Updated: Dec 7, 2019
I'm going to start with an assumption. I am assuming that you want to be loved well and that you want to love well. I feel pretty safe making that assumption because I know that every woman I have coached has voiced concerns about the impact of her decisions on the people in her life. In fact, you are probably similar. I bet you are always considerating other people's needs when you are making a decision - even if that decision is about what you want to do with your life. Am I right?
So here you are. It's Christmas and you have all the 'loving well' stress going on. Maybe your challenge is that persistent need to accomodate everyone. Maybe you think you need to visit EVERYONE in 24 hours to prove your undying devotion and love for them. Maybe you think you need to find the perfect gift and wrap it beautifully to show how much you care. Maybe you need to attend certain social events because you don't want someone to feel like you don't love them. Or maybe you think if you say no people won't love you anymore or as much.
You know where this story ends. By the end of the month you are going to be tired. You are going to feel resentful. You may also have overspent on your budget and ate way too many cookies in an effort to make sure everyone else felt good. And you might be wondering why the burden to prove your love in this way seems to have landed on your shoulders.
Here's the truth - somehow in the midst of all of this effort to do everything for everyone to create this magical holiday seasons, you still feel unloved. You feel used, you feel angry, and you feel duped. You certainly feel like you didn't celebrate the holidays on your terms. You might even remember feeling this way last year as you packed away the decorations. Fortunately it is advent week 2! And there is still time to save Christmas. It's time to focus on love.
This week, I'm suggesting you light a candle of self-love. The first step is putting an hour or two in your calendar for you. Here is a small opportunity to say "I'm not available this evening, I have plans." For some of you, this will be an important and courageous step.
The candle of self-love is best lit in a bathroom, where you have run yourself a warm bath and have added your favourite bath oil or salts. Put on some soothing music. Get in the tub and close your eyes. Think about all the things you love about yourself. I want you to think about at least ten things you love about yourself. Then think about what makes you happy. Think about what matters to you.
The next step is to think about what you would like to experience this season. Maybe it is more moments like this one. Maybe it is saying no to an invitation that feels more like an obligation than anything else. Think about how you can say yes to what you want. Think about how saying no, is practicing love - self-love. Choose one thing you can do this week as an act of truthful acknowledgment of what you want and need right now. You probably know exactly what you need to do. Promise yourself you will start practicing self-love. Remember and repeat as needed: the truth will set you free.
Love is all YOU need. You need love. Your needs are as legitimate as everyone else's needs. If you aren't loving yourself you can't love others from a place of good health. As long as you continue to disregard yourself and do not fill your own reserves, you are not able to truly love others. Until you are really loving yourself, you are looking for love outside yourself. You are looking for other people to love you because of what you do for them. And that's not love. And it is exhausting you.
Next week we are going to talk about joy. I won't be surprised if you start to experience it as you start to love yourself this advent season.