I have to admit that I’m not sure which of these blogging challenge topics I find more difficult: those which require me to cherish parts of my body; voice (what I tend to think are) smug self-satisfied thoughts; or those which require me to delve deeply into the chasm that I call my mind (and the dark place aka my soul)!
Today’s topic is definitely the latter. It is: Loving others.
I have already shared how important it is to recognize others’ love for us. Accepting love from others can threaten the walls we build around ourselves. We fear breaking down all our defenses because it may reveal our weakness, hurt, and shame. We cannot keep those defenses though. Not only do they make it hard to accept love from others, but they also make it hard to give love to others.
When I lived my life secluded in the hard shell of depression, binging, and negativity, not only could I not see others reach out to me but I didn’t want to reach out to them. I hated my loneliness but I put on a happy face as much as possible to appease others so they wouldn’t come too close. I felt I had no love to give.
My faith and allowing myself to attempt new relationships played a large part in opening my eyes to the importance of loving others. Now, I love hard. I even extend my love to strangers. I believe in random acts of kindness, the power of a smile, and how a polite conversation with someone for even just one minute can make a difference. And I always feel better about the world and myself after such actions. The only way to feel love deep down is to give it and receive it. It’s what we were made to do. If we deny that part of ourselves something will always feel missing, making it that much harder to fully love ourselves.
How are you going to show love to someone this week?
Well, at least you haven’t got to put up with me whinging that no one loves me, or that I’m unlovable. This time it isn’t about me, but about others. In the ‘why am I lovable’ post (that wasn’t actually called that of course) I talked about my family and my friends. I admitted that they love me and care about me. As I do them. But do I always show them?
I’ve talked before about my hermit-like behaviour during the times that I was binge-eating. I would lock myself away and eat to my heart’s content. Unless I was going to insult them tremendously I often refused invitations or feigned busy-ness instead. I was there when they REALLY needed me but preferred not to be.
I’d like to think that my behaviour has changed a little. I’d like to think that NOW my eating doesn’t come before everything else. Well… perhaps I’m not 100 percent there yet, but I’m getting there.
I know I talk a lot about being self-absorbed and selfish, but (egad! Arrogance alert!!!) I wonder if I am as bad as I say/think I am. I would do ANYTHING for my parents and my niece and some of my friends. Indeed, I put them before me most of the time. I care deeply. Sometimes. Writing this I realise I do give love to others… but I wonder if they recognise that. I’d like to think so, but perhaps I should ask some of them to see if they agree. Perhaps I don’t appreciate them in the way I should.
I try to show my appreciation for strangers all of the time. I am always conscious that people are quick to offer complaints, but not to offer praise. There have now been many occasions that I have provided positive feedback after good service. I phoned a blinds company when the installer was excellent. I contacted a furniture company when the delivery men were particularly helpful. And I emailed RACQ Roadside Assist to tell them what a great experience I had with them when I had a flat car battery. Late last year I emailed a local “Good Guys” Electrical Store to praise a very helpful staff member. I was tickled pink when I received an email back from the manager, advising that the employee in question was a valued member of staff and received much praise. He said he was going to read out my email at their staff meeting the next morning and it would go on her file. It was the first time I’d heard the ‘outcome’ of my feedback and I was chuffed.
So I agree with Tina’s words above… that it is the random acts of kindness which can make a difference in others’ lives. And perhaps kindness to, or consideration for, complete strangers is as important as showing those I love how much I care. I know that my day has been ‘made’ and the tone set when the very-friendly train announcer tells us what a fabulous morning it is and wishes we commuters a good day – rather than just announcing the upcoming train station. (I suspect they rotate her around different train lines because I’ve only come across her a few times and she could possibly become annoying if one was exposed to her chirpiness day after day!)
So… what I will aim to do from here is be more tolerant of others and act in a way that perhaps makes their day.