Growing Love: Self-Care Begins Inside

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” —ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, FORMER FIRST LADY

So somewhere in life we are taught to believe that love is limited and conditional. For some of us this is expressed as self-hatred and self-neglect. For others it means we treat everyone around us like shit. Perhaps for the vast majority there is a combination of both.

Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. To begin to change our hurts, it is imperative that we acknowledge them…most of the time many of us run from the hurt feelings – myself included. Adding further insult to injury, I often “layeth down the guilt” when I am not 100% satisfied with my own actions, responses or performances in life.

Self-punishment creates within us a stress response. When we attack ourselves we are both the victim and the aggressor. Our bodies release fight, flight or freeze hormones as if our very survival depended on our next response. The terrible thing is that we cannot flea from ourselves. So on some level, we continually produce stress for ourselves and for this we suffer.

Stress hormones affect our bodies’ ability to function normally. Over time, these stress hormones can lead to: addictions, weight gain, fertility loss, insomnia, hypertension, impotence, constipation, dis-eases (heart, lung, metabolic) and decreased sexual responses to name a few things. Often, we then stress over the effects of our stress and thus create …. more stress.

A-heart-filled-with-love

Learning to love ourselves in gentle ways, looking for the places where we have blocked ourselves to love, and choosing different methods of self-improvement outside of punishment and guilt or shaming ourselves, we can become more accepting and loving of ourselves. The more we love and accept ourselves, the wider our circle of love expands.

This weekend I was shown another way in which I had been limiting love. I saw where I believed that someone, anyone (i.e. my mother, father, friends and even lovers) can only contain so much love. If that person showed too much love for anyone else, singular or plural, then there would be no love left for me. As you can probably see, this played out as jealousy and even sibling rivalry.

Now I see differently! The more people a person is open to loving, the more capacity that person has for love. The more diversity in a person’s interactions with others is a reflection of how much more that person can accept him or herself and others! So people who can only love “their kind” are limiting their love more than someone who can love and accept diverse groups for who they are.

I know, this concept almost goes without saying. Yet, it seems to elude us as a species… So it bears repeating. The greater we can love a broader range of peoples and individuals, the more open we are to love.

So now I’m seeing where I limit my love for others and even more so for myself. When I’m not “minding my p’s and q’s,” the way I believe I should be, I can really tear myself down and apart. In passive aggressive ways I treat myself like crap. This has got to stop. I cannot continue to treat myself like a second-class citizen while expecting others to love & respect me. It’s time, once again, to roll up my sleeves and pull some weeds, then plant new seeds.

People who love themselves can help others to see they no longer need to live in the land of suffering. So today and everyday, let us pull those weeds of self-hatred and loathing. Let us find a new way to open to love.

 

Namaste

images: Google

23 thoughts on “Growing Love: Self-Care Begins Inside

  1. Way to go, Tiffany!! I can very much rate to such self punishment patterns, and strive to uncover heist sources and practice self love. It’s tough! But necessary. I’m so happy for you!💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can see you wandering in your garden now and sowing the seeds of love. Hmmm, speaking of sowing seeds… 😉 Tiffany, like all of writing, this is a wonderful exploration. I kept thinking about the “vicious circle” and “virtuous circle” while reading this. I agree with you that loving ourselves begins the virtuous circle by creating positive energy that expands our ability and capacity to love others. Ideally, that same love and energy will be returned which fuels the virtuous circle with no apparent end or beginning. Unfortunately, the positive energy isn’t always returned. As you point out, keep loving yourself and shining your light…the circle of light will return. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm Michael, I’m not familiar with the circles and yet I can see how they would come into play here based on what you’ve described. yes, it can be a challenge when the positive energy is not returned. however, I will say that (in general) I also feel that I deal with fewer and fewer people who spew negative energy as I move through more of my own stuff.
      😉 re sowing seeds comment :-*
      Thank you for giving me several things to think about…
      ~Tiffany

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is Beautiful Tiffany! I have realized recently that I have been subconsciously sabotaging my relationship with M because of the belief that I don’t deserve to have
    a loving relationship with her, that I’m not worthy of her love or anyones love. More lies from my father, or rather, permutations of the words he spoke. Slowly, I am learning that HIs words are more important. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He is good, His faithful love endures foevever!
    I make the mistake of looking to M for the love and the relatioship that I need to have with Him, my creator, the creator of the universe, all that I detect with all of my senses. And I have learned, slowly, Lol!, because that’s how I move, slow and deliberate, that as I move closer to God and make Him First in my life and First in my marriage (and as a sidenote, all of my relatioships!) the more capacity I have to love them in the way or manner they need.
    I distinctly remember when you cautioned me months ago about M needing to begin her journey as well , that I shouldn’ expect too much from her and concentrate on me, that was my takeaway anyway. So, so true. We have had discussions about the need for us, both of us to put God first in our marriage. I think that is what scares her as well, the knowledge that at some point she has to deal with her junk as well. The more she would stall, the more frustrated I became and misersble, seemingly depression is just one negative feeling away, Now I can clearly see this whole dynamic and realize that my salvation and the ressurrection of my marriage lies in me drawing closer to God, the author and finisher of my faith. I realize that M wants me to be the leader in our relationship as He always intended, something I abdicated and she relutantly took on. So in all things I need to run to Him and in time order will be restored and we, M and I, will come closer together

    I know you don’ t like this much but thank you, thank you, thank you! You are Amazing! I have often wondered why it wasn’t a bible character that would inspire me to get off my ass. But it wasn’t, it was you. It was the size of the fight in you, your never say die attitude, and despite everything, the circumstances of your life that you share so openly and honestly, your compassion! You truly are an amazing woman! I don ‘t know, maybe you need to here that over and over again. You, my dear, are fearfully and wonderfully made! I have been blessed beyond measure to know you! God Bless You and Namaste’ my Dear, Dear ❤ Tiffany!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barney, such a wonderful response you have here! First, yes, I probably do need to “hear it” more so I can start to really believe it 😉
      Love and patience to you and M while you work through your journey together.it is not an easy place to be, to see where you want to go and to be there. there can be a vertical climb when we have that fear that holds us in the status quo. I would encourage you to look within when you see resistance in M, ask yourself where you are resisting… She is your magic mirror to see yourself. It is a hard pill to swallow, so take water with you when you travel 😉
      Embrace everything that you can with your heart. The good and the bad. Love knows no difference. Love loves. Humans judge. And I am human so I understand that desire to see the good and the bad.
      Love to you and M as you work through this.
      ❤️ Tiffany

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, full of great advice as always, you and Rita never fail to give me just what I need to hear. I’m about to enter a sex addiction recovery group and I’m just a tad nervous, it it a big committment for me but one I need to make as much for M as myself. I know I need to take care of my shit before I’m will really be able to care for her or earn her trust! Thank you for your support, it means alot!

        Hey, a short funny story. Several weeks ago I was sitting at the kitchen table on the Mac when I heard an earsplitting crack and a roll of thunder. I glanced outside again just as the bottom fell out and I had a thought, ” I wonder if Elektra has her doors on?” I live just a few short miles from the hospital near Bow Creek. So as I’m having this thought I glance outside and notice all the windows are down on my Camry 😂 It was a butt soaking ride to work! LOL!

        Thanks again Amazing Lady! 🌹❤ Barn

        Like

      • Wow, full of great advice as always, you and Rita never fail to give me just what I need to hear. I’m about to enter a sex addiction recovery group and I’m just a tad nervous, it it a big committment for me but one I need to make as much for M as myself. I know I need to take care of my shit before I’m will really be able to care for her or earn her trust! Thank you for your support, it means alot!

        Hey, a short funny story. Several weeks ago I was sitting at the kitchen table on the Mac when I heard an earsplitting crack and a roll of thunder. I glanced outside again just as the bottom fell out and I had a thought, ” I wonder if Elektra has her doors on?” I live just a few short miles from the hospital near Bow Creek. So as I’m having this thought I glance outside again and notice that all the windows are down on my Camry 😂 It was a butt soaking ride to work! LOL!

        Thanks again Amazing Lady! 🌹❤ Barn

        Liked by 1 person

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