This week's prompt from Wisdom Bloggers Sisterhood led by Stacey Hoffer Weckstein is a challenge. Especially since my birthday is this week and it's time to reflect and assess my growth.
First what does it mean to love? Over the years I have begun to learn that to love is a practice requiring acceptance. First accepting ourselves as we are right now - not the person we want / hope / or are working on to be. These can be a big stumbling block for many of us- giving ourselves permission to be authentic- loving and valuing ourselves just as we are with our strengths, weaknesses and imperfections. When we can love ourselves exactly as we are we can begin to love ourselves more fully. This does take practice!!
How do we do this? I have had to grow into giving up being what Amy Pearson calls an "Approval Addict". It has been quite a process learning to approve of myself and not to need the approval of others. I am prone to be what Amy Pearson calls a "Hero Worshipper" (seeking approval from people I admire and hope that they will like me) and a "Performer"/ "Perfectionist" ( striving to be entertaining, talented, etc to impress the Heroes!)
I have also had to learn to stand in my own power and not allow myself to depend on anyone else to make me feel good, happy, etc. Also not to give anyone power to make me feel sad, unlovable, etc. This has been and continues to be a real growing experience! I am responsible for my feelings and for how my life unfolds. It is a scary as well as liberating process!
I have had to learn how to feel my feelings without attaching a "story" to them- if I begin a story, I use Byron Katie's The Work to discover if what I am telling myself is really true. ( It almost always is NOT.) I have also learned many things that soothe me, light me up, and raise my energy.
All of these growing experiences are teaching me how to accept and love others as well as myself. For me to love more fully is to continue to accept myself as I am now (while continuing to GROW into the best "me " I can be) and to continue to learn to accept others as they are now ( whether they grow or not- that is their choice).
This is not to say that we cannot limit our contact with people who drain our energy, who are not kind, etc. We can, however accept them as they are choosing to be, send them love, wish them well and keep our encounters with them to a minimum. We cannot change them- we can only choose how much we interact with them. Many of us have family members in this category!
I would love to know what you think it means to love more fully! How do you do it? Am I on the right track?
Please leave a comment below.