"I am willing to be willing to love myself.
I am willing to love myself.
I do love myself."
Good afternoon, my friends. It's a cold and gray day here in Brooklyn, but I guess I shouldn't complain because I don't have to go out until Tuesday, and believe me, I plan to stick with it. Too slippery out there to make any unnecessary trips. They say the next snowfall should be on Tuesday. Isn't that just great? Just as last week, the snow doesn't fall when I can stay home; no, it waits until my day to return to work...and I really can't afford any more sick days right now. I do have about 9 days, but I always like to have more than that on hand for emergencies...and I have been taking off a lot lately to regroup...a little over two weeks of sick time plus vacation days within the past two months...so you know there's been a lot going on with me.
But, that's not what planned to write about today. This morning I went through everything and read all of your blogs, and I saw there was a lot of talk about love. (Before I forget, Ryan, I loved your blog today and wanted to comment, but for the life of me, didn't know how. Your blog is different. Hope you read this blog today so you get this message.) Ah, where was I? Oh, yes, love...lots of talk about love on the blogs. But what is love? And how do you find it? That's not an easy question to answer, but what I have learned is that one cannot love another until they learn to love themselves. And unfortunately, for many this authentic self-love is often times lacking. Some do not even know what it is, that it even exists. They have been so conditioned to give of themselves to others, that they have never taken the time to look within. Self-love is not selfish nor egotistical; it is that inner environment we create for ourselves in which we can become our better people. Self-love is caring for oneself. It is not turning our backs on others; rather, it is creating a better place for ourselves and others.
One of the main factors that separate us from the animal kingdom is an awareness of the self, an ability to form an identity and attach value to it. Each of us has been gifted with the capability of defining who we are; yet many of us in defining who we are have learned to reject parts of ourselves; and this act of judging and rejecting, in turn, causes us such immense pain. As a counselor, I see this every day in my clients...and I, myself, at one time, rejected so much of myself that I ended us "searching for love in all the wrong places" and from all the wrong men...one dysfunctional relationship after another. I just didn't have the ability to see that, until I learned that happiness comes within, that until learned to accept and love my qualities--both the negative and the positive--I would forever be looking for someone or something to provide me with the happiness that EACH of us rightfully deserves.
Although it was an incredibly painful period of my life, my lessons came during and after my divorce from my emotionally abusive husband 19 years ago. I went into counseling myself at this time, and my therapist helped me to see that it was time to stop blaming all of my emotional pain on others...although they did have a hand in it, I was the one who was drawing all of these dysfunctional men into my life. We bring into our lives that which we give out, and the fact was, that I had lived so long with such self-condemnation of myself, that not only did I not even like myself, but I had become unlovable to others, also. Working through this rejection of myself was a difficult process; it just didn't seem right that I should think of loving myself. After all, who was I? I was no one special. I'd heard so much criticism during my early life and teen-age years that I had come to believe it...a self-fulfilling prophesy. But, my therapist made me see that that was so untrue. Much like those children who end up following their parents' career goals for themselves and spend a life of unhappiness until they finally wake up, I was only following my mother's predictions...and they had all been based on her hatred for my dad's family. Once I was able to admit that I had allowed someone else's thoughts and feelings to take over my life, I was on the path to healing. The shame is that it took me so many years of unhappiness and pain to find the answer.
Having the courage to open up to loving myself opened up my eyes to a love that had always beeen available to me, but had been brushed aside because I felt unlovable. Having the courage to overcome our discomfort and do it anyway works miracles in our lives. Take a moment every day, everly morning as you are getting ready to go to work or start your day and say, "I will be a good friend to you, _________ today. I love you." Repeat again in the evening. And, when Valentine's Day rolls around tomorrow, love yourself. Pamper yourself. Be happy that you are that special, unique individual that is you.
And, wow, have I rattled on today.