TRUE LOVE. Did this refer not only to someone expressing their love for me, but me expressing love for myself? Could I do that when I wasn’t sure how TRUE LOVE was supposed to feel?
I did know it was NOT supposed to make you feel insignificant or fearful or that you needed to walk on eggshells. It was not supposed to bully, shame, belittle, betray or take away what you love and cherish in order to feel powerful.
Unfortunately, many of us have experienced these behaviors disguising themselves as love, either in our adult relationships and even, sadly, as children.
They become so familiar that we may continue treating ourselves in the same way long after a relationship has ended.
What I understood of TRUE LOVE came from my feelings towards my children. I did my best to be nurturing, accepting, and encouraging. I listened when they needed to talk (which after a certain age, wasn’t to me!). I respected them for the person they were and let them grow into the person they were meant to be.
Now it was time to do this for myself. Since I talk to myself all the time, listening to myself wasn’t an issue, but acting on what I heard and discerning what was true from what was not, was more challenging.
Nurturing myself sounded a bit sappy, but I was up for it. I listened to music I loved and curled up under a cozy afghan when I needed. I laughed with good friends. Sometimes I journaled or read inspirational books, though murder mysteries were still my favorites.
I listened to my body and did my best not to do one more thing when it was hollering, “Would you please stop, already!”
I was reminded that I’m not supposed to be perfect which was a huge relief, because I’m really good at not being perfect! I judged myself less and did the same with others.
I accepted all my emotions and learned to embrace my sadness and grief. Instead of ignoring them, hoping they would just leave me alone, I whispered, “I understand.”
People do, indeed, treat you the way you treat yourself. No longer would a potential Valentine fool me with false charm. I’ve stopped walking on eggshells. I preferred soft green grass.