I imagine that inside each of us is a bowl, and that bowl holds the love we have for ourselves.
Many people have an empty or shallow bowl, where the love they have for themself is very little. The reason they have very little for themselves could be due to many reasons.
They could dislike themselves, and have very little love for themselves because they don't like who they are. As they go through life, they continuously try to find love from others, because they know they don't have it themselves. They search for other people to love them, and give them the love that they need. But then they realise that the love from others just isn't enough. They might separate from whatever relationship they're in, as they're 'just not getting what they need', and they search for someone else to love them.
Or they could be very giving, and give away all their love to others. They do this with the idea that somehow sacrificing themselves will make them feel better about who they are and what they're doing with their life. They give because ultimately, it makes them feel good. They give because the love they get back in return is what they're looking for to fill that bowl inside of them. However, they're also left feeling unsatisfied, so they continue to give, hoping that the more they give, the more they will feel that love inside themselves.
Alternatively, the opposite occurs. They have no love inside of their bowl and they don't seek it from others. Instead, they feel resentful about others, and instead of thinking about love or even trying to get love, they instead take from others by force or deceit. Love has no meaning to them, but still they subconsciously resent not having it. As a result, they take out their resentments on others. The more they are denied love, the more they resent not getting it. Unfortunately, a cycle with no easy solution – how do you love someone trying to hurt you? That takes a lot of strength, and unfortunately, does not often work.
There are so many different instances of how people look for love outside of themselves, but they fail to realise that what they're seeking isn't external to them; it's internal. What they hope to receive from others is what they need to be giving to themselves.
How do you give to yourself what you're seeking from others?
Simple. Start caring about yourself first. Put yourself and your own needs before the needs of other people.
There's a lot of people who find this concept completely alien, and even selfish. However, to put it simply – if we don't look after ourselves, how are we going to look after anyone else?
When a lifetime has been spent of putting other people first, it's a hard habit to break of putting yourself first instead. You may even find others resent you for not giving them the attention that they're used to getting, but that's a result of the habit of receiving that has been programmed into them.
The benefit of giving to yourself first is that you will then be able to give more to others.
Back to the bowl… If you fill that bowl with love for yourself, eventually that love is going to overflow. It's the OVERFLOW of love that you can then give to others!
When you have so much love for yourself, and you're taking care of your needs first, only then can you effectively, and without need of reward or return, give that love to others.
So how do you give love to yourself?
As I said, start caring about yourself first. Start getting selfish. Do what's in your best interests. Look at yourself and the way you're living your life. Are you respectful to yourself? Are you caring for yourself? Are you doing what's in your best interests? I'm talking about mentally, physically and spiritually.
Listen to what you say to yourself all the time. Are you talking to yourself with love and respect, or are you talking to yourself with blame, denial, and negativity?
Look at your health. Are you treating yourself with respect? Are you looking after the body that is designed to last you a lifetime? Are you cutting your life short? Become healthier – it really is a gesture of respect for yourself.
Look at what you do for yourself. Do you treat yourself to special moments and activities, just for yourself? Do you do what YOU want to do every now and again? Do you give yourself time with yourself, to learn about who you really are?
We spend so much time being what others want us to be, and doing what others want us to do, that we forget who we really are. We spend our lives being what others want – our family, our friends, our colleagues. How well do you know yourself? Who are you really, beneath all those layers of being what others want you to be?
Spending time with yourself, learning about who you really are, and what you really want in your life, can be the greatest gift you could ever give yourself. Understanding what you really want can help you live the life you should be living. When you understand what YOU want, you can then start to do things that bring what you want into your life.
Instead of giving so much to others, start giving to yourself.
This is how you fill that bowl inside you. When it starts overflowing, that's when you can start giving to others. Understanding your wants and needs is the first necessary step. When you have all that you want (emotionally), and feel the best about yourself that you can feel, THEN you can start giving to others. THEN your bowl is filled with love for yourself, and you can give to others.
What you give out will then be more fulfilling for you, because you're giving without expecting anything in return. You're giving without hoping to feel love as a result, because you already feel it. You're giving because it's what you want to do, rather than what you think is expected of you.
Look after yourself. Fill that bowl inside of you with love for yourself. And then let it overflow so you can give that love to others. But make yourself number one in your life, and respect and love who you are.
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