The Greatest Gift to Others is to Love Ourselves

“I realized I couldn’t love him that way he was because I couldn’t love myself the way I was.”

{Insert mic drop}

I literally stopped in my tracks when she said it.

A million times I’ve said and heard “you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself” but there was something in her voice when she said it that sent a reverberation of truth through my heart. It was beautiful and so true.

All too often, and I’ve been guilty of this myself. I try to get someone I love to be who I want them to be, and in doing so, give them the message that who/how they are being who they are, isn’t right or good enough. I know it’s not our intention. I know we don’t think it’s what we’re doing, but please, make no mistake, we are.

Our desire is to experience ourselves as lovable enough that we can feel loved in the ways we want to feel it. Too often expect others to fulfill this for us. We all have our love language and we expect others to know it and follow it. I am an act of kindness person – my love language is acts of kindness. I love it when people help me out without me having to ask for help, or do thoughtful things for me for no specific reason. I am an intellectual brain person (yellow in the Ritberger Personality world) so I like to be listened to and considered thoroughly when I have an opinion on things. And believe me, I have an opinion on most things. It has taken me years of practice (as in I’m still working on it) to be constructively aware of my wants and my tendencies and how they play nicely, or not, with others.

What I had to learn, and what I will encourage us all to learn and practice, is that because we are each unique, we may not always get our needs met by others around us. And in reality, it’s nobody’s job but our own. I’m talking about the people who love us dearly but just can’t get it right by our standards. This is where we come in.

After my divorce years ago, I realized the biggest issue in my marriage was not the quality of our communication, differences on money, or lifestyle choices, it was that I constantly felt bad and so did he. I believe neither of us felt like we were enough because, well, neither of us felt like we were enough. My own perception of myself was lacking. I didn’t love me, so I couldn’t truly love him. I wasn’t loving my true self, so I couldn’t respect and encourage what may have been his true self. My client was stepping to the other side of the same reality. She couldn’t love her ex-husband, because she didn’t truly love herself. Accordingly, we never felt fulfilled in our relationships because we were wanting someone else to provide something we needed to provide for ourselves.

Relationships are our mirror in life. How we see others is often our own blind spot. We can see others as generous and kind, but often can’t see our own generosity or kindness as anything of importance. Similarly, we accuse others of not listening. Because, perhaps they’re not doing what we want, which we assume is them not listening or understanding instead of realizing they can hear us and still not agree. Even though they try to give of themselves, they’re not doing it the way we would do it, it results in us not recognizing their love.

When we don’t love ourselves, we also don’t live ourselves. We don’t walk our talk, we don’t bring the light of who we are to the world. We say things like “I don’t know,” when really, we do know, we’re just afraid to ask. We work to keep up to the Jones’ instead of identifying what is most important to us in our lives, and keeping our eyes on that. We dishonor our true selves when we don’t love ourselves. In doing so, we deny those around us, our best selves. They get the leftovers.

There will be struggles in relationships, that’s just normal. When we combine life with others on a regular basis, there will be times we disagree, feelings will get hurt, toes will get stepped on, and this is life. But, when we truly love and accept who we are, we can love one another through it. Then a moment becomes a moment and we move on. Self love makes us aware, resilient, and honestly, willing to call poor treatment when we see it. When we love ourselves we can love others in harmony next to us. Self love doesn’t say me, before you. True self love says, yes me, and you. We have true equality.

Take your own inventory. Where are you expecting of others in areas your Spirit is asking you to provide for yourself?

Self love gives to oneself so that we can give to others.

Blessings galore, Anne

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