Love is the key component in all relationships with others and especially in the relationship we have with ourself. We've all heard it a million times, "If you don't love yourself, you can't love another." Do you agree? I tend to both agree AND disagree with this statement. There have been times in my life when I deeply loved others at the expense of myself. I was not looking out for myself, taking into consideration what was best for me or really, truly loving myself. I was actually, on some levels, causing myself harm. Maybe a better statement would be, "If you don't love yourself, you can't love another in a healthy way."
One of my favorite all time quotes about love is from a small, but powerful book my daughter encouraged me to read called, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbodsky. Have you read it? It's a wonderful coming of age book, which was later made into a film by the same name. The main character, Charlie, is beginning his freshman year in high school. He's socially awkward and struggles with much of what teenagers everywhere find challenging. Charlie connects with two seniors who take him into their circle of friends. There are unexpected plot twists that make this story unique. I don't want to be a spoiler, so all I'll say is, it's worth reading or at least seeing the film. Anyway, the quote is, "We accept the love we think we deserve." Dynamite right? It makes you think about love, acceptance and the role we each play in our experience of love.
So, how do we start getting the love we deserve if we only accept the love we think we deserve? The answer is easy. We need to think more highly of ourselves and believe we are worthy. Each and every one of us is, you and I, are equally deserving of true, unadulterated love. Each and every of us, you and I, are equally perfect just as we are. All we need to do is practice. Practice loving ourselves first. Why not be your own best friend? First, listen to your self talk. If it's critical, mean and/or judgmental change it. Replace this negative self talk with words of encouragement, kindness and acceptance. Allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to make mistakes. It's not the end of the world if you make a mistake. There's always another time to do better, don't beat yourself up. Changing the way we think changes our whole world. Think better of yourself!
Another way to receive love is by giving love. Below is a list of ways to show love. Add your own idea's - the list is endless...
20 Ways to Show Love
- Develop an attitude of gratitude
- Think kind thoughts about yourself
- Think kind thoughts about others
- Speak words of encouragement and praise
- Share your story and experience
- Remember special occasions
- Let the small stuff go
- Act with compassion
- Celebrate accomplishments
- Do nice things
- Be authentic
- Believe in yourself
- Believe in others
- Laugh together
- Be of service
- Give of your time
- Pay attention