Holley Hyler is an IT consultant and published freelance writer living in New York.
A Lesson in Self-Love
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle is a powerful memoir. What makes it so powerful? For me, that would be Doyle's honesty and vulnerability. We can learn valuable lessons by reading another's story. Love Warrior was a beautifully written, honest lesson in self-love, on showing up for yourself first and fully so that you can be received by others in a similar sense. My story and Doyle's are very different, as I am sure yours will be, but no matter what your background is, you will take something away from this book. It could be something that helps you put into words and convey your own truth. And what happens when you can articulate this truth to others?
Magic. Or, at the very least, that is what I call it when you are in such a state of self-love and alignment that you become magnetic to all other types of love. Things fall into place, as if by magic. Doyle uses her personal example of how getting into alignment with herself transformed her relationship with her husband.
Some of the topics that are presented in Doyle's memoir are:
- self-love and what that looked like for the author
- eating disorders and body image
- alcoholism and addictions
- and an even deeper, spiritual explanation of all the above
Read on for highlights of my favorite parts and a link to buy the book.
The Representative vs. The Authentic Self
One of the things I love most about Doyle's writing is that she puts into words very complex and difficult feelings, ones that are difficult to talk about so openly and honestly. A lot of people feel these things, but not many are willing to talk about them. And this in itself is one of the ideas she touches upon in her writing - how we send our representatives, and not our real selves, out into the world to converse with people. We send our representatives forth when we are not okay at all but just really need to make something work. An everyday example could be the cashier at the supermarket saying, "Hello, how are you?" in a rote manner, because this is how they've been trained - to have the same conversation with every single person who comes through their line. No matter what. Our representative is not our authentic self. It is just a hologram of us that goes through the motions.
As described in the beginning of the book, to be "big" in the world, to take up too much space, is to be real: a real, passionate, feeling, messy human that is not always capable of sending forth their representative. One of the things Doyle said earlier in the story, that I related to, was, "My love is so overwhelming and terrifying and uncomfortable and complicated that I need to hide from it. Life and love simply ask too much of me. Everything hurts. I don't know how people can just let it all hurt so much."
We do what we must to deal with this being "too big," with hurting so much. With seeing and feeling so much. We do what we can to numb all that hurt so that we can send our representatives out and seem normal. And this is part of a much bigger problem in the world - loneliness. Loneliness that stems from not being seen, and from self-abandonment.
Constantly Yearning for Reunion
Another of my favorite points that Doyle makes is that we are all humans just longing for spiritual reunion. Maybe we express this longing in a variety of ways - through sex/porn addictions, alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, and the list goes on. "We are all desperate for reunion and we are trying to find it in all the wrong places," Doyle writes. "We use bodies and drugs and food to try to end our loneliness, because we don't understand that we're lonely down here because we are supposed to be lonely. Because we're in pieces. To be human is to be incomplete and constantly yearning for reunion."
Reunion with what, one may ask? Maybe with God, or Source, or Heaven, or whatever perfect ending you might imagine when a loved one passes. We've often heard, "They're in a better place now." We imagine it is a place where they feel whole in a way that they couldn't when they were inhabiting a human form. (At least, I imagine that.)
This way of thinking about our flaws as a longing for reunion is compassionate and full of forgiveness. This way of thinking about it helped me in considering and dealing with some of my own hang-ups. Sure, maybe we do not all exactly know what or who we are trying to reunite with, but there is always some higher intention hidden behind something dark, like an addiction to alcohol or porn. We always want to be closer to God, or at least to bliss (which one can equate with God) - free of our worries and over thinking, free of pain.
A Story for Everyone
This memoir is ultimately about Doyle's marriage and what she went through before and after her husband's infidelity, but it offers up a lot of thought-provoking commentary on the different issues pointed out at the beginning of this article. Even if you aren't married and do not have children (like me), you can take a lot away from this story. I was first intrigued by the title of the book, which is explained toward the end of the story, and the first few pages had me hooked. The very first sentence is, "I was loved. If love could prevent pain, I'd never have suffered." Honestly, I bought the book because I related so much to that first line.
If you have read the book or feel drawn to it, feel free to share in the comments below! Thanks for checking out my review.
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© 2018 Holley Hyler