This morning I walked in to my children making Valentine’s Day cards. When I asked them who their valentine was they looked up with big smiles on their faces, listing all the people in their lives they love and are special to them. I made the list! Woohoo!
We yearn to be loved and accepted from birth and this need follows us into adulthood. When these desires are fulfilled, we find happiness within us. Many people loathe Valentine’s Day for what it is now (“Hallmark Holiday”), but since having children, I look at it as a day to celebrate love not just with a partner, but all those around you. It’s a day to stop and be mindful of the people in your life.
We spend a lot of our energy wanting to be accepted and loved without even realising. We fear rejection and loneliness. Could the core of some of our stress be related to our constant desire for love and acceptance?
Let’s look at this hypothetically…
- We are running late, we panic. Do we fear what people think when we walk in late? Are we incompetent and not good enough.
- We get up in front of a crowd to talk, panic sets in. Do we look ridiculous, people may not accept us for who we are.
- You’re entertaining guests on the weekend, stress begins to increase. Do we fear our friends think we live in filth and we are not good enough cooks. Will they reject us.
Over the years, my unconscious fear of rejection and desire for love and acceptance has stopped me from reaching my greatest potential. It becomes draining to please everyone in your life for constant love and acceptance.
I spent years of my life trying to please my husband. I would make sure the house was perfect, dinner was interesting and constantly seek his approval and acceptance. He never asked me to do this for him. I now realise how much of my life was wasted. Yes, it is nice to do things for others but not when it drains the energy from your life.
A dear friend of mine referred me to a book “The 5 Love Languages.” If only I had read this book many years ago! Dr Chapman states each of us speaks a primary love language. Turns out my husband and I speak a different love language! All these years I had spent time doing things for him, when all I needed to do was hold his hand. This is how he receives love, through physical touch (and from his guitars!). Myself, however, I am acts of service – I was expressing love to him the way I naturally receive it.
There is a quiz you or your loved ones can do to find out your primary love language. It has been extremely helpful for me to express love and appreciation for others when I understand how they receive it. Happiness fills us when we not only receive love and compassion but when we express it to those around us.
Today, I spend more energy on loving and approving myself. When we love ourselves first, we find compassion, and everything else becomes that much easier.