Are You Having a Love Affair with YOURSELF?

HappyBalloons-PhotopinSeveral years ago, my pal Dayna called me and said, “I’m walking down a new path, starting today. I’m going to have a love affair with myself. I’m taking a room at the beach and doing nothing but be kind to myself for the next week.”

I hung up the phone and thought, “Wow!”

Although we can’t all go to the beach for a week, we sure can try out the first part and get the hug-um/squeeze-um/love-ums on with ourselves. [Get your mind out of the gutter.]

I’m thinking about Dayna today, and I’m convinced she had the right idea.

If you don’t love on yourself, how are you going to be in any shape to love on someone else?

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Margaret Paul. I’ve posted on her before and she always makes me think. A few weeks back she did a post called Ecstatic Moments on HuffPost. She talks about “those moments when the love or joy feels so big you think you’re going to burst.”

I adore those moments, and prize them for their purity. And they can come from so many directions:

  • Holding my honey’s hand in a busy restaurant
  • Writing a great sentence
  • A quiet hour in my garden
  • The sound of the Little Bean singing in her crib

Dr. Paul’s post made me pause and pay attention. (And of course I wanted to share the best parts of it with you!)

The key to having of these [ecstatic] moments is that you also have to be willing to feel the pain of life — the heartbreak, loneliness, grief and helplessness over others and over events.

…painful feelings exist in the same place in the heart, so if you close down to the pain of life, you also close down to the joy of life.

The challenge is that you might never have learned how to manage the pain of life, so you might be protecting against it in numerous ways.

When your heart is closed, you cannot feel the joy of life.

Love is what spirit is, what God is, and when your heart is open to love, you get filled up with love. When your heart is closed due to protecting against feeling the pain of life, then the love and the joy of life cannot enter. If you want more ecstatic moments in your life, then you need to learn how to lovingly manage the pain of life, rather than continue to avoid it.

Compassion feels wonderful, but you can’t just wait for someone else to give it to you. [You must give it to yourself!]

When your intent is to love yourself rather than protect against pain, then the door is open for compassion to enter your heart. This is what keeps your heart open to both the pain and the love and joy of life.

*  *  *  *  *

The moral of the story: if you want to feel those “drunk on the joy of life moments,” it’s time to start up that mad, torrid love affair with yourself.

What do you think? Are Dayna and Dr. Paul full of crap, or are these two ladies onto something? How are you doing in the self-love department? What gives you those ecstatic moments? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

photo credit: Camdiluv ♥ via photopin cc

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! My passion is finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com). Write on!
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16 Responses to Are You Having a Love Affair with YOURSELF?

  1. Interesting and thought-provoking. ‘When your heart is closed due to protecting against feeling the pain of life, then the love and the joy of life cannot enter.’ This is exactly where I am at the moment. Because of all the hurt, my defences are up and very little joy reaches me. I vow to break this cycle – somehow…
    Thank you for the insight

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Andrew, I’m so sorry you’re going through such a rough period in your life. I firmly believe that if you just keep on doing the next thing, eventually the sadness and grief begin to fade. If not, I’m a huge fan of counseling. :-)

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  2. My goal for this year was to be kinder to myself, and already it’s working :) I’ve felt better this year than I have in a LOOOOONG time :D

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  3. zkullis says:

    I think those ladies are spot on. We measure our experiences by their extremes. Most of us enjoy a beautiful sunset, or at least take a moment to look at one on occasion. Imagine what it would be like for a person that has been blind their whole life to gain their sight and see their first sunset. Or somebody that has been deaf their whole life and hears a loved one’s voice for the first time. They place a higher value on those things because they’ve experienced the other extreme.

    Emotions are like that. Those people who have experienced the most horrific anguish are also capable of experiencing immense joy. I think the answer lies in loving yourself enough to believe you are capable and worthy of having as much happiness as possible.

    As far as I am with this personally, I’m speaking out of both sides of my mouth. I’m not very good at loving myself for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is I’m pretty damned critical of myself. The other reason is I usually find myself trying to take care of others first. It’s the whole oxygen mask in the airplane theory – if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect to do something for others. It is just as applicable to love as it is to so many other things.

    So my goal is to have a torrid love affair with myself in the near future. I don’t know where, I don’t know exactly how or when, but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to accept my own invitation, and I won’t even need to pump drinks into myself. ;)

    Great post Jen!

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  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny what a fab post! You are absolutely right…it can be scary to open yourself up to pain, but it’s the other side of the coin.

    Our peeps can help us through it!

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  5. Well, I don’t know if I will ever have a love affair with myself. But, I am working on opening up my heart more to receive joy and love. Sometimes we close ourselves up as a self-protective mechanism when we muddle through a bunch of crap and we get stuck. I find that gratitude opens up the floodgates to love, which joy is so much a part of. Excellent post today my friend! I hope you smother yourself in lots of love! :)

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  6. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    I am one of those that agree with the notion that one must love yourself to be fully ready to love another.

    Then again, there are those who perform plenty of self love on themselves. That can lead to sore wrists, depleted lotion, and a lack of Kleenex!

    Happy Valentine’s day sexy lady!

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  7. Sharla Rae says:

    One time a minister I heard said we are also judged for our thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts aren’t too nice–like when I smile on the out slde but really am thinking, “what a jerk.” So I don’t often think about loving myself because of the impure thought thing. Ha! But I get what your going for here and I do agree we all need to be kinder to ourselves once in a while and give ourselves a break. After losing my son this past July, every moment became more precious. I was like- why didn’t I take more pictures, more movies etc.? But I do cherish every moment I spent with him as a caretaker. We had some really good belly laughs like when he came out of his bedroom pointing behind him and yelling that the biggest bug in TX was sleeping in his bed. Admittedly, it truly “was” the biggest bug in TX!

    When I was a kid my parents said, pay attention, enjoy life and cherish your youth because life, especially youth, is short. Being young I laughed and rolled my eyes. Now, I’m the old person preaching that line. :)

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  8. This is one of your finest posts, Jenny. Thanks for sharing. I agree we must love and accept ourselves (so difficult to do at times) before we can be our best for others. Have a wonderful week! :)

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