Lessons coming back around….April 8, 2014

The more time I spend meditating and reflecting on my life, the lessons I have learned and the ones I am still struggling with, I am reminded that the lessons we are meant to learn in this life will just keep coming back around until we finally get it. Each time the lesson has to come around again, it will be a little louder and a little louder until we decide that it’s time once and for all to learn the lesson.

So, for me, once again, I feel the lesson of learning to love myself coming back around. With some current challenges I am facing with my career, relationships and myself…I am realizing this is a tough one for me. Not because I have low self-esteem (a 90’s buzz word) or because I don’t have the desire to love myself but more because of our culture in the US. Like many women, I was “trained” by society to believe that loving yourself is self-centered & egotistical…and I don’t know of anyone that wants to be around people that only love themselves. But just like the old saying “everything in moderation” – there is a fine line and balance to loving yourself in a healthy way.

When I actually think about loving myself and the challenges I see when I look in the mirror – it’s almost too big of a goal to say “just love yourself Victoria”. Okay, but how do I go about that? Then I thought what does self-LOVE look like or more importantly – what does LOVE FEEL like? The kind of love that is unconditional – the way God loves us. Then I thought of what actions/feelings could I offer myself that would SHOW me love and I came up with…

1. Acceptance: celebrating myself for my talents and strengths RATHER THAN beating myself up for my flaws and mistakes (this is a big one for me)

2. Patience: allowing myself the time to change my thinking around how to love myself RATHER THAN reminding myself I haven’t changed fast enough

3. Comfort: – start seeking comfort, support and love from within RATHER THAN looking outside myself or to others to fulfill this for me

I think asking others to “make you happy” or to “complete you” puts undo pressure on them and then in essence you are saying that you are not happy with yourself and not complete on your own. This is such a fine line in relationships…the idea that we need someone to make us happy.

I have written in previous posts about the signs that are all around us every day guiding us and showing us our path. Since my last post several weeks ago, I have seen the signs LOUD and CLEAR! “Victoria – you need to love and accept yourself”. I have tuned into HayHouse Radio and the first words were from Doreen Virtue talking about looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you love and accept who you are today, right now. On my facebook news feed there have been postings of “to truly love another, you first have to love yourself” and “love is the key to happiness”. So the signs are showing up and I am listening…

And if we are to love ourselves with acceptance, patience and comfort – I started thinking “shouldn’t we love those dear to us the same way”? I have written a lot in my posts on this blog about the people in our lives that are “difficult” to love. Those that truly challenge us in ways that is sometimes frustrating. We wonder why, why, why does this relationship have to be so tough? And we start thinking “couldn’t they just do this…or couldn’t they just be this way…” then things would be easier. But the truth is that all of our relationships have a purpose. There are lessons hidden in the day to day challenges and any conflict we are experiencing can be seen as a reflection of what we ourselves might be struggling with internally.

To give an example, let’s say you want your spouse to be more attentive and affectionate with you. And you spend so much time thinking “if only he/she would hug me more or tell me they love me more, I would be happier” – or whatever it is…and the more you think these thoughts the more it doesn’t happen and the more frustrated you get in the relationship. You start feeling like maybe you aren’t loved at all and meanwhile your spouse is pulling further and further away. You see…there is a dance that we all fall into when it comes to relationships and many times without us even knowing it – and the dance goes: “you do for me, then I will do for you”. Then we convince ourselves that the reason we aren’t happy is because they didn’t “do for me”. We start placing conditions on how we respond to and treat the person we so desperately what to feel loved by and we don’t realize that real change has to start with ourselves, not them.

And that’s the hardest realization for us. The truth that stares back at us from the mirror – all change that is worth the struggle has to come from within first. We have to “Be the change you want to see in the world”*…and as we work to BE THE CHANGE, the ripple effect will touch those closest to us. So back to my example, if you want more attention or affection from your spouse, show them by your actions how you want to be loved. Rather than you pulling away and blaming them for not loving you the way you want them to – you start loving them the way you want to be loved. The way you should LOVE yourself: with acceptance, patience and comfort. It has to have an effect…an object in motion will remain in motion…right? Seeds being planted will grow. It might take time, but the key is to BE THE CHANGE you want to see in the world, in your relationships, in your career, in your parenting, in all aspects of your life and the ripple effect may just surprise you.

(SIDE NOTE: I am not condoning or supporting relationships that are abusive or neglectful and I believe no one should stay in a relationship that involves any form of abuse or neglect – just wanted to mention this just in case)

So I am committed to a new DAILY affirmation that I will say to myself in the mirror every morning with a smile on my face (smiling at yourself in the mirror really does make you feel better).

“I AM powerful! I AM unique! I AM created in God’s image and I LOVE the woman I AM TODAY! I love all my talents and all my flaws because I am on a journey. I accept myself for who I AM today and I am joyful for the person God is creating me TO BE!”  It might sound and feel strange at first but I bet I will notice a SHIFT in my spirit after a week or two…

I hope everyone reading this post that is hard on themselves for any mistakes or flaws can accept themselves today, give themselves a break and say “I LOVE YOU” to the beautiful face in the mirror!

Blessings,
Victoria

*Not sure who I am quoting this from but have heard it many times.

 

 

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Week of Mar. 18th

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be ConnectedHonestly, I did not set a goal for myself this week. But nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned, if you are open for them and I believe I am…

My Experience this Week: This is the first week since my New Year’s Resolution to begin this journey of Learning 2 Love and Be Connected that I haven’t set a goal for myself. The past few weeks have been so emotional for me, with losing an Aunt and my husband losing his Grandmother. But I was also dealing with the 5th Anniversary of my Dad’s passing (read post from Week of Mar. 11th for background) plus trying to celebrate my birthday. So, when Sunday came around to set my goal for the week, my heart just wasn’t in it.

The interesting thing about being on this journey is that the concept of “loving and connecting” is always on my mind and in my heart as I go through the routine of daily life. I have felt a shift in how I perceive and relate to people and the world around me but also realizing how much I am connected to…everything! So as I stated above, although I didn’t have a goal set, there are lessons all round us if we are open to them. Being on this journey has opened my soul in ways I had not expected.

So, midway through this week I received some not so pleasant news that my Oma (Grandmother) was in hospice care again. She has been ill for some time with Congestive Heart Failure and Alzheimer’s but still able to have a meaningful life. At first, this news, although unsettling and sad, did not spark an overwhelming sense of loss in me. It sounds heartless when I write those words but honestly, I am not really close with that side of my family – at least not as close as I am with my Dad’s side. And the details surrounding the reasons why are not important but the feelings of semi-abandonment or neglect (for want of better words) were suddenly in the forefront of my heart.

I started asking myself why I felt this way. When I called my Aunt to see how things were going and I was able to talk to my Oma, I started crying. Not just from feeling sad that her time on this earth might now be limited but also from a desperate feeling of longing – longing to feel loved and important. She immediately remembered me and during those brief moments, I told her I loved her. Then like a flash she was gone and didn’t know who I was but I felt blessed that I at least was able to get those words out.

Growing up I always felt that somehow my Mom, sister and me weren’t as important. It seemed like all my Oma’s energy, attention, love and money were spent on other family members. Almost like we were wicked step children. Those feelings have made it so difficult for me to desire a connection with them and I have not allowed myself to work through those feelings and be honest with myself or with them.

So once again, my goal became to reflect and pray. As I started thinking about the past, how things developed, how I felt and what I needed to do or say in order to feel a sense of closure so I would have no regrets – I remembered something that Marianne Williamson had said during an interview with Oprah on the series Super Soul Sunday: “Only what you are not giving can be lacking in any situation”.

That is a powerful statement. I mean think about…as an adult, anytime you have felt wronged, hurt, alone, angry, betrayed, etc…what were you not giving that contributed to the outcome? I can honestly say that I have never told my Oma how I felt. And I certainly didn’t make any extra efforts to connect with her because I was too busy asking myself why she wasn’t trying to contact me and be a part of my life. Hmmm…at what point do you give up trying? Well…my Dads motto during his whole ALS struggle “Never, never give up!!” And if I am honest with myself…I did. Not only did I give up, I was too stubborn and settled in my hurt that I neglected to be the bigger person.

So now the challenge becomes what to do next. Perhaps try to make a trip to see her and hopefully she remembers me? Should we spend some time just being together or talk about my feelings? Not sure…I guess time will tell. Prayer and meditation do wonders at providing answers if you are patient (not one of my strong suits).

For now, on this journey to Love more deeply and be more connected…I have to be strong and own my piece of how I feel and why. Embrace it and realize my feelings aren’t wrong, they just “ARE” and I can choose how I feel at any moment. So I can choose to let go and just LOVE!

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

🙂 Victoria

 (Please also check out My Poetry page for an update)

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Me and My Oma

 

Week of Mar. 4th

My Goal This Week: Well…as they say “the best laid plans”…I had a goal set for this week and by Wednesday life had other plans and things changed. So my goal for “learning to love” this week became: get through the week as best I can.

My Experience This Week: On Wednesday this week we found out one of my Aunt’s passed away. Although it was not a huge shock as she was in her nineties but still not expected as she was full of life and vigor. I actually had not seen her since my wedding shower a few years ago. But nonetheless, the news was sad and was harder the more I thought of her.

Technically speaking, she was not an Aunt by genetics but she was my grandmothers’ best friend (for decades) and we all grew up calling her our Aunt and it certainly felt that way. And like my grandmother, she was the sweetest woman you would ever want to meet. She had a way of making you feel special when she was in your presence – like you were the most important person in the world to her at that moment. That is a rare gift. She loved life, loved to dance, laugh, play the slots and have fun. She always called you sweetheart, honey or some other endearing nick name and was always concerned with what was happening in your life. She will be greatly missed but perhaps now we all have another angel looking out for us and maybe helping us win a few dollars at our next gambling venture.

But then, just as we were wrapping our arms around that news, we learned that my husbands’ grandmother had passed away. His family had been caring for her and visiting her for weeks as they knew she was nearing the end of her earthly life. But although she was in her nineties as well, it was still very difficult news. Being there for my husband and his family as much as I could became the second goal for the end of the week.

Upon hearing the news, we immediately drove to his Aunt’s house to be with his family for those precious final moments. Saying good-bye is so painful – even if it’s only good-bye for now. When you care so much and see your loved ones going through this pain – you wish there was a way to take it away. Especially if you have been there before and know what they are going through. But all you can do is comfort, hold and share your love with them while they work through the process of grieving their loss.

But what I was not expecting this week was the memories all this brought back of the loved ones I have witnessed in their last moments and how much I still miss them no matter how much time as passed. My dad used to say when I experienced pain or loss growing up “sweetheart, time has a funny way of healing all wounds”…so funny that now I can understand what he meant. All wounds heal over time, but the deeper the wound, the large the scar left behind. When it comes to the most special people in our lives, the deeper we love them, the deeper the scar their loss leaves but healing is still in progress under the surface.

My father was already ill with ALS when my grandmother passed away. So, we knew we were on borrowed time where he was concerned. Watching him grieve for his Mom, I can remember thinking “how am I going to get through this when it’s my dad?”. The only answer I have is by the grace of God. We all experience different forms of loss in our lives and somehow, from somewhere, the strength we need arrives and we can do things we never thought were possible.

I guess the ultimate end result or lesson for me in learning to love this week is that by the grace of God we are all connected to each other, to God and to everything around us. Because of that connection we can never be separate from God, each other or everything around us. There are times I feel more connected to my grandmother and my dad now because their souls are limitless and connected to mine in a powerful way. There are times, when I still miss them tremendously and some days it’s harder than others but I do feel blessed in the comfort of knowing they are able to offer guidance and a helping hand in my life more now than ever and the more I connect with that love of them, the more little miracles I witness in my life that could only have come with a little help.

~ Hoping you are staying connected ~

🙂 Victoria