You are worth loving. You have gift, talents, and abilities that make you unlike anyone else. You are unique and are made for greatness.
Dejected and frustrated I sat in the driveway sitting there with the car running wondering how I got to this point. I had gotten off of work but couldn’t go inside. Just sitting with the engine on and tears running down my face. For me, when I stop, all of the bad decisions and failures I have made come rushing to the front of my mind.
Maybe if I sit it will all go away like waking from a bad dream, I thought. It is in the silence in life where my self-hatred gets the loudest. In the silence of life, I beat myself up for failures and inadequacies. I avoided silence for years because my hate and contempt for who I was got so loud that I couldn’t allow the healing that accompanies stillness.
Busy is how I made my life so I couldn’t face myself in solitude. Margin was squeezed out and I was burning out. I was happy to oblige this microwave culture pouring myself into anything I could get my hands on. Trying to earn love from others and more importantly from myself.
We cannot possibly love to the depths of our being when we are trying to earn love. The attempt of trying to earn love is a foolish mara-go-round with no winner. Only losers, and I had been the loser for far too long. To love, we must feel and experience love for ourselves so that we can truly love others. Only a full cup has anything to pour into others.
These four things help us to feel love so we can love well.
1. Community. We are hard-wired for community, but when we are struggling with self-hatred, one of the first things we do is seek isolation. Solitude is great but isolation is terrible. Isolation is shielding others away while solitude is a discipline that is healthy. To feel love into the depths of our being, we must allow some people into all aspects of our lives even things that we are embarrassed of.
Communing with a trusted group of people that show you love help you to love well.
2. Forgive yourself. Forgiving ourselves for past mistakes, missteps, and overall bad choices is necessary to loving others well. We can’t love others when we hate ourselves, yet we hold onto things beating ourselves up with hindsight 20/20 vision. I’m sure you have screwed up like I have. We are human and imperfect, the mistakes you have made are in the past. Learn from them and move on.
Forgiving yourself can be the hardest thing to do but you cannot possible love well while you are beating yourself up.
3. Replace thoughts. Our minds say some outrageous things. We assume at times that because we are thinking it that it is accurate. But, to be honest, your mind and mine is a liar. Choose what you tell yourself and replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Don’t try to lie to yourself by saying things you don’t believe but begin to view them differently. Our inadequacies are not the problem it is how we view our inadequacies where the problem resides.
Replacing negative thoughts with empowering ones will help you to show and receive greater love.
4. Forgive others. We have all been wounded in our lives a lot of the time by people that are close to us. When we hold onto things in our past we stunt our ability to love in the present. We allow the wounds from the past to hurt us in the present. The only way to be fully authentically loving is to let go of the past.
Forgiveness will set you free to love well.
As I began to live out these four principles, I began to feel love from others. Just as importantly, I began to love others with a deepness I have never known. It was as if this whole time the world was grey and now it is full of vibrant color. Healing does not happen overnight, but with time real progress will happen.
Digging up and dealing with the past both good and bad can be painful but the price is so worth it. You are worth loving. You have gift, talents, and abilities that make you unlike anyone else. You are unique and are made for greatness. You are made to be loved and to love well.
Do you love well?
Photo: Flickr/ Andreas Klodt