by Jinya, age 36, UK
On a recent visit to a friend’s house, as I was saying goodbye to them, all the kids continued to play as they said bye – except the 5 year-old girl, who I have known since birth. She walked up to me for the first time of her own accord and gave me the most beautiful, tender, meltingly gorgeous hug… ever. I melted and almost cried. This little girl had always been quite shy and although she would talk to me, she had never openly expressed any kind of affection. What was so different on this day?
What was different was that I saw her and I wasn’t afraid to let in her love. In a beautiful moment, she felt that I saw her and the hug was a physical confirmation of what had already occurred energetically. Love would never impose itself on another because that just isn’t what love does. It waits. And waits. And waits. And when you’re ready, touches you with such powerful tenderness that it leaves a grown man crying… well, almost. I saw her that day because on that day I had given myself permission to be more of the love inside me, and what I could see and feel in the little girl was a simple equality. We met.
Early next morning, as I was reflecting on the tenderness that was shown to me, I felt the truth in the fact that the same love that is waiting for permission to be expressed is already right here in my heart, in my eyes, and everything from my fingertips to my voice. I wept a few tears when I felt this.
I’ve been trying to get to this love like an unreachable peak with constantly moving goal posts – and all this time I was the one tricking myself and moving the goal posts! It seemed unreachable because that is where I put it, not wanting to reach it, out of pure denial. I had kept my sensitivity hidden away so that I could numb my awareness of how much it hurts to live in the world that is often very rough and uncaring.
By doing this, I hurt myself in every moment. In turn, life became a struggle to get back the power I gave away by hiding my love. However, the ‘power’ I regained was corrupted and untrue because it was based on holding the world to ransom and holding my love back even more. Sounds crazy. We are hurt so we hold our love back then we hold our love back even more – which can only hurt us.
Maybe it comes down to trying to regain some semblance of control in some sinister form. If I hurt myself before the world does then at least I will not be a victim of it, but of my own self-made harm. That is the illusion I bought into, because I chose to be a victim the moment I chose to hide my love and blame the world for not letting me be the love that I am.
I feel that what I just shared is quite common amongst us, but especially amongst men. Boys are taught to be tough and told that being strong is about not feeling… and definitely not crying. It is drummed into us that feeling is something only girls do and that it is a sign of weakness. Male and female may have different body parts but the heart is always the same. Telling boys not to feel is like telling water not to be wet. If the things we feel and the level we feel them at are equal at birth, the education we receive in shutting down our feelings is a form of protection that keeps us imprisoned within, but also separate to ourselves. I remember feeling when I was a boy that I had to change myself in order to be noticed or to have a friend, and that compounded the emotion that it was almost not worth existing in my skin – basically I was already giving up.
That little girl wasn’t afraid and didn’t hold back her huge love; what she sparked in me with an open hearted innocence was the beauty that is universally found in us all. I have realised since that I have that beauty too, and not only is it worth being in my skin, but I am also worth celebrating just for being me.
When we come to know a truth, we can never un-know it. Sure we can deny it, bury it and try to forget that we ever felt it, but where is that getting us? It’s making life about coping through it with whatever gets us through the day, be it a thought, belief, activity or something we consume that will stimulate and numb our natural sensitivity.
Even if we do deny it, love has the patience of time. It might send out reminders now and again, but it is forever without expectation. It knows that we will come back to it one day, when we give ourselves the permission to feel and to allow ourselves to be the love that we already are and have always been.