Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel.
Each week Chel Micheline of gingerblue dot com offers her perspectives on our Bliss Habits. Please enjoy the wisdom and clarity she offers.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
“In any given situation, [there is] a choice between love and fear… Choose love.”
– Louise Hay
That Louise Hay quote is something I have hanging on my wall, just above my desk. To be honest, I’m not entirely on board with it, but I am inspired and intriqued by it, so I ponder it a little bit every day. The quote says that in life, every choice we make is based on either a place of either love or fear. And it’s best to choose from the place of love.
This is tricky for me. While I consider myself compassionate up-the-wazoo, the “love” part is difficult. I like a lot of things in life. I adore many, many things. I take a shine to a wide variety of things and people.
But love… love is a little more difficult. Especially when it comes to other people. I’ll openly admit that I’m the kind of person who cultivates love as opposed to just *having* it. I’ve always fallen in lust quite easily, but true genuine love takes years for me to build. I adored my husband the day I met him, and fell in love with him instantly, but it wasn’t until about five years of us being together that I realized how much I LOVE him.
It was the same with my daughter- the day she came home, she was my child, in every way possible. I adored her. I fell in love with her. I would give her the world. But it’s only been the last year or so that that true, deep rooted love finally settled in.
I’ve realized that when I LOVE someone or something, it almost always takes time for that feeling to build, and then settle deep inside me . But once it’s there, it’s intense. It’s permanent. Although it would be easier if I just had that love shining out of my heart for everyone at all times, no build-up required, the truth of the matter is, that’s just not who I am. And honoring that has made a huge difference in my life.
So, when I think about everything being a choice between “love” and “fear”, my initial response to that is that there is a TON of gray area in between those two extremes. And in that gray area is a lot of possibilities and emotions.
But then, recently, the whole “love” vs. “fear” thing became a little less confusing for me. I got into a conflict (read: huge, emotional argument) with someone in my family. This is a relative I feel incredibly close to, someone I feel a soul bond with that I don’t feel with too many others in my extended family. She’s like a sister to me.
The argument was sort of unexpected- there was no tension or cross words or feelings that led up to it, it just exploded as a conversation took a wrong path. During the argument, things were said that deeply hurt me, and I really felt like a boundary was not only crossed, but trampled on. And I’m sure I said some not-so-nice things in response.
We weren’t able to resolve the conflict after it happened- we both were too emotionally attached to our perspective on things. So we parted ways with no resolution, just a lot of seriously bruised feelings.
I’ll be honest- I felt attacked and betrayed. My first (and second, and third, and fourth, and tenth….) reaction was, “that’s it! I’m so done with this drama. If she loved me, she wouldn’t have said those terrible things. It proves that she really has no idea who I am. I’m tired of defending myself.” (< — Very polite translation of what was running through my head.)
Yes, I felt like many boundaries had been crossed. I was offended and outraged. It would be *so* easy to burn the bridge with her, and move forward and just not deal with the whole situation in any shape or form. But I realized that the whole slamming the door shut on my relationship with her was definitely a decision based on “fear”.
I was pretty sure I didn’t want to lose my relationship with her, though. She’s my family, she’s someone I truly do love. I want to have a connection with her. So what could I do? How could I respond out of love?
To be honest, the straight-up “love” response seemed so inauthentic to me. Sure, I could just have called her up that night, conceded or agreed-to-disagree, and we could hug and make up and just go on with things. That would be a response of pure love. But that’s TOTALLY not who I am. (I know it sounds bitchy, but I’m being honest.) It felt totally authentic to do something like that when I was so devastated by the whole situation. I felt a need not to hold a stupid grudge, but to honor what I was feeling.
So there I was in that gray area, somewhere between “love” and “fear”. I sat with it for a few days and let all the emotions well up in their own way. Hurt. Anger. Loss. Confusion. You get the idea.
Finally I realized something. There was a THIRD option I hadn’t even considered- one that was firmly rooted on the “love” side of things. It was this: I asked myself, what would be the decision I would make about this situation if I came at it from the perspective of loving *myself*?
Love doesn’t *always* have to be about others, does it? I think we all forget that sometimes. Maybe we forget that a lot of the time. We forget to love ourselves.
It’s not selfish to admit that something hurts in a very deep way and to *honor* that truth. It’s just being honest. And anyone who loves *you* will understand and honor that, as well.
By approaching this situation from the “love thyself” perspective, it sort of opened up a whole different set of possibilities for this conflict. Instead of fear-based reaction (run away, end the relationship) or love-based (hug and make up, not authentic to me), I could a way to deal with this devastating situation that felt really true to who I am and came from a place of love.
So my decision was to sit with it. Just let it be. Let me be, let her be. The truth is, I hurt. She hurts. We both said things that should not have been said. We both need time to lick our wounds and let some of the heavier emotions work themselves out. I believe that in time our love for each other will override any negativity that lingers. But the key to all that is “in time”, and we both need it.
When you honor and love yourself, you are also honoring and loving those that you love. You are being authentic to yourself, and therefore authentic to your relationships. You are not running in fear, but you also aren’t putting a band-aid over a gaping wound. You are allowing yourself to grow as a person.
When you love yourself, and approach things from a perspective of that love, you are tending to yourself so that you can tend to others, as well. You are LEARNING how to make loving choices when you choose love for yourself. Therefore, you’ll be better at shining love on others when it comes to making difficult decisions.