“It’s what we all wanted when we were children- to be loved and accepted exactly as we were then, not when we got taller or thinner or prettier...and we still want it...but we aren’t going to get it from other people until we can get it from ourselves.” -Louise Hay
I love this quote. It has been hard for me to swallow and digest through the years. It has been a challenge for me to look at all the layers that enable us to embrace this quote fully. Why do we want acceptance from others? Why do we care? Is it because we don’t love ourselves that we yearn for love elsewhere--from people, and things?
This phrase, “Love them where they are” has been my mantra since my 20s. I’ve used it when others have disappointed me. When they did not hold up their friendship the way I thought they should. When they didn’t say or do something I wished they would have done. When they were not open to accept me as I am.
Do you see all the “I”s in that last paragraph?
"Love them where they are" doesn’t mean love them where I THINK they should be.
It means gracefully accepting others where they are in their life journey. I’m learning that when we love ourselves fully we are able to let go of the way we think everyone else should be. For the record, I think loving yourself fully is a lifelong journey. It takes patience, diligence, and reminding.
Recently I lead a session with women, and I asked them to list 3 things that they value about themselves. It was challenging for many of them to say anything. I saw the tears fill their eyes, and I knew they were speaking through their bodies. I felt them saying, “What do I value about myself? What do I value about me, and feel comfortable admitting and saying out loud to others? I seem to put others above myself so often, that I don’t know what I value about me anymore.” The session felt sad for a few minutes, but then one person who knew all of the participants went around so graciously and said what she valued about each and everyone of them. Tears flowed, and the body language changed. Love filled the room. I believe self love was happening. I think what Louise Hay is saying is that love should start with oneself. This is not easy for many of us to do, but we have a choice each and everyday to love, or be angry, hateful, or unforgiving. Love can be our choice.
Here is a great way to start thinking about loving yourself: Before you close your eyes for sleep each night, think about what you value about yourself, or what someone else values about you. Do this as a ritual to start the love for you. You are worth it.
If I don’t value and love myself, who will?