Getting clear on what it means to love…
Sometimes I wonder why it has become so difficult for us to love one another.
When I think about life, and the way we enter this world, all I can think about is love. The act of creation stemming from a state of love. The moment a newborn is held, drenched in a field of love. The reflection from a baby’s eyes, nothing but pure love. Love is our natural state, it is where we come from and what we are made of. Love is the one thing we, as human beings, don’t have to learn to do. Ok, well maybe besides breathing.
So, what happens? Why does something that comes to us as naturally as breathing become one of the most difficult things for most of us to do?
You may be reading this and be thinking that you have no problem loving at all. That you love your children, your family, your friends. Heck, maybe you even love your neighbors and a few of your co-workers. That’s a heck of a lot of people, so loving isn’t an issue for you at all. Right?
Well, you tell me.
Loving the people that we choose to have in our lives can be easy when things are going well. After all, you surround yourself with those whom you have things in common with and people that you feel good around with. When all is aligned, love can flow easily from you and hopefully to you as well. But what happens when things are not going so well? What happens when you disagree or when a loved one disappoints or hurts you? What about when the unimaginable happens or tragedy strikes, are you still in a state of love? Continue reading
Change is easy, right?
I mean, you make the decision that you want to change, need to change, and then you just do it. You take the necessary steps, one right after the other until you reach your goal of change. There is nothing else to it… make the decision, take the steps, enjoy the benefits.
So then, what’s the problem??
Change is probably one of the absolute hardest things for most people to wrap their heads around. As humans, we seek out the comfort and stability of what we know, what we are used to. It makes us feel safe. It makes us feel secure. We prefer comfort and security so much over the unknown and change that most people will remain in the unhappiest of situations for way too long, possibly forever. The unhappiest of situations is somehow less frightening, less overwhelming, than the uncertainty of what’s ahead.
Overall, we would rather be miserable than face the unknown.
When you read this, are you shocked? Or does a part of you secretly relate to what I am saying, knowing on some level that it is true? I imagine you are being reminded of the promises you have made to eat healthy, the exercise routines you committed to in the past, the toxic relationships in your life that eat away at your soul. Some of you have probably been quitting your soul sucking job for years or leaving a loveless marriage for decades, yet you can’t seem to get further than a few Google searches and possibly a couple of conversations with friends. Each and every day, the act of staying where you are drains the life right out of you, your tradeoff for not having to move forward into a life of unknowns.
Abandoned…. Deserted…. Left behind….
These are the terms I hear so many women use to describe how they feel after a divorce or break-up, even from those who were the ones to leave. There is shock around watching their significant other move on with their life in a quick and seemingly painless manner. There are endless thoughts about whether or not they ever really mattered, if they were ever really loved. There is question after question about how someone they believed in so much could simply abandon everything they had.
Abandoned…. Deserted…. Left behind….
When I hear these terms I feel something inside me stir. I have felt these feelings tear through me like a knife, endlessly ripping away at my heart, and wondering how I would ever mend the wounds that were created. These feelings ate away at me in a manner that I couldn’t seem to escape. I obsessed about it to the point of making myself sick, falling to my knees endless nights asking “Why?” “Why?”
The answers never seemed to come, no matter how many times I asked and no matter how hard I tried.
Until one day they did and I understood why there was so much pain.
If you are anything like other women, you have at times been reprimanded for putting your wants and needs first, for setting boundaries, and for not going with the flow of what others wanted you to do. You may have been called selfish, spoiled or even a bitch. I can remember a time when I was called an ice queen and how completely embarrassed I was in that moment. It was with an interaction that changed me and made me question the way I behaved and the person I was.
I married young and at the time had terribly low self-esteem. I hadn’t really found myself yet and remember feeling as though I would probably never be able to find anyone better than my Ex. I would see that there were things I desired, callings of my heart and soul that were not being met in my relationship, but I immediately would feel like I was being ungrateful and selfish. I didn’t feel worthy of the type of man I imagined in my mind, and so I became afraid of losing what I had and did whatever it took to keep it.
As time went on, my desires and requests were looked upon as selfish and unrealistic. I felt guilty about wanting more and terrified to make any sort of demand for it. I would have moments of clarity knowing I was worthy of everything I desired but then would quickly talk myself out of it by reminding myself I needed to be grateful for what I did have. After all, who was I to think that I could have everything I wanted? That was just selfish thinking and it quickly brought me back to memories of being called spoiled as a child.
I kept myself small and worked as hard as I could just to be grateful and stop the ridiculous thoughts about wanting and needing more.
But eventually I couldn’t pretend any longer and that part of me that knew I was worthy got louder and clearer. So I began taking risks to put myself first and made my own wants and needs a priority. It was really hard at first and I doubted myself at every turn. I felt guilty, ashamed, and even pissed a couple of people off. I stuck with it though and eventually learned the difference between being self-centered vs. making myself a priority. I learned that being selfish was actually okay.
What does being selfish mean anyway?
Being selfish really means tending toward self. It means honoring your own path in such a way that it is sacred. From this space, you set boundaries, practice self-care, place your joy and happiness at the top of your list, do not self-sacrifice, and to own your self-worth. When you are selfish, tending toward self, you fill up with so much abundance that you are able to be of service to others in a much greater way. You cannot be of service to others when you come from lack and you are beyond powerful when you come from abundance. Over time I became more and more comfortable with prioritizing me and watched as I became more joyful and full of love than ever before.
I am worthy.
This is a statement that sounds so simple and in a sense, seems so obvious. I am worthy. Of course, I am worthy. This is a basic truth, or is it?
I am beginning to notice that one of the top false beliefs that many women have about themselves is a deep sense of unworthiness. Underneath it all, when the lights go out and there are no distractions, there is an underlying fear that you just aren’t good enough and therefore are unable to truly value your worth. Whether realized or not, this sense of unworthiness plays out in so many places in life. Staying in a relationship where you are not valued or respected, putting everyone else’s needs above your own, not taking the time to practice self-care or over-working in a job that rips apart your soul. There are long restless nights filled with incessant thoughts of everything that you wish you could change, moments you hide away in the bathroom crying because you know you want more, and day after day feeling drained by everything you do for others.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I can tell you that I was there for longer than I like to admit. I basically found myself living a life that didn’t exactly feel good, and for so long I didn’t know why. What was wrong with me? Why was I allowing myself to be disrespected by people who were supposed to love me? Why was I agreeing to jobs and projects that had nothing to do with my passions? Why was I not taking the time for myself I so very much needed? I had those long restless nights, my knees and tears fell to the bathroom floor thousands of times over, and I pretended too many times and with too many people throughout my days. Eventually existing this way became uncomfortable and downright miserable, and I sought to figure out why I was choosing to live this way. Continue reading