Loving What You Have and Having…

by Patia Braithwaite

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I recently had dinner with my dad and brother. We met in Downtown Brooklyn, before my beloved Braithwaite men continued went to see the Brooklyn Nets get thrashed by The Miami Heat at the Barclays Center. Now, before you ask why they didn’t include me in their basketball festivities, I purchased the tickets for them and I couldn’t afford another ticket for myself (I could barely afford the tickets I got). And so, I thought it would be nice to meet them before the game and spend some quality time.

As I found a restaurant and made reservations (it was up to me because my brother thinks restaurants only exist in Manhattan), I found myself unusually excited to spend time with these guys. If I really think about it, I hadn’t hung out with the two of them alone for over a decade. I see my brother fairly often and I see my dad as well. We do family things with my mom and sister-in-law pretty regularly, but I don’t often get the opportunity to have quality time with just the Braithwaite men. I honestly can’t remember the three of us having a meal together since I was in middle school and was forced to accompany my dad to my brother’s weekly soccer matches.

So, for me, this was kind of a big deal. Typically, when dealing with the men in my family I find myself trying to act like them – stoic, deep-voiced, reserved, and unphased. To exist any other way in my family, is to be dubbed “sensitive.” Lately though it seems I’ll take any excuse to be excited about something. So, this time, instead of pretending that it wasn’t a big deal, I threw myself into my excitement and pretended it was a big date. I put on contacts and make up. I told ALL my friends how excited I was for my big night out with the Braithwaite boys, and I even fussed over my outfit.

I let myself embrace my excitement. I didn’t tell them that, but that’s what happened.

Why did I do this? Because, until further notice, my brother and father are the men in my life, and it is important to celebrate and cherish the love I have while I await the love I desire. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the tendency to fixate on small flaws instead of celebrating positives. This excitement to have dinner with my family seemed in line with my pledge to celebrate instead of fixate…

There is ALWAYS going to be something we don’t have. There will always be “that one thing” that could make our lives better. The trick is, however, to love the life we have as we prepare for the life we want.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we can get too caught up in the love we don’t have. If we’re single, we want a steady boo. If we’re dating someone, we want to be engaged. If we’re engaged, we want to be married. If we’re married, we’re tryna get pregnant. We can spend our entire lives missing the love we have while lamenting over the love we want to arrive. When we do that too often, cheat ourselves out of the beauty that exists in the present.

Make no mistake, the love we seek is already here. There is love EVERYWHERE. If I don’t have a boyfriend, I can celebrate the love from my family. If my family isn’t as loving as I’d like, I can embrace the love I have from my friends. If my friends and I are on the outs, I can embrace the love I find in art, in books, in motivational speakers. As long as I can be moved, I can love. As long as I can love….I am grateful. To be honest, I am overwhelmingly thankful for the love that you all send in your comments and Facebook messages. It makes blogging about my entire life less weird. lol

My point is that love comes in all different sizes and guises. When we open our eyes and hearts to the love that exists in our lives, IN THIS VERY MOMENT, we paint ourselves in shades that can attract more of it. Our hearts long to expand, our love yearns to touch as many as it possible. I firmly believe that God lives inside love. The human heart is the dominion of the divine.

So today, I am making this ENTIRE month about celebrating the love I have in my life. Yes, it is natural to grieve love that is gone, but when you turn around and embrace the love that’s all around you, I promise, it facilitates healing and joy.

How can you embrace and grow your love today?

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