Today, I would like to share with you one of my favourite quotes from Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet and mystic. He said, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." What a statement! These wise words remind us that true love, whether it's romantic, platonic, or self-love, can only be found when we're willing to look at the barriers within ourselves that prevent us from experiencing it. By identifying and removing these barriers, we can open ourselves up to love and improve our mental wellbeing.
One of the primary barriers that prevent us from experiencing love is fear. Fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability, and fear of loss can all prevent us from opening our hearts to others and to ourselves. According to a recent study by Shapira and Mongrain (2021), fear of rejection can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can trigger depressive and anxiety symptoms. By recognising and confronting these fears, we can start to let go of them and open ourselves up to love.
Another obstacle that hinders our ability to experience love is self-doubt. When we doubt ourselves and our worth, we may find it challenging to accept love and affection from others. However, a study by Marshall and colleagues (2015) found that self-compassion can protect against the negative effects of low self-esteem, which is often linked to feelings of rejection and loneliness. By developing self-compassion, we may be better able to cope with the negative emotions associated with potential rejection and become more receptive to love.
Rumi's quote also highlights the significance of self-love. By loving ourselves, we can cultivate a positive and healthy relationship with ourselves. This can help us to develop a sense of inner peace and happiness, which in turn can make us more open to love and connection with others. A study by Raes and colleagues (2011) showed that self-compassion is positively associated with mental wellbeing and emotional resilience.
It's essential to note that breaking down the barriers within ourselves is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing journey. We must remain vigilant and aware of the barriers that arise and work to remove them as they come up. This can be accomplished through various methods such as therapy, self-reflection, mindfulness practices, and other personal development techniques.
In conclusion, Rumi's quote "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it" is a powerful reminder that true love can only be found when we're willing to look at the barriers within ourselves that prevent us from experiencing it. By recognising and confronting our fears, building self-confidence and self-acceptance, and focusing on self-love, we can start to remove these barriers and open ourselves up to love and connection with others. This can lead to increased mental wellbeing, inner peace, and happiness.
If you're interested in taking the first step towards removing the barriers that prevent you from experiencing love, book a session with me today!
Marshall, S. L., Parker, P. D., Ciarrochi, J., Sahdra, B., Jackson, C. J., & Heaven, P. C. (2015). Reprint of" Self-compassion protects against the negative effects of low self-esteem: A longitudinal study in a large adolescent sample". Personality and individual differences, 81, 201-206.
Raes, F., Pommier, E., Neff, K. D., & Van Gucht, D. (2011). Construction and factorial validation of a short form of the self‐compassion scale. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy, 18, 250-255.