How to Choose Love: Where to begin

Guys, choosing love is fucking hard. You would think it would be like all sunshine and roses, but it’s not. It’s not. It’s hard ass work. What could possibly be so hard about loving others? Great question. The short answer? Everything.

Think about it. When you choose love, you must choose it in every moment. You can’t be selective and say, I choose love when fighting with my husband. You have to also choose love when arguing with those whose political views you don’t agree with. You have to choose love when rehashing your childhood abuse. You have to choose love when that jackass cuts you off in traffic. And, you have to choose love in the moments when someone is actively hating you.

Let me start out by saying that this is definitely a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t just wake up one day, say you choose love, and it’s done. It’s a process and a practice, much like gratitude. You have to wake up, choose love, then walk through your day practicing it.

So, where do you begin? You really won’t like this, but it all begins with yourself. You must love yourself first. You are only capable of loving another as much as you love yourself. Let me repeat, you can not love another more than you love yourself. It’s just not possible. That makes you a great place to start. Let go of worrying about loving others (it will continue to happen naturally) and focus on only yourself. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Begin to break down old thought patterns that keep you stuck in your continuous loop of self-loathing. We all have a voice inside that offers up words of discouragement far more often than words of encouragement. It says things like, Who do you think you are? Are you even thinking about their (anyone else) feelings? You are too fat/thin/lazy. You have no time. How do you have no time? Clearly you aren’t managing time well. Lies. These are all lies. One of the hardest things you will need to learn to do is break through these lies and see the truth of who you are and that is ultimately love. You are love. You are human and make mistakes, but every given moment is an opportunity to return to your true self – love. You are worthy. Remind yourself of that every moment you can.
  • Practice amazing self-care. This is everything from meditating (or finding some form of alone time to be with your thoughts) to getting manicures if you so choose. This is about doing things that aren’t for anyone else but you. It’s those things that up until now have caused you to feel guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with your family or at work or wherever you feel pulled. This is tough because it means setting boundaries but they must be set. Make no excuses for your need to care for yourself. Mark down time on your calendar and treat it as any other mandatory appointment. As before, you can only care for others up to the point that you care for yourself. This is especially true of caregivers who often feel even more guilt than most. You can not give the care that is required of you unless you’ve already given it to yourself.
  • Speak your Truth. Be unapologetically you. The hard part about this one is that by being you, you give yourself others permission to do the same. The problem with that is they will then be forced to look at their own junk and get uncomfortable. Sometimes this results in backlash. Stand your ground and be firm in your Truth. You have a voice equal to theirs and every right to speak up. Whatever is happening in their story is no fault of yours so do not accept any blame. Simply witness them in their story and muster as much compassion as possible. If that’s not possible, then you may need to walk away. Remember that by using your voice, you are not only freeing yourself, but you are giving permission to others to free themselves as well and that is an undeniably beautiful gift.
  • Surround yourself with your Tribe. Finding your tribe can feel so overwhelming at times. (Your tribe are the people who share your goals and ideals. They are your encouragers and motivators. They are the ones who will hold you accountable while showing empathy.) Especially if you are new to an area or have recently switched jobs. Begin by showing up. What are your interests? Go out and do them. Pray to whoever or whatever you believe in. Pray for tribe members to find you. Be open and willing to accept them in your life. The more you step forth in an attempt to find them, the faster they will find their way to you.

No, this won’t be an easy road. Yes, sometimes the pain feels unbearable. The thing I want you to pay attention to though is that small little spark way down deep inside. When you hurt, notice it. The stronger you get at choosing love, the more you will feel that spark. I call it hope, but it may feel different for you. It’s difficult to describe, but when I am sharing with friends the pain I have felt, all I can say is, “It’s ok that I felt that pain because I knew it had purpose. I felt the need to walk through it because I knew that peace lay on the other side of it.” And, what do you know? Peace is waiting there for me every time.

Sending you love and light. {HUG}

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