Fall is in the air. Time will be coming soon for hayrides and harvest moon strolls and football game dates. Love in the air. So,what if you are not in a romantic relationship, or if the one you are in is less than satisfactory? This can be a time where you feel alone and “less than”. Many of my clients have reported increased symptoms of depression and feelings of isolation during times traditionally designated for "couple's activities", due to being alone, or to not having relationships that live up to the commercials on television.
A friend shared an idea with me recently that has changed my life and the lives of many of my clients. She said to me one day, “I am going to treat myself like I would someone I was in love with.” So simple. So profound. I began to toy with the idea of what would happen if we turned that tender, loving energy that we would give a lover inward, on ourselves.
What if we began to notice the little things that bring ourselves joy, and to do them as a gift to our lover-self? What if we made time to do the things that nurture our spirit as an act of pouring love on ourselves? How about speaking those little words of affirmation and support in an intimate whisper when we need to hear them most? Or looking deep into our own eyes and forgiving ourselves for not being perfect, embracing the broken pieces, just like we would the “other” in a relationship? Even the way we relate to our own bodies could change if we learned to accept and embrace them lovingly.
I began sharing this philosophy with my clients and they reported back with tears of fragile hope that poured down their faces when they looked themselves tenderly in the mirror and said “I love you.” One client stated that he realized that he would never use the kind of talk or tone with a lover that he used with himself on a daily basis, and he began to change that negative internal dialogue. Another reported that her relationship was improving because she was displaying better boundaries with her spouse, spurred by her newly cultivated loving relationship with herself. Yet another reported that during his daily meditation time he focused that loving energy inward, and that it was a sacred experience for him to sit daily in the presence of that unconditional love. Once they started focusing love inward, my clients reported symptoms of anxiety and depression diminishing.
This Fall I would encourage all of us, not just those who are single, or whose relationships are less than fulfilling, to tap into that flow of love that we long to send to others, and to visualize turning it inward. I wonder what change we could make in the world if we loved ourselves this way. I wonder how much more effective all our lives would be if we first focused on filling our own “love tanks”.
Let’s begin a movement today of falling in love with ourselves, and see where it takes us!
As a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety, I know how hard it can be to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you are experiencing symptoms that can be crippling. Please call me at 770-789-0847 for a free consultation or see my website to contact me.