So this is the week of Valentine's Day, yes? Then it would be very appropriate for us to take a look at what Conversations with God has to say about love and relationships.
Most people, God said to me, enter into relationships for the wrong reason. The purpose of relationship is for us to create a context within which we might announce and declare, express and fulfill, our highest notion of who we really are. Very few people understand romantic relationships in this way.
I certainly didn't in my life, and since I have been given this information I have found myself challenged at the very highest level. I have not always met the challenge. Indeed, I have failed time and time again to fulfill the highest notion I have had about myself in my relationships with others. Yet I believe that by my failures I have grown, and come to know more and more about what it means to be truly loving.
The first person that I have to be truly loving with, is myself. I know that sounds like nothing more than a shallow cliché, but I assure you that it is profoundly true -- and immensely important. Loving oneself does not mean being selfish. It does mean not becoming a chameleon, not allowing yourself to change colors and change truths and change intentions and change the way it is that you are as an individual human being simply to keep another person in the room. It means loving yourself enough to be authentically YOU even if it looks like doing so will cause others to depart.
What will happen, in truth, is that certain people will depart, but certain other people will join you in your life in a new and powerful way. They will join you because they resonate with who you are. They are in harmony with the very essence of your being. They agree with your agenda. They hold the same intentions. They are compatible with you in many ways. They are not the same as you, but they are compatible. I cannot begin to tell you how important this is. A person cannot know -- nor can you -- whether or not they are compatible unless they know who you are in your Truthful Being.
This is a phrase that I have coined to describe a person who lives in, and comes from, his or her truth in every moment. I made a New Year's resolution a few weeks ago. My resolution reads like this: "Tell your truth as soon as you know it." For years I did not do this. In fact, for most of my life I have lied. I told small lies and big lies, trivial lies and important lies. And I did it because I felt that it served me to do it. Now I see that nothing has disserved me more. So old so soon, so smart so late.
And so on this Valentine's Day I invite you to love yourself as you have never loved yourself before. Love yourself enough to speak your deepest truth to everyone whose life you touch. And especially to your Significant Other. Please speak to your Beloved from your place of transparency and total visibility in every moment. Hide nothing. Shield nothing. Stand naked before your Beloved not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Let yourself be seen, let yourself be known exactly as you are. This will be the greatest gift you could ever give to anyone, and the most wonderful present you could give to the person with whom you share your life.
And so, this is not only an act of self-love, but an act of enormous love for another as well. For the willingness to be absolutely vulnerable and completely without defense in the space of another is the highest tribute that one heart can pay to a second human being. It says more than all the store-bought gifts could possibly ever convey. And it tells more about you than anything else you could possibly do in order to communicate who you are and how much you love.
The willingness to lose another rather than hold them in your life under false pretenses is the highest act of love. And the irony of all this is that having the courage to share what it is that you are certain will drive the other person away... is very often precisely what inspires them to stay. For they then know that they are not living with an "image" of you, but with a reality. A truth. The authentic article. The real thing.
Most people can live with reality. What they can't live with is false hopes, misplaced dreams, and the knowledge that they cannot trust the words that come from the mouth of the person they love -- not because that person is mean or cruel or deliberately trying to be hurtful, but simply because that person is so wounded that he or she cannot speak in words that can be trusted. They do not know their own truth. Because they have never identified it. Because they have never had the urge to speak it and to declare it and to announce it for fear of losing another. The result is that they have lost many others, over and over again in their life.
People with whom I counsel ask me how they can announce their truth to another when they do not even know it. They ask me to help them identify their truth, to come to understand who they really are and what they really want. I tell them that they must begin by simply verbalizing their truth. They must begin by talking. Out loud. To others. About everything.
How they feel. What they want right now. It may be quite true that many people do not know what they want in the long run, but it is not true that people do not know what they want right here and now. Everyone knows what he or she wants right here, right now. Everyone knows that. It is merely a question of whether we will have the courage to speak our truth about that. If we hold that truth in, and if we have done so for years, we literally lose touch with the essence of who we are and what we desire. We fall into a quiet resentment. We begin living lives of quiet desperation. We say less and less. We think more and more. We turn inward. And our significant relationship with our beloved other becomes unfulfilling -- and we don't even know why.
So this Valentine's Day give the gift of truth. Forget the candy, forget the beautiful card, forget the flowers, forget the dinner out and the negligee and whatever else it is that you thought would be the "perfect gift" on Wednesday evening. Just tell the truth. Tell the good truth and the bad truth. Say the words that you know will be welcomed, and the words that you know will not. Be brave. Be courageous. Be authentic. Be truthful. And in so being, be the essence of love itself.
Copyright © Neale Donald Walsch. All rights reserved.