So what does self care mean? For me it is loving myself! But what does love mean? For me it means loving yourself and hope in humanity, your self and God!
I want to give you hope by defining love, really spell it out, to help you know what it looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells and tastes like. Few of us in this day and age really know what love is. We think we know but either we tend to over complicate it or over simplify it or romanticise it or eroticise it. I want to really understand what love means to help you renew some meaning in your life and enhance your relationship with yourself and others.
In this day and age wherever we live or whatever we do, I know most of us often do not pause for breath. Most of us do not know how to slow down! I do not just mean slowing down practically or physically but emotionally, spiritually and psychologically and especially in terms of how much information we digest. In the age of information overload how many of us slow down to reflect on who we are, where we are going and why are we heading in that direction? In this day and age we are so connected by technology
but at the same time so disconnected from ourselves and those nearest to us. I really want you to connect with yourself and those around you and emerge from the drowning sea of the different roles and responsibilities that you feel you are swimming in. I also
pray that it leads you to invest in self care that most of us are increasingly forgetting to do or feel we do not have time to do or more dangerously feel it is not important to do. We usually feel self-care is a luxury because of how we have been brought up or shamed into feeling. Most of us regard self care as selfish, narcissistic, or self-indulgent or the domain for the elite, the super-rich and privileged among us, reserved for a few.
However self-care and loving yourself is as necessary as breathing. Self-care actually preserves the human race. Isn’t it self evident that only if you love yourself, you will know how to love someone else. You can only give when you receive. You only know how to receive when you give! You cannot give from an empty heart. You cannot drink from an empty cup. You cannot pour from an empty vessel. If your heart hasn’t received any love how can you love? An obvious question but very few people ask it. It is just assumed that it is natural among human beings to love! It is intrinsic within us to love! We are wired to love!
But how do we love when some of us have never known love? And there are people who have never known love. They may have experienced care. Most of us experience care. Only a few of us experience love? I have always been perplexed by the fact that love is hardly ever defined, broken down explained or demonstrated. It is just alluded to in all these self help books I read.
So I want to demystify love including loving yourself. Stay with me and what puzzled you about love or drove you crazy about love will no longer. Take this journey with me to love, through love, with love and let’s find love so many frantically seek yet so many find so elusive.
So let me start by demystifying it and define it. These past few months I have been dwelling on love. Some close to me will accuse me of thinking too much, reflecting too much. Some will laugh. Few will admit that they have these same questions but I know most people who have a pulse and are breathing do think about and want and search for love. Not just on Valentines Day but most of their lives. There are some fortunate people who experience love at a very young age and continue experiencing it for the rest of their lives. They know how to receive love and give love. But most of us only experience care and affection very rarely love. They are not the same thing yet they are often confused as being the same. To care for someone is not the same as taking care of
someone. Both caring for someone or taking care of someone involve loving but this is not all that love is. Many would agree love is a concept so surrounded in mystery yet the word is used in a multiple of ways leaving many to misuse it! I feel, the word especially
in this day and age has lost its meaning.
Love many understand as a feeling. Love is a noun. Surely it is a verb?
I have always understood that love requires some effort some energy. It is not just a feeling as feelings come and go. We all know one can be in love with someone and then be out of love the next day. But what I want to explore is not limited to romantic and sexual love. Many understand that the opposite of love is indifference not hate. I know instinctively hate and love are just different sides of the same coin. They both require energy. If you have encountered indifference you know it can feel like death,
your spirit feels crushed and you lose the will to live and love. Indifference results in all joy being sucked out of life. Indifference does not require any energy or effort and perhaps that is why it kills any will to live and love.
bell hooks makes a valid point in her book “all about love” NEW VISIONS
As a society we are embarrased by love. We treat it as if it were an obscenity. We reluctantly admit to it. From saying the word makes us stumble and blush…Love is the most important thing in our lives, a passion for which we would fight or die, and yet we’re reluctant to linger over its names. Without a supple vocabulary, we can’t even talk or think about it directly. DIANE ACKERMAN
But at the same time I notice as a human race that we are all hungry and thirsty for love.
Love and belonging are one of our basic human needs. Yet I wonder why in this day and age, there is so much difficulty in defining love or admitting to love.
My field recently has started to be referred to as Social Care. I have always known I am in one of the Caring Professions. I am a Social Worker. I prefer to be known as a Social Worker working in Social Services rather than as a practitioner in Social Care. Why? This
is because social work implies you have to put some effort in your daily practice. I know by working for a Social Services Department, I am providing a Service. I am serving others. I like to see my work as a way of serving God by serving humanity in need. Care, I find is too loose a word or concept to really encompass what Social Workers do. Indeed care is different from love. I have always regarded my job as a labour of love. Now in starting this Coaching and Consultancy business since January 2018, I am proud to regard my endeavours as a labour of love. I love coaching in the evenings and weekends. Many do not understand the importance of extending love to one’s work but for me it is vital. I cannot be indifferent to my work. I love Coaching. It has always been my passion to help and heal.Helping and healing
people is my life’s purpose.
I also know to be a good Coach, one needs to love oneself so one can provide that safe space and energy to be there for others. Otherwise it just doesn’t work. It cannot work. It is not enough to care for others. Care doesn’t quite cut it. There will be
no fire to push others beyond their comfort zones. I know caring requires the minimum energy. But most of us experience care in our lives. Many of us feel cared for and care for others but that is not the same as love. I will repeat again care and affection
are not the same as love. I sincerely believe that we abuse the name of love like we abuse the name of God. I often wonder why in Islam and Judaism there is a hidden and secret name for God. To protect the name from being demeaned? God doesn’t need protection but names do. Names lead to understanding, experiencing and defining others and experiences. Names are your persona and your personality and give you character. Persona comes from the Greek word which means mask. I have been wondering lately do we hide behind
our names? Do they mask our real selves? Is love usually masked? How can we really know love?
bell hooks contemplates the question well:
It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our heart as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart. JACK KORNFIELD
Like bell hooks I was in my mid twenties when I first came to understand love
as the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one own’s or another’s spiritual growth
M SCOTT PECK
However although my intellect hungrily took Peck’s definition in back then as a twenty year old, it was only my mind that grabbed the meaning. My heart and soul did not grab the essence of that definition. Now nearly turning 50 and so nearly living for half a century, I see this extending oneself for the real adventure it is. The effort and extension it requires of going beyond one’s comfort zone and finding the love within yourself, those around you and in God. However this adventure is not for the faint hearted.
I know most people do not want to extend themselves. Most people do not want to spiritually grow. Some will find this realisation surprising but in my personal and professional life I have found only a few have the courage to love to extend oneself. This is
because it leads oneself to ask questions. This extension requires one to face some inner demons, some hidden fears, some hidden desires and buried dreams, buried so deeply we nearly forgot about them. This can be very uncomfortable and I know most people tend to deny these hidden demons, fears and desires. While some of these hidden demons, fears and desires do not require years of therapy, what becomes our undoing is the denial of dreams that are buried so deep they ferment and bubble and transform into depression,
psycho-somatic illnesses, anxiety, resentment towards those around us, blaming others for not pursuing them and an endless list of misery I do not want to name them here but Steven Pressfield talks about this in his book the War of Art:
I instinctively know that to extend oneself requires to extend to oneself first and that is such a major ingredient of love. This extending to one self is asking questions What do I want? Where am I going? How do I feel about myself? How do I like spending my time? What do I enjoy? Who do I enjoy being with? What do I love about myself? What do I really want to change in my life? Am I happy in my life? How do I talk about myself to myself? Do I have any dreams? What am I grateful for? What do I want to change about myself? Why? Where do I see myself in six month’s time? One year’s time? Five years time? Do I see myself? Is this how I saw myself five years ago being the person I am now? What do I enjoy eating? What do I enjoy tasting? What do I like hearing? Whose
voice do I like to hear? What do I like to touch? What do I like to feel? Who and what helps me feel alive, loved, happy? There are so many questions. Perhaps some of these are my questions? Perhaps these are your questions you occasionally ask yourself? But I know sometimes the questions are so much more important than the answers.
The world’s major religions often if you explore them carefully have more questions than answers. Most people do not even want to ask these questions.
My question to you is do you want to invest in yourself? If not know then when? Do you want to some clarity and direction to your life? If you do then please schedule a call with me using the link below!