By Katie Marshall

You have been given certain things in this life.  Opportunities to make your life amazing, magical moments that came without explanation, only understood in retrospect. Beautiful people and frustrating people and times without anyone around at all. Even the lonely moments were gifts in their own right. Every particle of who you are and what you experience was given to you.

However, you do not owe the universe, or anyone else that you believe in for these things, these gifts. They were given to you intentionally and made specifically for you to have without an invoice. There is no debt to settle for a sunrise or sunset that you experience. It is there for you to have. A gift.

And so it is with love between human beings.

Receiving love from someone else, whether that love comes in the form of help, a great conversation, physical connection, or otherwise, is the same as receiving a gift because that love was given freely to you, intentionally, and made specifically for you to have.

There is something inside of you that may make you feel as though you are in some kind of debt or that you owe someone who took care of you in one way or another. There is certain respect given to those that help us, especially in our times of great need, absolutely. But what if that other feeling – the one beyond the connection to that person or wanting to pass that kindness on to others – the grimy, grungy, guilt of knowing you’ll never really be able to repay that person in an equal amount to how they helped you – was a false feeling more deserving of the trash can than a place in your mind?

If you feel guilty for receiving love from someone else, it is because something in you believes that you are not worthy of that love, and that the only way you will be able to live up to being worthy of that gift is if you compensate with some kind of repayment to equal the scales. This is the kind of fear that keeps you from being vulnerable with others or from taking a compliment.

What could happen if you allowed yourself to believe you were worthy of the love of others?

The point of love is not to mark a tally in a column of how many things you will have to pay back later. The point is to celebrate it, and to pass it on. It does not serve anyone to feel guilty for receiving love that someone else chose to give you. Inversely, expecting certain behaviors from someone after giving love to them negates the intended purpose that the love began with.  Love is given voluntarily. It is a choice. It is a gift given with intention and made specifically for you.

You do not owe anyone anything for the love you receive.

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