What does it really mean to choose love? It sounds good, but we humans tend to overcomplicate it. So, what does choosing love really look like?
I can tell you that at this moment, I can see it clearly. However, tomorrow I might get fogged up again. I'm writing this just as much for me, as I am for you. I need this, which is exactly where love starts - with you! You have to love yourself first. Right now, we are living in a disconnected world where a lot of people are faking it.
So what does loving yourself even mean? What does it look like? Well, let's start with where you seek your value. Are you seeking it from others? Do you judge yourself by your social media account? I have 1000 followers, so I'm pretty lovable! I just made a viral video, so people love me! I was promoted at work, so I'm pretty awesome! I have a great relationship with all my kids, and if they love me, I must be lovable!
All that's great, but what happens if you lose those social media followers? What happens when your viral video stops "viraling"? What happens when you don't get that promotion? What happens when one of your kids acts out and doesn't act so loving? Now how valuable are you?
If you are seeking your love from an outside source, you give that outside source the power to crush you. In fact, it's very likely it will. Jobs end. Relationships end. Social media posts are temporary. Then what? You can find another job. You can replace relationships. You can make new posts. You can keep feeding that hungry animal inside you that just needs to be fed love from the outside world. Or....you can start giving yourself the love you need. If you want to change the world, start with you!
So how do you love yourself anyways? Simple. Stop defining yourself by the needs and desires of others. Learn who you are. God didn't put you here to be defined by your career, your spouse, your kids or your social media posts. He doesn't grade you on the size of your house, your car or your clothes. We are here to love. Period. End of story. Mic drop.
Easy right?! WRONG! So what does it mean to choose love? Well, here's some ideas:
When scrolling on social media and you find a post that angers you, don't attack the other person. Choose love. Love asks hard questions and pulls roots. If you aren't ready for those questions, keep scrolling, or just take that moment to get off social media. Love doesn't attack. It not only hurts the other person, it hurts you for going there. It's like walking into a fire thinking you will save someone, but you end up tackling them to the ground and fighting and the fire kills both of you.
When someone asks you to do something you don't want to do, choose love. We are made to believe that means giving the other person what they want. WRONG! I'm not telling you to become selfish and not think of others, but we somehow live in a society where we think being loving means we give away a piece of ourselves on a daily basis.
Imagine yourself as a jigsaw puzzle. If I reluctantly keep giving pieces away, not only will I have an incomplete puzzle, but one day, I won't have any pieces left. Don't get there. Value your puzzle pieces. Learn to say no, for the love of YOU! If someone really loves you, I mean with sincerity and genuineness, they will respect your no. We are teaching people how to treat us and you are teaching yourself that what you want doesn't matter. That's not love.
Do what you love. Yes, we all have to work to survive, and that often means doing things we don't love. Believe me, I get that. We have bills to pay. We have dishes to do. Work needs to happen, but that doesn't mean you can't commit to finding something daily that honors what you love. Maybe it's art, or dancing, writing, music or nature. Live there as much as you can, physically and in your mind.
Here's a little known fact. Your mind doesn't know the difference between where you are and what you are imagining. That's right, if you are imagining yourself in a happy place, you might as well be there. So, if your mind is in your happy place, it thinks your body is there also. If you can't be at the ocean, just take the time to imagine it daily. If you can't spend 8 hours doing what you love, take at least a few minutes everyday imagining it instead. Invest in you. The investment will pay off and one day you just may end up finding yourself doing what you love as your actual job. Now that's something beautiful to imagine!
Find what brings you peace. If scrolling on social media disrupts your peace, get off. If going to a store right now unsettles you, order online. If watching the news trips you up, turn it off. If eating unhealthy makes you feel bad about yourself, start cleaning it up. Start small, but start somewhere. Honor your commitments to yourself. If I tell someone I will meet them at the gym, that's a promise. If I tell myself I will go the gym, that's just a passing thought that can be broken. We honor our commitments to others, but not to ourselves. That's not love.
Right now, our world is in turmoil. We are in a great awakening. I believe this will lead us to better, but before we get there, we are going to have to walk in some gunk. I've walked thru some nasty muck in my life, but I can promise you, once you walk out, you aren't the same person. You'll be better!
The journey to growth, healing and making this world better, starts with you. We can't fix our kids. We can't fix our spouse. We can't fix our neighbor. We can't fix our parents. We can't fix our friends on social media. We can't fix the news. We can't fix our community. We can't fix our president. Do we play a role in how all this goes, absolutely, but we need to stop trying to fix everyone else and focus on fixing ourselves. Start there. Choose you. Choose love.
Angela Miller is an an RN and Professional Life Coach passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self, emotionally and physically. For more information, visit www.soaringforward.com.