When abuse of any kind has been in one’s life, it’s sometimes easier to give love than it is to accept it. As I’ve written previously, I have struggled with opening up to others because I’m afraid they will reject me.
That said, I’ve always been very sensitive to others’ moods and emotions. I’ve tended to see my ability to empathize as a weakness or a burden, because it means I often internalized other people’s feelings and problems.
But in the midst of my struggle, I’ve learned to use my empathy as a strength; to be a light for someone, especially in their darkest hour, is a very powerful and beautiful thing.
There was one little girl I was friends with online. While I was a big sister to many kids and teens in many other settings, she held a very special place in my heart. An ocean separated us, and yet it sometimes felt like I was right there with her, supporting her and keeping her safe. She, in turn, had an adult who actively cared for her, helping her to see a little better that she was someone worthy of love and a better life. She saw that she can trust people to love her.
I’ve been a friend for so many others, online and off, who have suffered as I have. I’ve talked some out of suicide and self-harm, encouraging them to seek help and not to give up. I listen to them as patiently and as kindly as I can. When I share my personal journey, I offer them that very important message: “You’re not alone. You don’t have to keep it a secret if you don’t want to; someone cares.”
In smaller instances, there have been others who have just opened up to me about deeper things they don’t openly share, feeling that they can trust me to listen and care (and I do). I’ve been told many times by many people that I made their day just by smiling, and speaking kindly to them.
Giving love brings me out of my own heartache and into a better, kinder place. I live for that, the chance to give something good to others when there’s so much bad in this world. Each time, each act of love I can give, in turn gives something to my heart, turning night to day, filling in some of the cracks there with love itself.
It’s important to learn to open myself up to love, and it’s just as important to learn how to best give love to others. The path behind us may be dark, but the path in front of us becomes that much clearer, our future that much brighter, when we bring love to our present. Don’t be afraid to be a light. Don’t be afraid to love.
- When I Need A Shoulder To Cry On, He’s There - August 13, 2018
- I’ve Been Badly Hurt. How Do I Open My Heart To Love? - May 21, 2018
- The One Thing You Can Say to Help Someone Who is Hurting - April 30, 2018