I spoke the above to a friend today, and they confidently thanked me. I was delightedly surprised by their response… I had said the above or similar several times to them, but in the past they had always blushed, stammered, said they didn’t deserve it, deflected the praise and changed the subject.
This time was different.
I asked my friend what the difference was, and they said that it was because I had spoken it this time in Spanish. Normally we speak together in English, with Spanish sprinkled in here and there, but today’s conversation was almost entirely in Spanish. My friend said that my words felt much more “true” or maybe even “sincere” than when I said the same things in English.
The Language Of The Heart
It shocks people when I bare these feelings to them so frankly, as if such words should be reserved for intimate partners and immediate family members, or not shared at all. However, when I do share them, the interaction invariably increases the love in the world, and deepens relationships and bonds between people.
Failing to express love is one of the deepest and most painful regrets known to humankind. How many times have you heard someone say: “I wish I could tell him how much I cared about him, but… we just don’t talk like that in my family” or “before my dad died, we had just had an awful fight; I wish I could take back my words and tell him how much I looked up to him” or “I wish I could tell her I loved her one more time.”
In addition to simply adding beauty to the world, when I consistently invest positive energy this way into the “love-relationship bank,” my relationships are more robust. This is a nice way of describing that when I do or say something stupid or hurtful, my loved ones tend to forgive me more easily.
Often, I believe the loving words, but sometimes I don’t or can’t. My response at those times is to blush, stammer, say I don’t deserve it, deflect the praise and change the subject. Sometimes I go so far as to get angry at myself for being hypocritical, since I “know” that I don’t deserve any of that love.
I use my mental response to my expression of self-love as a barometer for my mood. I have battled the bleak miasmic malaise of depression for most of my life. Honestly this self-love mantra is as much a survival skill as a desire to make the world a better place.
I spent 6 months without hot water a number of years ago, and it was such a miserable experience that to this day I am mind-numbingly soul-shriekingly grateful for hot showers every single time I step into one. I use this instant-gratitude-creating moment to invigorate my self-love, confessing faith in myself and describing what I appreciate about my heart, mind, soul, psyche and body.
If my reaction to these self-loving statements is an acceptance and a warm glow, I go on with my day as planned.
However, if my reaction to these self-loving statements is anger or despair, I immediately instigate plans for emergency soul-feeing self-care activities for the day. I sing love songs, stupid songs or funny songs. I engage with life. I dance with wild abandon. I watch uplifting movies. I call friends I know I can cry with. I seek safe, structured alone time, or surrounded-by-friends social time, or whatever I need.
What I don’t do is allow myself to isolate, pull into myself and curl up into a fetal ball and try to disappear. That way lies madness, and sadness, and badness. God knows I’ve been there, and it’s not a pretty place.
I create and invoke these self-loving statements every day, whether I believe them or not. I devise them based on my sincere feelings of the moment, and what I am grateful for. They don’t treat depression, and this is not empty “think positive and everything will be all right” drivel. This is razor-sharp honesty and sincerity expressing the value I know I bring to the world through my love, and taking care of myself when I feel like I can’t, or don’t deserve to.
An example: I feel excruciatingly guilty because I couldn’t provide emotional support to a friend who was struggling through a harrowing experience. She called me for help yesterday, but I had nothing to offer. I am physically ill and have no energy, motivation, drive or ability to go outside myself and provide the level of compassion and caring that I normally would.
But you know what? I am doing my best. Even if I’m not satisfied with what I am doing, and I know that better is possible, I am doing my best at this very moment, and for that I am thankful, and grateful, and beautiful. But I also suck, too. But it’s okay to suck sometimes. When you know you’re truly giving your best, then that’s all you can ask for.
Believing That Others Can Love Me
But if it’s something that I do, feel, offer to others, create, or shine, then I start saying their praise to myself for the next couple days to help myself believe it. And it works. Well, I might as well be honest. It works sometimes. But it never causes me harm
I work hard, I care, I have compassion, I raise other people up, and when I appreciate those things in myself, others’ words of praise enter me so much more deeply.
When I don’t already believe their words in my heart, their love bounces off my outer protective sphere and doesn’t even enter into the most superficial layers of my being. It simply doesn’t resonate with me. So I do everything in my power to fix that.
When I do believe their words in my heart, though, it is like I am accepting their golden-glowing nurturing love directly into my soul. And that feeling makes the world go around.
So yes, I am going to continue saying “I love you” to those around me, and to myself. And make the world a better place.
Do you speak loving words to yourself and others? Do you believe them, and do they believe you? How does it affect you and your relationships when you do believe?
Respond in the comments below!