Love Yourself First

Series: Learning to Love Well

It may surprise you to find that you cannot find the love that you are looking for unless you can first love yourself.  You cannot find the trust, connection, hope, peace and goodness you so long for, unless you can first smile at these things in yourself and see that you are worthy of them. 

This example always helps me.  I don’t know if this has ever happened to you…

Your Love Matters

Series: Learning to Love Well

I sat down to work in the coffee shop like I do most days.  I happened to sit right next to a father emphatically describing and defending to his high school aged daughter why he is divorcing her mother.  Oh, so painful to hear and feel the pain radiating around them.  At one point I felt nudged to pause my music (the magic of air-pod pro headphones) and listen.  What I heard broke my heart.  The daughter said, “I don’t think about my childhood because it is too painful” (yes, she is only in high school)… the father’s response, “I don’t have any good memories of my childhood either.” 


Remember when you were a kid?  All you wanted to do is play.  The only missions in life were getting candy, ice cream and more time to play.  I remember making up games with my sister where we couldn’t touch the floor of our room because it was lava.  Or swinging on the swing tied to the huge tree in the backyard.  I loved playing catch with my dad; mostly frisbee or football.  What did you play when you were a child?


Most people have at some point have felt the nagging feelings of depression.  It can be as simple as feeling tired, apathetic, bummed, lacking motivation or distant.  It can be very frustrating and confusing to be stuck in this emotion.  What do we do when we feel this way?


We live much of our lives without all the information.  Something inside of us relentlessly asks unanswerable questions like:  What’s going to happen next?   Do I have what it takes?  Am I going to get hurt?  Is it all going to be okay?  What if I fail?  What if I succeed?  It is a conundrum of the human condition that we can’t know these things, yet we spend considerable amounts of time trying to decipher the mystery.


We experience guilt when we feel responsible for expectations that are not met.  We may have said or done something intentionally or unintentionally that harmed someone else.  Guilt is asking us to right the wrong. 

Guilt is not so much an emotion as a state of being.  You are either guilty or not guilty of something.  Our response to that guilt can be a range of emotion such as fear, anger, sadness, regret, confusion, defensiveness, embarrassment, remorse and more. 


Resentment is anger gone underground and stretched out over time.  When resentment seeps into the soil of our hearts it cultivates a victim mindset and a sour and ceaseless pursuit of personal and often selfish justice.  Resentment is what happens when we won’t let go of an offense but we also are unwilling to confront it head on. 


“This is so boring.”  My seven-year-old often says with his slight Boston accented “r”s common to young children.  I can’t say that I disagree.  In fact, many times I find  tasks, circumstances or (embarrassingly) things people are telling me boring… Maybe you can relate.

Fail Enough to Succeed

If there is anything more damaging than the initial triggering event that sends us into an intense emotional reaction, it is the belief that comes fast on its heals, whispering to us,”You are not capable, not prepared and not enough to handle this.”  Most of us can get through the initial waves of fear anger or sadness that come in a crisis.  The displacement is uncomfortable and disorienting, but eventually we find our footing again.  The problem comes when we buy into the lie that we are unable to handle the situation we are in.  Hopelessness, powerlessness and despair start setting in.  When those take hold, it is a deep dark hole to climb out of.

I Will See You Soon

I cried today.  It felt good to release.  It was only for twenty seconds or so.  I didn’t know how sad I was until that moment.  These tears sprung forth un-summoned, but I let them come, I did not stop the flow.  I felt the burning, surging emotion come from deep within my chest and out through the hot tears.