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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Love Thyself!

I always find it strangely amusing that the things floating around in my head are often answered or at least discussed in some way in a blog, an article, or a book that I read as I process and noodle over the question and seek its answer. I love to read and I read because I love to learn new things and understand myself and others. I suppose that is the analyst in me. I believe that everything has reason and we're all interwoven into this life of ours. It's the six degrees of separation thing: within 6 steps/connections, you can get from one person to another. It started with my little infatuation (ok, it's a big infatuation, but whatever!) with Adam Levine who is one of the coaches on NBC's The Voice. I was watching the video for Maroon 5's She Will Be Loved and thinking about that desire to be loved. MY desire to be loved...regardless of the cost. 





Then, today, I was reading Lysa TerKeurst's blog called, "Because I Am Loved", where she discusses the following question, "Are you doing this because you are loved or so that you’ll be loved?" As Lysa looks at this question, she makes these points which I are some of the realizations I am beginning to come to myself:
Doing something “so that we’ll be loved” is a trap many of us can get caught in. When I do something because I’m trying to get someone else to notice me, appreciate me, say something to build me up, or respect me more, my motives get skewed.
I become very “me” focused. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and the other person. And I can get stinkin’ angry when I don’t feel more noticed, appreciated, or respected.
I can get all twisted up and take my frustration out on myself and that person in an unfair way. I typically sabotage my own efforts and bend to discouragement and defeat.
But, doing something because I am loved is incredibly freeing.
I did many things in order to be loved.  The problem with that is that I never loved myself enough first. Had I loved myself, I would not have demeaned myself or others with my actions and when dissatisfied with their reaction, with my words. It is a defeatist cycle. The harder I tried to be loved, the more lost the real me became. Eventually, I was empty, lost, lonely, fat, depressed and had forgotten who that girl I had found once before was. When I went away to Ohio University for college and left behind all the things that I had let previously define me, I was free to be someone who only I could define. I didn't realize that this power had always and would always belong to me. When I came back to Cleveland after the Navy, the emotion and feeling brought on by being back in this place and the state of my marriage made for a repeat of this cycle once again. 


When I allow myself to believe that I am "not enough" or "without worth", I flit between defiance and proving that I am "worth it" and "enough" to feeling like I will never get over this hump and that there's no reason to even try. I tell myself that if just one person would love me enough, I could get through this. I wait for my Knight in Shining Armor, my Prince Charming, to come and rescue me. Problem is, he can't fix this. I have to fix this. I have to start by loving myself enough. And to do that, I must understand what prevents me from seeing my worth and believing I am enough. Why have I allowed that to be who I am?


Last night, I was chatting with my boss at the end of the day. We topic of cheating came up. He said, "Why do women stay with men who do that to them?" He knows my story. Immediately I saw it register that he'd just said that to me and I was one of those women. I could tell his mouth went dry. As we were talking about someone else's scenario, I spoke to that situation and not my own, but the question was eating away at me all night. We each have our own reasons for staying. For me, I stayed for my children, I stayed because I loved him, I stayed because I was afraid no one else would ever love me (lies I had let become my truth), I stayed because I was a product of my own parents' divorce and knew what could be, I stayed because I believed in the vows I had taken in marriage--even though he didn't seem to, I stayed because I didn't want to be a single mother nor a single income family. In the end, I left because a door was opened that allowed me to leave with the least amount of disruption to my children and I just couldn't do it anymore.  


Lysa ends with these differences that occur depending on if we allow ourselves to believe that "because we are loved...", rather than "so that we will be loved":

Because I am loved, I can humble myself.
When I’m trying to be loved, I must build myself up to look better.
Because I am loved, I can cast all my anxiety on Him.
When I’m trying to be loved, I cast all my anxiety on my performance.
Because I am loved, I can resist Satan and stand firm in my faith.
When I’m trying to be loved, I listen to Satan and stand uncertain trying to rely on my feelings.
Because I am loved, I know God will use this to make me stronger – and I want that.
When I’m trying to be loved, I don’t want to be made stronger – I want life to be easier.
My weight loss journey has been at a standstill this year. Why? Because I can't learn to love myself and stop the cycles that have been my coping mechanism for so long. It's time for it to stop. I was telling my boss that this journey is about mind, body, and spirit and when one of those is out of line, it's all out of line. Doctor, heal thyself! Yep. Time to stop just saying the words and start living them. The more focused on the food piece I get, the more it sets me off to binge. That to me means I have to focus on the on getting the mental and spiritual side in order while working on my body through things that allow me to focus on me and process what's going on within me. Now, I get to learn something new, how to love myself! 

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