Love to Be Loved

“You have to keep on breaking your heart until it opens” ~ Rumi

My wondering soul was seeking the meaning of life and of love. In 2012 I was given a book on Rumi and it changed my life. From the first moment I felt as if I had finally connected with a soul that understood my pain, my yearning for love, and my quest for the answers of the universe.  Jalil ad-Din Rumi was a 13th Century Persian poet and Sufi Mystic. His mystical poetry has a universal appeal and he is one off the most celebrated poets today.

The fact that I was born 692 years after he stopped wandering the earth is not of significance. His philosophies on the value of kindness and charity, on tolerance of all religious beliefs, his belief in reincarnation and the evolution of the soul and most importantly the way he advocated the importance of love changed me on all levels.

His poetry made my life journey harder as his questions pushed me deeper into the unexplored parts of my knowing. With the answers come clarity and a lightness that has made the path smoother and replaced the guilt around the misconceptions with acceptance. His poetry confirms that the quest for the answers to the meaning of life and love is eternal, and the path is to keep on pursuing it and accepting that it as individual seeking and personal experience of the divine.

Statue of Jalil ad-Din Rumi - 13th Century Persian poet

My quest for love and understanding what love is has been an important part of my seeking. I have read as much as I could, listen to opinions, and I believe to find and appreciate love you first need to understand who you are and what your love needs is. You need to know what you understand love to be and immerse yourself fully into this self-love relationship.

I have broken my heart a few times. I had no idea what I needed or wanted from a love relationship and I constantly focused on not feeling loved. And I was focusing on the other person’s flaws and finding the fault in them. This made me very unhappy and took me deeper and deeper into a space of self-judgment and depression. I didn’t like myself much and the concept of self-love felt like a sin. I believed putting someone else’s feelings and needs ahead of my own made me a good person. I kept on attracting people into my life who took advantage of me and saw this kindness as weakness.

The journey back to me has been a challenging one. When the last relationship ended I felt as if I had disappeared and I had lost me. A kind friend at my lowest point asked me “are you happy with who you are?”

I was shocked and shook my head. I didn’t like myself and who I had become. And I most certainly did not love myself. In that moment I suddenly realized that it was entirely my fault.

Karin Laing - L'Gharix Temple Retreat

I had made a series of poor choices that I was not proud of, and defied who I was in my heart. In that instant I was overwhelmed by more tears, and I allowed myself to really cry. I was in a dark place of shame, regret, self-hate and self judgement. I cried for the pain I had caused and for the lives that changed because of my choices. But mostly I cried for me I had lost and the person I had not allowed myself to become.

I didn’t realize it at that time but that question was the catalyst I needed to change everything. In that moment I made some choices.

  1. I would learn what would make me happy.
  2. I would learn about love. Why did love make me feel sad?
  3. I would start living to my full potential.
  4. I would create a life I could be proud of.
  5. I would find my answers and share them.
  6. I would start living my truth.
Living life to the fullest - woman standing in field at sunset

My first step in my journey back to me was to learn to love myself. These are seven of the things I have learnt …

Self-love is …

  1. Investing in yourself. Taking time in the morning or evening to read, or watch positive material that improves your life. Journal what you are learning and what you are feeling.
  2. Taking care of your body by sleeping enough, eating well, laughing more and exercising.
  3. Setting boundaries, and choosing yourself – learn to say no if that is what’s best for you.
  4. Stopping judging yourself. And accepting yourself as a whole person. Letting go of the past.
  5. Finding out what you enjoy and making time for your passions.
  6. Having a dream, a goal or a vision and believing that you can make it happen.
  7. Trusting your path and becoming a co-creator of your future.
Learning self-love - woman silhouette standing at sunset with heart

Self–love is a process and you learn more about yourself as you move forward. Trust yourself and allow your learning path to unfold with love and you will know what makes you happy.

If you are in a relationship and you start showing yourself self-love and respect the dynamics might change as you become clear on what your needs are.

The universe has given us the gift of this moment where we can love, and understand the different languages of love, by learning to love ourselves and understand what our needs are. We also have the chance to show the ones closest to us that we understand what their language of love is.

I present a “Love to be Loved” retreat in a one-day workshop and also as a two-day couples retreat at L’Gharix Temple Retreat in Xaghra in Gozo.

Love to Be Loved workshop - couples retreat at L'Gharix Temple Retreat Gozo