokenness within. And there is no one, not one single person on this planet, and not even God, who can change that unless we become willing to offer it to ourselves as well. I know this is a hard task, especially when much of my life has been spent doing everything but, yet it’s something I am working on doing far more now than ever before. And it begins with removing the belief that someone or something out there can change any of my emptiness within.
I pray that I will truly love myself a lot more unconditionally in 2022 than I have in many of my years past, and I pray that in doing so, I will feel enough love within to stop falling into the belief that a relationship, or anything else, can ever fill the void within me…because only loving myself unconditionally, like I know God does, can do that…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson