If you grew up in a household like mine, I’m sure the meaning of love has been a elusive for along time. Love was not talked about in my and rarely modeled by my parents. Today I know that the implosion of my parents marriage and the fallout it caused for us children sucked the love out of my family. That being said if the way I was treated growing up was love then I wanted no part of it.
Today I have no doubt that my parents loved me. That in simple terms, their pain prevented them from sharing their love with me. What does an environment like that do to a child ? I know that I felt that I was not worthy of love. That I was never taught how to express and share my love with others.
Not feeling worthy of love growing up was devastating to me. It caused me to adapt loving seeking behaviors. If I could just be good enough in sports my dad would love me. If I was a good boy and did well in school my mother would love me. If I tap danced fast enough while juggling 10 balls and jumped through a flaming hoop I would be worthy of love. It was never enough because my parents were emotionally unavailable to me. It didn’t matter if I was perfect, the love was just not there.
To learn to base your self worth on performance is a no win situation. Why is that ? Because I am human and will make mistakes and fall short many times in my life time. Each one being a demerit and I will never get out of the red. Today I am so glad that I have learned that I am worthy of love just because I am, that I exist.
I now understand love to be action fueled by emotion. That the love that I feel in my heart and soul is wasted unless I express it. It is not enough to feel love, I need to be love.
What then is my measuring stick ? For me it is how I interact with the world around me. How do I treat others ? How do I treat my dogs ? How do I treat the planet ? The hard one is how do I treat myself.
So to get back to the question that I posed in the title of this article. Self love: feeling or action ? The emotional feeling of loving oneself though wonderful is moot without any action behind it. What good does loving oneself if you do not treat yourself in a loving manner. How much does one really love themselves if they eat nothing but junk food while sitting in front of the tv ? Or refuse to take care of their health through exercise and regular check ups with their doctor.
I know that I have tried to fill a hole that I have in my soul and spirit with drugs, alcohol and food. None of those things worked for long. The hole needs to be filled with love that I have for myself that can only be expressed through action. Today I choose to love myself by treating myself in a loving manner and pray that I can do the same tomorrow.