Dubai: Extravagant, Over the Top, Expensive, Luxurious, High Maintenance, Selective… almost too much, but not. I always say that travel brings my innermost thoughts to the surface. As I prepared to wrap up my trip to Dubai, I reflected over my time there. I shopped, visited with friends, tried some “extreme” water sports, and soaked in the pure elegance that is Dubai.
In between packing, I scrolled through Instagram (I’m lying, there was more Instagramming than packing going on, but I digress…) I ran across something that struck me to my core:
Perhaps you haven’t found unconditional love, because you don’t love yourself unconditionally.
I kept scrolling, but the words reverberated with my soul. I’d met up with a friend of 20+ years here in Dubai. We know each other so well, we can predict the other’s reaction to almost any circumstance. Throughout our time together, he made several comments (some on the sarcastic side), about my behavior. One that stuck with me was a comment in reference to sex. He said, “I didn’t plan on having sex with you. Trust me, I know better than to expect that.” We laughed, and carried on with our time together.He wined and dined me as he usually does, and we departed ways.
As I thought back to the quote, I realized two things:
- There are people that love me unconditionally.
- I had put conditions on my love for myself.
I’d let others convince me that my light needed to be dimmed, and I needed to remain in the shadows, so as not to offend. I never wanted to come across as a braggart, so in life conversations, I found myself always keeping things surface level and “appropriate.” People would ask me how my week was, and I’d respond that it was fine. Others would pipe in, “Yeah, she just got back from Guatemala!” People would ask what I do for a living, and I’d share that I run a travel company. Over-hearers would add, “Yes, she travels all over the world!”
For so long, I’d lived with the false belief that I was too much. I should tone things down. Never make people feel uncomfortable or inadequate. Don’t ask for things, and don’t accept things people offer you – makes you a gold digger. Don’t tell the world the amazing things you have going on, looks like bragging. I could go on and on, but somewhere in the monotony of life, I’d internalized the belief that I was too much.
I have another friend in Dubai who offered to let me stay at her place. When I asked her what area of town, she informed me that she lived downtown in the Burj Khalifa Residences. Wait… did she just say she lives IN the Burj Khalifa? Couldn’t be. I googled the Residences… sure enough, in the Burj Khalifa. The Tallest Building in the World. The thing people go to Dubai to see. I can’t think of a more extravagant place to live, yet here I would be staying.
Arriving to my friend’s place was just as over the top as I imagined it would be. You don’t just walk in to a place like that. After the bellman escorted me to the room, she opened the door to some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in my life. Extravagant, Over the Top, Expensive, Luxurious, High Maintenance, Selective… almost too much, but not.
Throughout the trip, I kicked myself for passing up on the opportunity to come here in 2010. God quickly reminded me that if I’d come in 2010, the experience would have been totally different. There was a message that He had for me in Dubai that I wasn’t ready to receive in 2010.
That message was, “My daughter, you are not too much. You’ve never been too much. Yes, you are extravagant and over the top. Yes, you have an eye for the expensive and luxurious. Yes, you are high maintenance and highly selective. You’ve always been this way. This is how I made you. I lined up people many years ago that love you and accept you as you are. Now, I need you to accept you. I need you to let your sisters know this too. They need to know that they are not too much. They should never dim their light, and never should you. I need them to see that I can turn even the darkest situation into light. I need them to know that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Tell them that they are equipped and capable. Remind them that they are loved unconditionally, so they should remember to love themselves the same. Tell them that they are more than enough, but never too much.”
Sis, you are not too much.