That we need to embrace all of who we are, even the parts we aren’t proud of. We need to learn how to love even the darkness that we hide from the rest of the world, the imperfections, the insecurities, the need for acceptance, for validation, for love.
We know that without loving ourselves, we can’t possibly love another fully. Without loving ourselves, we cannot receive the love we desire from another, no matter how badly we want it.
I’m guessing we all know that is the truth. But what about the times when loving yourself is just not enough? What about those times when you feel alone, betrayed, lost, or confused? Those times when the love you have for yourself is buried so deep that you cannot possibly go deep enough to find it. You don’t have the energy for it. You don’t have the willingness to go and get it one more time. You feel done. You feel abandoned and are not quite sure how to move forward.
I remember a time like that, when it seemed as if everything in my life fell away at once. My marriage ended; my business was falling apart; I wasn’t the mother I wanted to be, the sister, daughter or friend I used to be. The life that I had so carefully crafted to look perfect on the outside didn’t look perfect anymore. I could no longer hide the fact that I was flawed. I had tried to hide all my imperfections for so long that I had no idea what it was like to be honest about who I was and what I wanted. I couldn’t remember the last time that I was honest about those things. I didn’t know how to tell the truth to myself, much less my family, my friends or the world.
I felt empty and had nothing left to give. Everything I knew was stripped away and I had to figure out where to go from there. Who would love me now? Could I even love myself? I couldn’t answer those questions. All I could do was survive. My goal was to get through each day without completely falling apart. It was at that time of my life that I totally understood why people took their lives. I never seriously considered it, but for the first time ever, I understood. The despair and loneliness can feel overwhelming.
There were a couple significant things that got me through. One was my faith in more than just me. I remember feeling so grateful for my faith in a God who loved me and a belief that there was more to life than this lifetime and more to this lifetime than this moment. I knew that no matter how bad things felt right now, that things would feel better. I didn’t know when they would feel better, but I knew they would. That helped me tremendously.
The other thing that helped me get through this dark night of the soul were the people in my life who truly loved me unconditionally. I am so fortunate to have a few people in my life who have given me that rare gift. I knew that I could pick up the phone, any time of the day or night and I say ANYTHING to them and they would be there for me. They would listen to me, they would cry with me and they would tell me that things sucked right now and no matter what, they would always be by my side. I knew things would get better. I knew the pain would pass. But in that moment, more than anything, I needed a beloved friend to remind me what I already knew.
The best advice I can give when loving yourself doesn’t feel like enough to get you through to the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, is that it’s time to reach out. That’s the time to find someone you can trust with your pain, someone who won’t try to fix you, won’t try to coach you through it, but who will simply hold you and let you weep. Someone who can say, “I’ve been there and I understand.” Someone who will hold the space for you to feel all that you’re feeling and at the same time let you know that things will get better; that the pain will pass and the sun will come out again.
It’s true that loving ourselves is the foundation of every other relationship we have. And the more we love ourselves the more we can give and receive love. And sometimes, when we can’t find it in ourselves to feel that love coming from within, the love from a close friend or family member can make help us make it through the pain to the other side.
So, when it feels like loving yourself isn’t enough, let that be okay. And let it be your reminder that it is time to reach out beyond yourself. Reach out to someone who will allow you to cry, to feel like shit and not try to fix it for you. Someone who will love you more than you can love yourself in that moment.
And if you don’t think you have someone like that in your life, if you’re not sure who that person may be, I suggest you get really quiet and ask Spirit to show you. Ask for loving arms to hold you and loving ears to hear your pain. Sometimes simply the act of asking opens us up to a Grace that we wouldn’t have felt otherwise. You’re not alone. Look up, reach out and ask for help. It will be there for you in some form, if you simply ask and open your heart to receive it. I truly believe that.