There is a quote that has been shared in a variety of ways on Facebook about loneliness which states: “Sometimes the person who tries to keep everyone happy and always cares for everyone is almost always the most lonely person”. The next part of this quote where the author is unknown, is “…so never leave them alone because they will never say that they need you.”
We all need love and acceptance, as well as a sense of belonging. What this quote says to me is that those who don’t know how to love themselves are lonely and have the potential of giving all of who they are to others in a way to make themselves feel more complete. Subconsciously they fill a void of acceptance by fulfilling the temporary needs of others, while still needing something concrete or someone to make them feel accepted.
To love ones’ self is a hard concept to understand, as for some it seems to be a selfish way of thinking. It can seem to negate the ability to love others first so that they are loved in return. Unfortunately those who are never able to say no, or always volunteering and saying yes to everything that is asked of them, become exhausted. They still feel incomplete not understanding why they feel so lonely.
Scripture tells us in Matthew 22:37- 39, that Jesus shared “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou salt love they neighbor as thyself.” Whether one believes in scripture or not, even all earthly, non-Christian healers will share that you must love yourself. This is not a selfish act but rather something that allows a balance within oneself.
If one is unable to love the person that they are, the skill for loving is not there. It is also missing the ability to accept love in return. To love others is to accept them for who they are with all their imperfections, which in turn means we need to face our own faults, while accepting them as the person for who we are.
This does not mean that all those that give to others are hurting and lonely, as there are many who enjoy this act of showing their love and care for others. They obtain personal pleasure in being able to do something for someone whom they know will appreciate it. This is their love language.
I can relate to loneliness, as I was once there, always needing to be doing something for other people, and feeling better because I could accomplish all that was asked of me. Yet, I was very tired and lonely. When I was in need, there was no one there who heard or cared. That’s when I crashed. Yet, being a survivor, I got up and made the decision to seek counsel and learned to say “no” when my heart wasn’t in the place to give. Sure, I felt guilty at first, but how freeing it was when I didn’t have to adjust my schedule to meet the needs and wants of others.
I no longer feel obligated to bake for every event or situation that I’m asked to bake for, or provide for things when I’m not able. To some it seems selfish for me to say “no” but it’s unloving to always feel obligated to say “yes”.
That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t do things on a volunteer basis, help a friend when I’m able, or give when my heart is stirred to give. What it does mean is that I love myself enough to appreciate my family and the skills that God has given me. I have a responsibility to have enough balance in my life so that joy can flow through my heart for others. For me, this is the act of loving God, my family as well as myself. I am able to give freely from my heart when it is stirred to give, and in doing so, I find so much joy in the act.
As I was communicating with my husband’s cousin Ester, she summed it up well by saying “You have to love yourself first, then you can truly live life.” So, I leave you with one question: “Are you able to give to others without feeling empty inside, while receiving joy as your gift in return?”