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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Month of May

My Goal this Month in Learning 2 Love & Be Connected:

The time has flown by and again, just like in April, I was unable to update my blog weekly. I had lofty goals for “Learning to Love” in May but the month turned into a goal of “just get our baby well”….

My Experience this Month:

It wasn’t until I had a baby that I came to understand my expanded capacity to love. From the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test to the first ultrasound, felt her first movement and saw her beautiful eyes I was filled with a love that I didn’t know was possible. And I also learned how quickly your life can be totally consumed by the well being of your baby. The entire journey has opened up my heart and mind in ways that I never knew was possible.

Other than Kaylee needing medication to control her acid reflux and projectile vomiting as a newborn, she has not been a baby prone to many illnesses that required antibiotics – we were pretty lucky. Then came the month of May. Kaylee had an on-going fever with a persistent cough and she just wasn’t herself. The first visit to the DR was unsettling because they thought it was just a virus going around. But just 3 days later we were back at the DR with a high fever (104) and now she had bronchitis and an ear infection. Double whammy! 1st round of antibiotics and a week and half of her not breathing well, not eating well and not sleeping unless she slept with Mommy – needless to say – none of us got much sleep. My husband, Tim, and I were taking days off work to stay with her on the high fever days and then after work tried our best to be patient through her fussiness. The days were long and the nights even longer.

After a week of meds, she was feeling better and back on the road to being herself again, hooray. Then just 2 weeks later, she was back to having a fever for a couple days and one night it was 105.1! That was scary for us since she had never been a high fever baby. We called the on call DR and after some Advil we were off to the bathroom for a cool bath – luckily her fever came down quickly. We were back at the DR the next day. They tested her for everything and nothing came up so they sent a urine sample to the lab just to be safe. (A urine test that I had been asking for a couple times at the DR since the odor was so bad for several weeks (even during her battle with bronchitis). Come to find out she had Pseudomonas – a very stubborn bacterial infection in her urine. My Dad contracted this same bacteria during his battle with ALS so I was very familiar with the dangers and challenges in fighting it off.

Chances are if you are a parent in this day and age, as soon your child’s DR tells you something like this, you go on the internet for more answers. I have concluded that the internet is a dangerous place for a worrisome Mom. Everything I was reading just made me worry about her more. Once again, we were back to antibiotics, fevers, not eating, diarrhea, not sleeping – the whole enchilada. We barely had time to recuperate from her last infection and here we were again.

And let me just say…the strain on your job performance and relationship with your spouse during something like this is so unexpected and requires true commitment. When you are getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep at best in 1 hour increments, trying to calm a screaming toddler, trying to function at work and still get all the other “crap” done around the house – losing your sanity surely comes to mind. If you didn’t have any issues with your spouse before…you certainly will when going through something like this. But somehow we made it through and after 10 days of antibiotic hell, she was given the clear – no more infection. Hooray! And after a week of going back to our sleep training techniques – we were finally on the road to getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep again. Hooray!

Our lives for the better part of 6 weeks was all consumed by nurturing Kaylee and trying our best to help her feel better as quickly as possible. It is a terrible feeling to witness your child going through an illness and there is very little you can do to help her besides holding her while she cries, watching Cinderella and Tangled all night long, letting her eat as many crackers as she wants since she wouldn’t eat anything else, telling her the medicine will help it not hurt, kicking  your husband to the couch since she wants to sleep with Mommy and there just isn’t enough room for a stretched out toddler and Daddy in the same bed…I really thought to myself…GEESH…I totally owe my Mother BIG TIME if this is what she put up with when I was a baby. (Yes, Mom…I finally get it).

Although, my goals for the month will have to wait for June…I still had moments where I practiced “love, love, love” – during the wee hours of the morning when I thought Kaylee would never fall asleep and my patience was running thin, I would take a deep breath and remind myself “I am so blessed”, “I love having this time with her to be a Mom and just love her”, “I will eventually get some sleep” and “this too shall pass” – having these thoughts playing in my mind truly helped me get through those long nights and tired days. And even as tired as I was, when she would finally fall asleep, I would still spend precious sleeping time staring at her precious restful face, watching her breath and thinking how lucky I am to be her Mommy!

So, the month of May is behind us and we venture on with a few more notches on our “being parents bedpost” and with a new found gratitude that all is well once again.

~ Hoping you find a way to stay connected ~

Love,

Victoria 🙂

Kaylee watching Sofia the First while Mommy tries to sleep...

Kaylee watching Sofia the First while Mommy tries to sleep…

Our Kaylee girl...looking so grown up and feeling better!
Our Kaylee girl…looking so grown up and feeling better!