#bodysoulsunday: What Can Love Do For You?
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
This week at the spiritual service I attend, the question was posed “What would love do?”, in the wake of yet another school shooting and the chaos surrounding that, we were called to consider what could love do in the face of challenging social times such as these?
Those of us in attendance were asked to consider what we each could do this week to reflect love ever greater in to the world. It started me thinking not only about what I could, but also asking the question “What does it take to let love guide our lives?”
I don’t believe that self love is merely about mantras in the mirror and bubble baths and manicures. None of that stuff really has any affect if there isn’t fertile ground inside our souls in which to take in the nutrients from those experiences.
Instead, self love is an inside job. When we commit to truly taking care of ourselves, regardless of what the critical voices in our head say, we commit to loving ourselves.
And so it dawns on me that when in considering what love can do, we must first acknowledge and recognize that love means you believe the thing you are loving deserves the love you are offering.
Consider the way you treat someone you love deeply. You don’t put them off, ignore them, chastise them when they don’t do something exactly the way you think they should. You make time for the people you love, you want them to feel good and you prioritize spending quality time with them.
The question to ponder is whether or not you are treating yourself with that same regard and respect. And if you don’t, why not?
We likely both know the answer to that question- it sounds similar for most of us- cultural conditioning, negative family stories and values that culminated in us denying our own worth and value. It’s a common refrain for many women (and likely many men as well) but it is of serious detriment in our world that needs love more than ever.
The old adage is truer here than anywhere, you can’t give what you don’t have. Not fully anyway- the love you can give when you are full looks and feels a whole lot different than the love you feel when you don’t like yourself and are looking outside yourself for the thing you haven’t given yourself.
I know the old refrain here. You have lots of reasons why you don’t have time or struggle with caring for yourself.
Those reasons likely have some validity to them, but they don’t hold the same amount of validity or importance as you truly caring for yourself in the way that love cares for someone.
This is your invitation to do the radical act of doing what love would do; turning that love you give others onto yourself and filling your own well.
What does it look like to love yourself? It means giving yourself the things you want others to give you- respect, attention, kindness, compassion. When you’re disappointed or hurt, do you criticize yourself or do you soothe yourself the way you would a child or a friend?
It means prioritizing yourself and your needs- like taking care of your health, attending to the needs of your heart and soul, honoring what the still small voice inside asks of you.
I like asking myself the question, when faced with something in my life where I maybe wouldn’t be so nice to myself, I like asking myself the question “What would love do here?” It transforms the experience from one where my ingrained impulse might be to judge and critique myself to one where I slow down and consider how I could be with myself through the lens of love.
There are lots of other ways to fill yourself up with love. What is one way you’d do this for yourself?