Courage is a greater virtue than love. At best, it takes courage to love.
- Paul Tillich
From my earliest memories, I have known that my reason for living this life is to know Love. It became my deepest longing. I entered into many intimate and romantic relationships believing I was learning love. Now, as I look back on these forays, some of which were truly courageous albeit not always wise, I realize that what I wanted, what I most desired I had not obtained. I became aware that I was so fearful of losing what I thought was the "one", my true love, that I had changed my self to try to be what my loves wanted me to be. It wasn't until I had the courage to truly Love myself did I become conscious of the Love I was searching for. When I had the courage to go inward and embrace my self - both the illumined and the shadow sides of who I was - could I begin to know that which I was seeking. For many, I believe, this is not a new understanding. Yet it takes great courage and trust to genuinely, sincerely look at who we think we and contrast that with the face we present to the world. In short, really, who are we kidding? In essence, it takes courage to love ourselves as ourselves. Only then can we have the courage to love another. Only then can we have a relationship that is not fearful of loss. Fearful not just of loss of another's love, but loss of who we are.