To completely understand our needs, wants and desires takes a deep, innate knowledge of who we truly are. Not only do we need a deeper understanding, but we must also come out on the other side, loving and caring for ourselves like we would a loved one.
It is universal. We need love and support while at the same time needing to love others. Maybe one person’s weaker spot is exposed. Treat them and their mistakes, limitations, rages and meltdowns with compassion and tenderness. We are all sometimes afraid to be in the presence of strong feelings when someone is struggling. We often defend or “cope” with the world around us by detaching.
Maybe watching another person’s struggle will give way to our suffering. We help, we give; we support, and we accommodate others. But maybe we need to learn to love ourselves as well with clarity, acceptance, and the knowledge that we are all the same. After all, we each want happiness, peace, and love in our lives. Loving acceptance begins within each of us.
Consider small things at first if it feels awkward to give love to yourself. Curl up with a beautiful book on a soft pillow. Drink your favorite tea at an unexpected hour of the day. Wear a special piece of jewelry on your way to lunch or a fabulous tie to work on a Monday. Spend a weekend in a peaceful, beautiful place and be quiet with your thoughts. Hold someone’s hand or take a four-year-old to breakfast. Give and receive a warm hug, or maybe consider giving service.
The miracle is that love and acceptance are like a lovely wind. It begins to gather motion, spreading across many skies when we love ourselves. It is easier to love others back after loving yourself. If you have a feeling or a need for detachment to regroup, allow yourself to step back lightly. Perhaps, while still holding the other in a kind of consideration. Soften your fears and accept them as well as yourself. We are all the same. So love the one you’re with – learn to love yourself.
Susan Lambert, LCSW