Love can make us mad: insanely-mad, angrily-mad, and just overall lathered up into “cray-cray” madness. One reason we may have the saying, “madly in love,” is because when we are in love, it may make no sense at all. And in some ways, that can be part of the fun. HOWEVER, if the madness turns dark, the best thing we can do to save ourself is to refuse to abandon what we know is true and best for us.
My personal experience abandoning myself
Decades ago, I had a thriving business in public speaking and writing. I deeply enjoyed my work, allocated most of my time to it, and never missed a deadline. Although these qualities were lauded by my clientele, my “other” was not so pleased. He asked, “Why are we together if we never spend time together?” Although his use of the word “never” was an exaggeration, I took his feelings to heart.
With deep love for him and my honest intention that we both enjoy the relationship, I chose to change. I abandoned my business—which was also my true calling, to join his business and honor his need for more time together. This was the first of several steps I took that abandoned myself—my best… in the name of “love.” Although he and I worked together in business for many years and had many success stories to share, ultimately the relationship ended because I refused to continue making compromises that would abandon my best self. As much as I loved him, I knew in my heart that if I gave up any more of who I was and wanted to be, then I would forever live in mistrust, doubt, and fear. So, I chose to be present with, stand up for, protect, and honor myself. I did not choose to abandon myself for love with him.
Something to consider
As a child, we may have been abandoned by parents, teachers, religious figures, or adults in general. Although this can be incredibly painful, it is important that we heal and learn to not take this personally. The adults who abandoned us didn’t know how to be present with themself or others. When we were young, we may have felt weak and helpless. Part of us may have frozen in that experience. We might believe that we will always feel that way.
However, we are adults now and we can transform. When we learn to stay present with and stand up for ourself, we transform from weak and helpless to powerful and protected—by ourself and Life. As adults, we cannot truly be abandoned by others, unless we first abandon ourself: our dreams, our hopes, and our deepest needs. When we assure ourself that our dreams, hopes, needs and wants are accepted, appreciated, and fulfilled, we won’t feel abandoned, even if others choose to leave. Instead, we’ll simply see that they just aren’t a good fit for us.
How can we know if we are at risk of abandonment? There are at least two ways we can know if we’re about to abandon ourself.
- we believe that someone else’s needs are more important than our own, and
- we believe that we are not worthy to receive what we need.
It is my perception that although those two beliefs may feel real in our own mind, they are wildly UNtrue. Through my eyes, we are all of equal value on a spiritual level—no one is more valuable and important, and no one’s needs are more valuable and important than anybody else’s. It’s not either your needs get fulfilled or mine get fulfilled. It’s both. You have needs and I have needs, we both have needs which are valuable and important. To clarify, I am not talking about egoistic, selfish needs like the need to harm others or greedily take, etc. I am talking about basic, human needs like giving and receiving love in healthy ways and fulfilling our dreams by utilizing the talents that Life gave us.
We are all worthy. We may not believe that. Instead, we may believe the lies that others told us. Or, we might believe that we have made so many poor choices that we deserve punishment, not fulfillment. This does not need to be our truth. With forgiveness of our past, we can know our true worth and allow ourself to receive our needs. To read more about giving ourself the gift of forgiveness, refer to previous posts and our three-part series on forgiveness of others, self, and Life/God.
How can we stay present and not abandon ourself?
Although we all make mistakes, and will certainly find ourself in situations that can challenge our ability to stay present and true to ourself, with practice, staying present becomes easier and more natural. We learn to avoid situations where we might abandon ourself, or we may stop a situation altogether before it starts. Sure, it takes time to learn, and sometimes we might not be aware that we have compromised what’s best for us. However, as we become aware of when we are present with ourself, and when we have abandoned ourself, we grow in respect. Respect for what, you might ask? Respect for the preciousness, the dearness, and the sweetness of our own inherent needs and our best. Respect for the fact that Life brought us here and keeps us alive. By honoring, seeking, and moving towards presence and respect, we can become trustworthy advocates for ourself.
Let’s make two promises we can keep.
Although promises from others can be false and unfulfilled, when we stay present with ourself, we can count on our own promises to build personal stability. Are you ready to make some ever-lovin’ promises to yourself on this Valentine’s Day? Let’s do it!
Promise #1: We can promise to never abandon what we know is best for us. Never. Not for someone else’s affection, not for money, not for ‘security,’ not for ‘fashion,’ not for approval, not for gummy bears, not for sex, not for nobody, no-how. If we make mistakes along the way, and by mistakes I mean that we misunderstand and believe that something is in our best interest and do that thing, when in fact it is not in our best interest, then we can simply stop doing that thing when we know it isn’t best. No need to blame ourself for not knowing. However, when we do know what’s best for us, we can keep the promise to ourself and do it.
Promise #2: We can promise to love ourself more. We can notice behaviors that lead to abandoning ourself and replace those behaviors with something better. We can replace critical thoughts with kind ones. We can replace blame on others and life with acceptance. We can replace shame with change. We can replace punishment with healthy discipline and rewards. We can replace fear with faith. And we can replace lust with love and of course… some steaming hot chocolate.
By promising not to abandon ourself, we grow to respect ourself. And with respect, we can free ourself from the need for addictions.
We can be our own, happy Valentine!
Whatever this Valentine’s week may bring, I encourage you to nurture, empower, and fulfill your OWN mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual “sweet tooth!” If you feel lonely or alone when you’re in your own company, chances are you may have abandoned yourself in some way. If you happen to be on your own this Valentine’s Day, ask yourself, “what hobby or dream might I have abandoned that I could be doing right now?” Or, “what would I really love to do right now?” If it’s healthy and good for you, give yourself the gift of doing that thing!! Maybe you’ll carve some wood, make some art, go golfing or swimming, maybe you’ll fly a kite, or sail by moonlight! Maybe you’ll take a bubble bath and eat Bonbons. Whatever you choose, by refusing to tolerate apathy and boredom, and refusing to abandon your truth of what’s best for you, you allow yourself to enjoy more, to REALLY live, and fully participate in the experience of your very own version of the “good” life!
What say ye?
Please share your thoughts and feelings so we may grow in love and empowerment together…
Sending hearts, flowers and love to you!