Learning to love… to REALLY love… has probably been one of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn. It is a lesson I am still learning. Everyday. Every-single-day.
Now, if you know me, you might think that statement is ludicrous because I’ve always been loving, giving and caring to a fault, sometimes. It’s always been in my nature to give people 200% of me while bending over backwards on one tiptoe and balancing the world on one shoulder. Ha! But, what I didn’t always share was the hurt I harbored when those same sentiments weren’t returned or reciprocated in the way I longed for. People didn’t love the way I loved, I thought. And, there were plenty of times I felt neglected, resentful, and hurt. You see, I was doing it all wrong. And, THAT is why love has been such a challenge for me. I thought that if I gave my heart away, and always went above and beyond to please people, if I was the “yes” girl, the one who always found a way to accommodate you… and you… and you… then I would be loved in return. Surely, that would fill my empty love tank. But, it didn’t. And, I was still past E on my tank of love. Empty. Hurt. Lonely. Resentful. Broken. Wallowing in self-pity. WHY WON’T THEY LOVE ME THE WAY I LOVE THEM?
Well kids**, the simple answer [which took me YEARS to learn] was because I did not love myself. How foolish of me to think that I could fill up my love tank with the love of others without loving myself first. How could anyone possibly love me the way I needed to be loved if I didn’t love myself that way? How could they know what kind of love I needed if I didn’t show them how to love me, by loving myself that way first? I have a feeling I’m not alone here. For whatever reason, there are many of us who suffer heartache and pain, and it generally stems from our not-so-perfect family and home life. The problem arises when we carry this hurt and burden with us everywhere we go, and we bring it along to each relationship we have – be it friendship, romantic, etc. And, we allow this hurt to consume the relationship and sabotage it without even realizing it. And when it ends, we are MORE hurt and throw that pile of new hurt onto our old hurt, and we continue this vicious cycle of self-inflicted pain [although we assume the other person is the reason for the hurt they just happened to be around for].
We continue to add so much weight to our already heavy load until we become buried in our pain, and after being buried so deeply, we begin to suffocate. We cannot dig ourselves out of the grave of pain we have created for ourselves, and we are so consumed by it that we don’t recognize that WE created the mess. We blame everyone who has crossed our paths because there has not been one person who has not hurt us, and so everyone else is to blame. And with that thinking, we miss the whole picture – the SIMPLE picture. WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR OWN LOVE AND HAPPINESS. If we had learned early on that anyone who hurt us only did so because they were hurting and lacked self-love then we would have never gone on this grueling journey of not loving ourselves and therefore, not attracting love into our lives. But, we didn’t. We thought that the pain others placed onto us was because we were not worthy of love. And so, we did not love ourselves. And no one else loved us either because… they did not have to and/or they didn’t know how to.
The bottom line here is: Love yourself first. And, don’t expect it to happen overnight. This is a process of allowing yourself to feel every pain, experience yourself in different situations without others, understand your heart, learn what you enjoy and what you dislike and don’t allow others to make you feel inferior for whatever you discover to be your truth. Your truth is your truth and no one else’s. You don’t owe anyone your JOY. You have a responsibility to contribute your best self to the world, but to do that will never mean being robbed of your JOY, your VALUES, your SELF-LOVE. In fact, you cannot contribute your best self to the world UNTIL you’ve found and experienced joy, until you’ve defined and are rooted in your values, and until you have completely learned to love your self.
And so it is. Let’s heal the world by healing ourselves first, loving ourselves and then sharing that secret with others who need to hear it.
** It’s a figure of speech. This is for anyone aged 0***-100
*** I realize writing 0 is ridiculous. Humor me.