FlyLady column by Marla Cilley
It is not something that we can buy and hold in our hands; it is a word that is filled with action. Love is a verb. This word is not just a feeling; it is a doing. For years, all I ever wanted was to feel loved. That did not happen because I was looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song says. I was not going to find this love coming at me and surrounding me as a fog. I was not going to feel this love from other people. I was searching so hard for this love that I never dreamed that it was hiding right inside of me. The reason we have a hard time finding this love is that the clutter we have in our heads is standing in the way. When we can address this most personal of our Body Clutter, we will begin finding what we are looking for.
Men and women equate love much differently. For a man to show love, he often reveals it in actions; checking our tires, changing the oil, he is doing something. He may not be good at sentimental cards and flowers, which is how we women equate love. This is why we need to look at the various ways that love is done. How do you love your children? You feed them, dress them, bathe them, and do things for them. We do the same thing for the critters in our lives. We scratch their ears and rub their bellies. Robert explained this to me this morning. A few years ago our hound dog, Lucy, died, and we got another sweet hound dog. He said that he could sit in his chair and think about how much he loves this new dog, or he could get up and go over and pet her. Then he would be loving on her, and she would feel his love for her. It would not be a passive experience just for him, but a shared event for both of them.
Then he turned this around. He said when we are loving ourselves, we are the giver and the recipient at the same time. That is when he headed out the door to play in the woods. This is one thing that he loves to do. When you are doing things that you love, you are loving yourself. With our FLYing way of life, we only surround ourselves with things we love. We turn chores into blessings and release the stress from our lives by using routines to put us on autopilot. These are all forms of love, but in our female definition of love, this is just stuff we have to do.
We have to find ways to show ourselves love the way we understand it and will recognize it as love. But since we are doing it for ourselves, we just don’t accept it in the same way we would if it came from someone else. This is why we have a new pampering habit for December. These are little things that we can do each day to pamper ourselves. They can be anything that you can think of to do something nice for you. You can snuggle with a cup of warmth or curl up with a favorite book or magazine. Settle into a tub of bubbles or put on some of your favorite music. Pick up a flower at the grocery store so that every time you look at it you will smile. Light candles in your home or put crystals in the window so that rainbows dance across your room. These always make me smile.
I was taught many years ago by Rita Davenport to fake it ’til you make it. I didn’t really know what that meant ’til recently; I just did like she said. Fake it till you make it is nothing but practicing ’til a habit becomes automatic. Imagine that – practicing loving ourselves with little habits that tell us we are loved by the person who does those little things that make us feel the love we so deserve. The martyr goes away, and you are surrounded by the loving feeling that you have been searching for.
So practice loving yourself first by simple actions, and eventually you will not do things that you don’t love, and you will not have items in your home that do not put a smile on your face. This act of love is as contagious as your shining sink. You are just shining your heart.
Are you ready to Finally Love Yourself? One little habit at a time.