How do you love?

How do you love?

As a young adult, I had a fixed way of thinking. It was black and white, with no grey. And those black and white areas included my self esteem and self worth, how I should be loved, what work is and is not, and who I am and am not.

Even while I had specific ideas about those things, they didn’t come with boundaries for myself and no guiding principles for who I wanted to be. Add to that I’d lost connection with my empathy and intuition. It left me not fitting into my skin for many years.

This journey of getting back to myself started when I became a mother and realised that I didn’t want my little girl to feel the way I did as an adult. It’s been a varied path and has included so many different facets of developing self awareness; daily meditating, yoga and pilates, reading and listening to those more aware than I, journalling about all the feelings and things that didn’t make sense to try and understand them, psychotherapy, finding new people that understand the journey I’m on, food as medicine, studying natural health, studying peaceful parenting, stoic philosophy, buddhism, and I’m sure there are more but these are what immediately comes to mind. 

The thing I’ve been thinking about this morning is the expectation of love from others. How you want to receive it, how it actually shows up in your life, and the expectations you place on it. I used to have a rigid idea of what love should be and that certain criteria meant you were loved. 

What I’ve discovered is that love shows up in your life in so many ways, and needs to begin with self acceptance, and importantly you actually need to be actively looking for it. From self acceptance, you can learn to accept others as they are, and show love your way, without expecting it a particular way from others. I’d developed the idea that I’m only loved if the other person does X, or Y, or Z. It’s not the case.  

But also just as importantly, is understanding that just because someone does do X, Y and Z, doesn’t mean they love you. It can mean that they know how to push your buttons and the lack of love can show up in other ways. 

Much of this comes back to how you love yourself, and the boundaries you set. No boundaries manifests as—doing too much, rigid thinking, allowing and enabling others to treat you in a way you’re not happy with or doesn’t allow you to be the person you aspire to be. 

When you have a set of guiding principles for who you are, it can guide those thoughts you find tricky. It enables you to process other peoples behaviour in relation to how you’d like to be treated. It guides your decisions about what you want to spend your time doing, and who you want to spend your time with. 

When you’re able to critically think through each situation and understand in the context of yourself, you become grounded and contented. 

If you’re interested I have guiding principles around

  • The qualities I want my daughter to grow up having
  • How I parent
  • Life long learning and what I study
  • How I treat and relate to others
  • How I conduct work and business
  • Developing understanding of self
  • Developing understanding of others
  • Critical thinking

I’m sure there’s more, but this is my list for now, and I need to get started on my work for the day. 

Big love to you xox