One of the most difficult things I have ever heard from someone was along the lines of “I have never met anyone else who is so kind, compassionate and caring, but has no idea how to love. You are incapable of loving anyone and incapable of allowing someone to love you.”
Those words have stuck with me more than anything else I have ever heard in my life. Initially, I was incredibly angry at hearing those words. I felt like the person saying these words was a complete and utter jackass. I thought they were only saying it to piss me off and hurt my feelings.
I was the woman who loved everyone. I wanted to make everyone happy. I tried to share everything I had. I met everyone’s expectations and I gave until I could no longer give! I worked constantly and still managed to pour what I thought was love into every ounce of my home and my children.
How could I be the person that was incapable of loving anyone? How could this person say something so freaking hurtful and blame ME for the pain that was occurring? I was loving, I was kind and I was thoughtful… At least that’s what I told myself…
Friends, I was everything but loving. Loving was exactly what I wanted to be. It was what I wanted to share with the world. It was how I thought I was different from everyone else. I did all the best things for my kids, my patients, my friends and yet I continued to search for my own purpose and meaning. Not realizing the one reason I couldn’t find it was because I absolutely hated myself. In turn making it IMPOSSIBLE to truly love or consider anyone else. Yet my empathetic spirit told me I was doing the best I could…
From the bottom of my heart I hated everything about me. It did not matter how many degrees I got. It did not matter how much money I made. It did not matter how much effort I put into anything because at the core was still a woman who was afraid to be authentic.
A woman who was afraid to feel vulnerable. I searched for people who made me feel comfortable, because I didn’t want to accept that the trauma I tried to run from, had consumed me. I wanted to believe I was stronger than what everyone expected and the only way I knew how to do this was to show that I was doing everything expected of me…
Those words about me not being able to love or allow anyone to love me were the truest words I have ever heard. I was completely incapable of loving myself. Without the ability to love myself it is impossible to love anyone else.
When they say you can’t pour from an empty cup that also applies to love. For me accepting that was thus far the most difficult part of my healing journey. This meant I was not capable of fully loving anyone because I hated myself to the core.
If you’re reading this and feeling angry right now, trust me I get it. I thought it was bullshit too! I could smother people in my love more than they could ever imagine… yet it wasn’t love it was a longing for approval.
I even said, “I don’t want to be recognized;” but still, the love I was giving felt necessary and in my mind, I truly believed I wasn’t expecting anything in return. I now realize I expected to find love for myself through serving others.
What I did not know at the time is my attempts, while appreciated, were not true to who I am. They almost always left me feeling exhausted, anxious and still searching for the next thing to smother in my love. I left those in my life longing to understand me and left them feeling alone.
My day to day actions were a never-ending circle of self-preservation. News Flash! You can’t love yourself if you’re only trying to save yourself. That is like trying to relax on a raft while you’re drowning…
My sweet friend, I know it feels lonely the moment you realize all of those fears you hide deep down are actually making you believe you’re unlovable unless you meet certain expectations…
Those fears are a lie. They are a belief founded in pain. You are loveable and worthy just because you exist. Life is passing you by as you remain frozen in the fire and the world is missing all of your beauty as it remains surrounded in a layer of self-preservation.
There is no guide to loving yourself after the trauma. There is no guide to life after grief. You can read your bible, your devotionals, self-help books, blogs and everything in between… You must allow yourself to feel the pain and begin to define yourself not by what the pain did to you but by how you overcame it.
It is normal to feel anger. It is ok to grasp for comfort. It is not ok to stop learning and growing. You are capable of healing! Allow yourself time to reflect.
I want to challenge you to pull out two sheets of paper spend time writing down who you want to become one the first sheet. On the second sheet of paper write down all the expectations you feel others have of you.
After you have done this mark off every expectation that would keep you from your ultimate happiness.
That is where you begin creating boundaries and living an authentic life. Don’t worry we will talk more about boundaries. You’re not finished yet, healing has just begun and newsflash… you are absolutely capable of loving. 💙