I received this quote in my email today from Mama Gena, “Love yourself first, foremost, and always.”
Why do women find this simple statement to be so hard to follow? Me included? Women put their children first. Their husbands, lovers, and friends first. We give and give until there is nothing left. And, in addition to neglecting ourselves and not nourishing our souls, we can be our own worst critics. Thinking we are a bad mother, a bad friend, etc. What kind of role model does this show our children? We love too hard and too much. We give so much to others we empty ourselves out. We can lose self respect for ourselves. We get depressed. Especially when that love isn’t returned the way we want it to be returned.
I am guilty of loving someone too much. Of putting my daughter, family, or friends first. Of taking care of others while neglecting myself. But, and I’ve talked about this before, how can we adequately take care of others when we don’t take care of ourselves?
I was in a relationship a couple of years ago where I gave so much to someone who didn’t appreciate it. And they didn’t respect me for it either. I was always feeling lonely even when I was with him. I needed to learn to love myself first before I could love him back and do it in a healthy, mature manner.
Of course the relationship ended badly. And my heart was broken. And I thought, I’ll just change myself into this great person and he will want me back! And he did…for a minute. But the old patterns started again and I realized in the end that I needed to change for myself not him.
I needed to learn to love myself first to understand and set proper boundaries to have someone love me in return. And now I want to find someone who will appreciate that I feel good about myself and live joyliciously so he will want to be part of that joy and love! It’s still a work in progress but I’m getting better every day. I’m finding that I am starting to like myself again. And to be able to look in the mirror each morning and say, “You are ok. I love you. You matter to me.”
A few years ago I got a tattoo of a heart on my shoulder to remind myself of just that. Maybe I’ll show you someday! Joyliciously fun!!!