When my husband and I separated, I wondered at this statement. I felt that I had loved him truly, and while I know that I made some serious mistakes in our relationship, my love had not waivered.
I knew when we got married that he had some deep wounds, and I hoped that my love could help him heal them; if he were in a place of continual love and safety, I hoped that we could work together to confront those things so he could move past them. But that did not happen, and when we parted, I was so filled with pain that I could not understand this statement by the famous Vietnamese monk.
But now I do.
Where I had believed that the true love of another person should heal and thus wondered if my love was not true enough, in a moment of clarity the other night, I realized that my ex did not love himself truly enough to let any love heal him, either mine nor his own. Without him loving himself, another’s love could not touch him deeply enough to have an effect.
So what does this mean in the big picture? It means that it is necessary to continue (or begin) to love one’s self to heal. It is necessary to move towards a deeper place of love to heal the deepest wounds. This involves taking care of one’s self, but not just or necessarily in the physical sense, not in the ‘get a make-over and feel better for a day’ sense, deeper than that. It involves willingly taking care of others and intentionally putting them first. It involves choosing what is right over what is popular and following your instincts to know what ‘right’ might be sometimes. Letting true love heal in your deepest recesses means giving up judgments (especially of those closest to you because that is often where the biggest lie), to exercise patience in all situations (it is possible!), to make choices with compassion and intention, and to love on a higher plain.
So, how do you do these things? By adding little – tiny – minute – changes into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine makes it possible. I personally strive to be a better friend than I have been over the past few years since Elizabeth was born, so I will call my friends more often than once a year (oh yeah!). Going out to reconnect with nature by adding in more visits to your yard, a local park or any green space is pertinent. When you feel the judgments pass through your mind, recognize them as such and then work to let them go. You can do the same with patience: take a deep breath, recognize that you are getting impatient, and then choose to enjoy the moment, no matter what.
What if you fail? You can’t if you are gentle with yourself. You can love yourself deeply even if you make mistakes. Mistakes aren’t bad – they teach us. You can excuse your mistake but don’t let it excuse you. Don’t use the excuse that you keep making the same mistake over and over; I know some people who have made serious mistakes in their lives and, while they regressed at times, they eventually chose to over come them, and did. You might need help to over come your obstacles, but if you love yourself, you will seek it, and work with the help, not against it.
It’s also easy to feel that you fail when you get off track. Many people on weight-loss programs, for example, end up throwing the whole idea away because they got off track today, this week, this month, but the good thing is that there’s always tomorrow/next week/next month. One little bump in the road doesn’t keep you from driving to where you need to go, so why would you let it deter you from meeting your goals and loving yourself more deeply?
Love yourself though you feel you are lacking in some way, love yourself though there are parts of you that you feel you need to improve, love yourself as you are and see your worth and how special you are for being you. Love yourself to heal the scars that you carry around, because no one else can love you enough to make them heal completely, it must begin within YOU.
Writing prompt: Write about a new awakening in your life as you let go of needing to be loved by others and fill it with love you cast on yourself. Don’t forget to link back if you post it!
Interested in reading more? Check another post of mine, Making the Way to a Higher Place of Love.