I’ve long come to a happy conclusion—several contemplations and philosophical self-inquiries later—that love is something you can feel only if you’ve learned to love yourself. This is obvious to many, and inevitable realization of life at least for those who meditate on the idea of love and the self and such matters. We realize that love is the end-result of a sense of independence and an awareness of your own needs and interests, like a squiggly line that straightens to a single, perfect, end point that twinkles. That love cannot be formed in whole if it was attempted to be made with only half; rather, love should exist as a whole before it experiences shared love. In other words, you shouldn’t try to find your other half in anyone else when your other half should already be filled with your own richness. It’s a simple concept, so much so that it’s overwhelmingly attractive.
I wonder, is it truly as simple as that? I’m not too sure anymore. How is it that I still feel pain for this love, even though I already love myself? At least I think I love myself. I’m sure I do. Or I’ve convinced myself that I do. I thought I did. Do I not truly? Maybe I don’t…
I still have unfulfilled regrets lingering after all, which cling on my back like a lightly heavy weight, which I’m not sure how to remedy, and which still remain a part of who I am. I’ve done many things that I take great pride in and that the old me would feel safe with knowing. Many redeeming self-improvements and experiences that might have erased my regrets. Yet, it seems, I have yet to redeem myself to myself, and the weight on my back has not dropped to the ground. I still walk with a slight limp, and still slightly slower than if the weight were off my back. I do not love myself entirely after all.
I can’t deny, however, that the love that I feel with William is in fact love. I feel it. I feel that it is true love; its own intensity the only proof I need to claim its validity. I feel it with the warmth in my heart when I imagine him smiling, or walking with his hands in his coat pockets, or slumping his shoulders, giving himself an aura of apathy, or when his half-closed eyes look lazily downwards at me. When I imagine all these—which have recently been blurred by my own latest problems and insecurities—I realize that I’ve been forgetting how to love.
I realize, just this instant, that it was not the world around me that had gone mad, which might have threatened the simple formula for the ultimate realization involving the experience of love: love yourself before you can love others. I needed not to engage in another extensive philosophical analysis in order to reconfigure the universal formula, for doing so would be reconfiguring it to my own insecurities (In fact, the gears and cogs within my brain were already logically sorting out the beginnings of a new theory which would undermine the original formula—most of which have already evaporated from my recollection). Instead, it was me who had momentarily gone mad from an old insecurity incited from a series of small incidents, and everything else in my life had coincidentally jumbled up in concert.
I might have to contradict myself by saying that perhaps I still do love myself. Perhaps I had only forgotten to love myself for a moment. Though I am still insecure (which I’ve just now learned about myself and now acknowledge), and I still bear the aforementioned regrets that weigh me down slightly, I love who I am nonetheless. I only hate my circumstances. Especially my recent circumstances. I’ve been really quite unhappy with these circumstances.
But I don’t think that they are circumstances impossible to fix, or at least get out of, as long as I have now acknowledged that I myself have still ways to grow and improve. I still have more about myself that I can love, all of which are still waiting for me to get there.
I’ve been angry (and still am) with William, with my relationships, and my circumstances because I thought I had my life comfortably sorted out. I was safe in all these expectations, and I fell too into the entire romance of my life that when they collapsed, I became lost. (It’s funny how I had to relearn everything I have just realized tonight. I had written numerous things about these same matters, and had given myself these lessons already. And yet, they had become so easily forgotten when my emotions become overblown and boil all the logic floating around my head.)