I opened to this passage in prayer this morning from Alan Cohen’s book, “Wisdom of the Heart.” It really spoke to me and I have been thinking about how I have learned to love myself and give myself what I need. I loved the part that said, IT IS MY OWN LOVE THAT I WANT. How many of us have spent years looking outside of ourselves for love?
“Your relationships are your mirrors: The love you receive – or don’t receive – from others is a reflection of how much you love yourself. When you truly love yourself, you can never be abused. But when you don’t love yourself, nobody on the planet will be able to save you.
If you feel sad or frustrated that you are not getting the love, appreciation, and acknowledgement that you crave from someone else, GIVE IT TO YOURSELF. IT’S YOUR OWN LOVE YOU WANT, so why confuse yourself by seeking it from another? When you honor and nurture yourself, your happiness will proceed from within you, and you won’t have to depend on another for it. As you give yourself more love, your relationships will change to reflect your self-honoring. Another person isn’t a source of your love – YOU ARE. True love is an inside job.” Wisdom of the Heart, Alan Cohen
How do you give yourself love? Do you look to another hoping they will fill the emptiness and hole inside of you? Do you try to please others, often at the expense of yourself, so they will eventually love you more? Do you have a hard time saying no because you think you will be rejected, not liked, abandoned or someone will be angry with you? I know what it is like because I did it all.
There are many ways that I have learned to love myself and I would like to share a few of the ways I loved myself this past week.
I will start with feelings – I have learned to invite all of my feelings in, to embrace and accept them, to honor and not judge them. Most of all, I have learned to trust my feelings and give myself the time to process my feelings and allow them to move through me. When I first started my spiritual journey several decades ago, I didn’t know what my feelings were, never mind, trust them. I would often ask others, “Would you feel this way if this happened to you?” I looked outside for permission to feel my feelings. No more.
For example, this week a friend of mine sent me an email and wanted to introduce me to a new healing modality that he had been gifted with. I said yes without giving it much thought. But, then I started to feel uncomfortable and I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to disappoint him and back out, but I have learned to trust and honor my feelings and I wasn’t willing to discount my feelings, even though I didn’t have clarity about why I felt uncomfortable. In the past, I would have said yes to please him and not disappoint him. In other words, I would have been more interested in his feelings than my own. After all, I would be helping him practice this new healing modality that he had been gifted with and he was offering this to me as a gift. When we spoke on the phone, I was honest with him and told him that I felt uncomfortable and had chosen not to do it. I explained that it had nothing to do with him.
I accept gifts graciously – when it feels right and comfortable. For example, I was sitting at the pool reading when a woman passed by and said, “I see your bag, are you from Rhode Island?” I said, “Yes, I am, are you from Rhode Island?” She said, “No, but I went to college in Boston.” That is how our conversation began and we talked for quite a while. When the waitress walked by and announced, “Happy Hour” she ordered a Mau Tai and said, “I would like to buy a drink for Pat too.” I said, “Thank you, I would love a Mai Tai with you.” I told her when the drinks came that she would be on my “gratitude list” the next day. That opened a whole conversation about the importance of gratitude and focusing on what we do have, rather than what is missing. We just never know when or where we can share universal truths that may help someone.
Another way I have learned to love myself is by speaking up and asking for what I want, even though I might feel nervous. For example, my landlord, who lives in Canada 6 months out of the year, returned unexpectedly yesterday and informed me that there was going to be some construction going on the property this week. He said, “I don’t think it will be much of a problem for you.” Well, it was a big problem. I had to cancel a coaching client because the construction was right outside my window and very loud. I needed to speak to the owner and tell him I would have to leave for the week. After I ate my dark chocolate (to give me courage) and gave myself a little “pep talk” that I am a big girl now, I walked outside and said, “Doug, I cannot stay here this week with this construction going on and we need to come up with another plan.” He apologized for the inconvenience and asked me to come up with a suitable plan, which I did.
I had just spoken to my friend, Kati, on the phone and explained that I had to leave for a few days. She invited me to stay in her ohana because she just “happened” to be going out of town. She has a lovely home in walking distance to the ocean. I took her up on her offer, and off I went.
I believe I attract EVERYTHING into my life for my highest good. My brilliant and magnificent soul knows what it needs to attract and when it needs to attract it. I can choose to see what comes into my life as a challenge or a blessing and opportunity to learn, grow and heal. I chose to see this situation as an opportunity and gift rather than a problem to complain about.
While I was at Kati’s home, I was taking my “prayer walk” on the beach the first morning I arrived. I felt so blessed and was “high” on gratitude. I noticed this woman about my age approaching me with a hat on and thought, “Another hat lady on the beach.” As she got closer, it looked like she recognized me and wanted to stop and talk. I didn’t recognize her so I took off my sunglasses to see her better. She came right up to me and enthusiastically said, “I have to share something with you.” I got excited and thought, “She has a message from God for me.” I so enjoy when God gives me a message for someone and I love to receive them for myself.
She then opened her hand to show me a beautiful multi- colored blue shell and said, “I am so excited because I just found this at my feet and it is a confirmation for me.” Being the curious and interested woman that I am, I said, “A confirmation about what?” She said, “It is a confirmation TO BE MYSELF AND TO LET GO because I was just standing here looking in the ocean and dancing and thinking about this. I said, “You mean to not worry about what others think” and she said, “Yes, exactly.” Her name was Heidi and we chatted for a little while longer and she told me she lived in Hawaii for 26 years and raised 4 children here.
She could tell “I was getting what she said” and then took my hand and put it on the shell. She looked me in the eyes and gently said, “This is a message for you too.” I thanked her for sharing her gift with me, as we parted. I asked myself, “Is it that easy TO BE MYSELF AND TO LET GO?” It has certainly been my life long journey to know and be myself and to love myself. Was she an angel giving me a simple, but profound message? I think so.
As I continued my walk on the beach, I asked Spirit for a “confirmation” and started looking for a shell like the one she had found. I heard Spirit gently say to me, “You don’t have to look for your good, it will come to you and you will know when it comes.” Yes, that is the truth and I will stop looking and just be open to whatever good you bring into my life. I will continue to “Show up” for life and be grateful for all of my blessings.
Thank you Spirit for taking care of me this week; for Kati opening her home for me to stay, for loving myself and speaking up for what I needed, for meeting my “Angel Heidi” on the beach and receiving the message, TO BE MYSELF AND LET GO. Thank you that my landlord will be taking off $250 from my rent this month and I had the opportunity to PLAY at the ocean. Could it get any better than this?
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