Along the way, in the midst of aloneness and loneliness (and they are different, mind you), we attract like-minded friends. Due to common interests, sparks of interesting conversations set off, initiating an inevitable blossoming association, where when unmindful, can lead to a clinging-on relationship which turns a sincere, free connection to one of seeking one another’s approval to satisfy the need to belong.
You see, in us there lay a need to connect and socialize; while it can be an initial independent serving relationship at first, through time, it can turn into an inter-dependent or sometimes a totally dependent affiliation. Think about it, without this friend in my life, I am probably making decisions for myself with regards to a certain situation, but with this friend’s opinions or views around; whilst I may take his or her perception for consideration which should also lead to me to making my own decisions; I may also tend to do what he or she perceives is appropriate or important for the journey, although very much hiding behind a façade of integrity; just because we are close. As much as I am also making a decision to ‘obliged’ to another’s opinion, but guess what, I betray myself by not honoring myself. That is in truth, already a way of seeking love and approval from another.
I can never lie to or run away from myself, no matter how hard I try. I can try to paint the picture to the whole world how my outer manifestations, i.e. action is different from my initial intention, but sooner or later, I’d feel draggy about the whole thing, resentful or doubtful. Although I may not blame the other for my taking on this decision, but I will realize that I am in constant weakness and fear of honoring myself then on because I am afraid that I will lose this friend whom I have been blessed with, and to which in my perception, is hard to come by.
In my recent experience of a third stage of fasting, I finally plucked up the courage to respect myself once again. Ask me why I fast this round? The only thing I could say is that I wished to experience what it was like eating X kind of food or fruits for the whole day, so I’d say I was solely savoring the experience of that, until my partner reflected otherwise, time and time again citing certain things that I could not help but ponder away my intentions of fasting again. After speaking to Darling, I soon realized by myself that I was fasting once again out of fear, because two of the closest people in my heart at the moment were experiencing the fast (way ahead of me, if I might add) and I felt an ‘obligation’ to be in the experience so that I’d qualify to be ‘in the group’ – in short, I did it for a malicious intention: the sense of belonging. Even after realizing this, I was not at peace. My past experience of true realization was that I would arrive at peace. So that means to say, I was not at peace with myself, performing this fast.
I imagined a lot of possibilities of quitting the fast, and sticking with the fast; both filled with much self-judgment. It was very clear that I wasn’t indeed standing in my own power since my intention from the start was not from love, or trust. Besides the experience of trying out the menu for the first few days, which I enjoyed thoroughly, I found myself at the crossroad once again so much sooner when the mind asked, “I’ve tasted it, what’s next?” Where was I?
I questioned myself deeply, if I could selflessly do this, just for the sake of the group since there was an impression that “I” am part of the group and that my progress was detrimental to the group; but the mind could not stop arguing, “are you kidding me?” Not that I am not acknowledging myself in the group, but since when, had my worthiness needed to be validated by being part of the group? Clearly, there is some sort of defilement going on here.
I could not stop honoring myself these days. It is as if I am committing bigamy spiritually when I rely on others to belong somewhere so to speak; it is absolute that I am only responsible for me, to love me, accept me and to approve of me.
Love is not a tank where it is confined; it is in truth a bottomless well where no one is singled out. But if I am limiting Love, or defining Love by my intentions to satisfy a need arising from fear, who am I falling out of love with, except myself?
It comes back, again and again, these lessons, and I am thankful… for without which, deeper realization or learning would not have been possible. It is always about honoring and loving me – not in the space of demeaning others, but in empowering others – by empowering me. You see, it always starts with me, and that is all that is required to begin with.