It really messed me up in a good way the other day when I heard that some people try to outsource self-love. Desperately. Holding everyone else accountable for loving them, but not holding themselves accountable for self-love. That hit deep.
The more I think about it, the more important I think it is to prioritize taking care of your business. I mean one of the greatest commandments is love your neighbor as you love yourself. The order of the words seems to kinda put the neighbor first. But really, loving yourself is the first action.
If I treat myself like crap, then it’s no wonder that I will not treat others well. If I don’t value myself, how can I really value another? If I put myself down and don’t have patience with myself, how long can I really be patient with another?
Think of it like a gas tank. Even if I give away everything I have to others in the name of love, eventually I’ll run out. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t even know it until I hit empty. I have been recovering ever since.
Cheerful giver. Giving from a place of abundance. Not putting myself in a place of poverty just to lift another up – like I used to do before. Does God give from a place of abundance or a place of lack?
I think in general the problem is learned helplessness. If you were never encouraged or were even actively discouraged from loving yourself, and you had to survive on the crumbs of affection that were given to you by others, or crumbs you had to earn through performance – then is it no wonder that it never even occurs to you that you have the ability to love yourself period – much less when others don’t.
How and where do you start when you’ve never done a thing before? I am learning to start wherever the pain rears up. You get that moment of looking outside of yourself. Upset about someone not being there for you in some way. Or unhappy with yourself. And you start there. Acknowledge the disappointment. But then ask yourself what YOU want to do about it. Keep crying and complaining about it for how long? You can do that. Or you can make changes. Little by little.
I’ve seen people sit and wait for decades. Sitting in rooms, distracting themselves with various forms of mind-numbing entertainment. Stewing in resentment. In my experience, these are some of the ugliest people. So desperate for control that they push everyone away. Ungrateful. And unwilling to do much of anything, especially if it will require long periods of discomfort, to change their situation.
Do you want to be well? Get up and walk.
Of course it won’t feel that easy. Any muscle that has been atrophied for so long will take a lot of work to get into any shape. But would you rather the alternative?
You can do it.
I asked God for a vision today. For new vision for the future since what I thought would happen crashed dramatically to the ground. No putting the spilled milk back where it came from. Gone. Finished. Unless God performs a miracle; which may not even be best.
I felt like God said to me that there is no grand vision. There is no master plan. There is no perfect path. That this is all about relationship and healing. That I am a co-creator of sorts. That Trinity will work with whatever I give God. So I get to choose.
Which brings up a whole huge litany of thoughts you don’t consider when you are simply looking at rules and figuring out boundaries. Let’s start with: why? Why will I choose what I choose? What am I aiming for? Temporarily pacifying myself? No condemnation, but what if there was more?
This is where it requires less work to sit back and ask for less freedom. To go back to Egypt. What we’ve always known. Just to ease the anxiety of not knowing. Just to have a sense of security. Even if they are bars in a prison cell.
What will you do? What if you can’t mess up so much because very little of what you think is this life matters once you are on the other side? Once this human experience is over? I’m reminded yet again that the only one who was corrected was the one who did nothing out of fear. The others planted seeds and were tangibly rewarded.