Or even better — don’t avoid your own healing because you don’t love yourself
Over hundreds of years, this world has given birth to the greatest minds of our history. And despite the old saying, “Great minds think alike,” many great minds do not — at least not entirely.
From Alan Watts to Sigmund Freud and everyone in between, the great minds of our evolution do not all agree — especially when it comes to matters of our purpose, existence, and our favorite of all, love.
There is one thing that most of the greatest psychologists, theologists, philosophers, seers and thinkers do agree upon, however.
Humans are social beings who yearn for approval and what we call love from other people.
Most of us would agree that “everyone wants to be loved,” but what we do not always agree on is what love truly is — what it means and what it looks like.
The human mind and heart are curious beyond measure. And for the creator, it is impossible not to be inspired by the hearts and minds of the world.
Out of the thousands of different messages and quotes that we distribute among millions of people, these are the top five — which are all platitudes from unknown authors:
Don’t allow someone to treat you poorly just because you love them.
Love is not what you say. Love is what you do.
Always love your friends from your heart, not from your mood or need.
Every day is valentines day when you are in the right relationship.
Love is never a reason to tolerate disrespect.
After all these years and so many philosophies, the thing we all still want yet cannot figure out is love. Despite the plethora of books that have been written and songs that have been sung, here so many of us are — still looking for love.
But we do not just look for any love; we want a specific type of love.
We want love without conditions, yet we confuse boundaries for rejection. We want people who treat us well, yet we don’t treat ourselves well. We want those who love us to honor our needs, yet we are not forward in our intentions and desires. We refuse to heal ourselves, yet we ask love to heal us.
We have all these definitions for and expectations of love — what it is and what it is not, what it looks like and what it doesn’t. And although the most popular love quotes of our age have elements of truth, it is clear that this truth is not what we practice. If we did, they wouldn’t be the most shared sayings on social media today. If we lived them, we wouldn’t need to say them so much.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. — Wayne Dyer
Perhaps if we looked at these love mantras differently, our collectively dysfunctional relationship with love would change.
Don’t allow someone to treat you poorly just because you love them
We will explore an all-time favorite of the masses which also happens to be a personal favorite. I love this quote, having been in relationships where I allowed others to treat me poorly because of what I thought was love. And there have been many times in my life where I needed to remember this. But this quote alone would never have healed my toxic relationship with romance.
Don’t allow someone to treat you poorly just because you love them.
I can vouch for the power of mantras and our ability to change our lives by changing our thinking. But some things do not stop at a mantra, and if you stop at the mantra, you will have to keep using it because the same cycle will repeat itself in your life until you learn whatever lesson it has to teach you.
Remembering not to allow people to treat you poorly is paramount in those moments where you must set boundaries or separate from toxic people. But if you have to keep using the same mantra to get past the same challenges in life, it may be a sign that the mantra is not enough and you have some work to do — some lesson to learn.
I allowed people to treat me poorly because I didn’t love myself
It has been years since I have had to repeat or share this mantra, but I had to go beyond the platitude and figure out why I needed it so much in the first place.
What I found was that I did not allow people to treat me poorly because I loved them. I allowed people to treat me poorly because I didn’t love myself, and I wanted them to love me. I allowed people to treat me poorly because I was afraid and insecure. Fear. That was why. I was afraid.
I was afraid of being rejected and abandoned — afraid of not being good enough. I was afraid of being alone and cast aside — afraid that I wasn’t enough. I feared abandonment and rejection, and therefore, I was terrified of inferiority and unworthiness. I was terrified of not being loved.
And so I took all these fears, and I forced them down the throats of the people I said I loved — vehemently demanding that they fulfill my needs for validation. I perverted my own unreasonable demands and confused a lack of their fulfillment with a lack of love. I killed love. I killed it with my fear. I made selfish and unreasonable demands on love. I asked it to go to war with my deepest fears, and when it did not, I trampled it beneath the feet of my pain and sorrow.
So in the end, the mantra was still always true. It would not serve me to allow others to treat me poorly in the name of love. But until I repaired my relationship with love, I would continue to seek love from people who would treat me poorly.
To repair my relationship with love, I had to repair my relationship with myself.
Don’t avoid your own healing because you don’t love yourself
As much as this mantra served me at times, it did not benefit me when I used it as a crutch to move from one toxic relationship to the next.
Many things in life help us heal and bring us comfort in our pain. But healing and comfort are not one and the same.
If you break your leg, you may use crutches to support you as your leg heals. But that is all crutches do — they give you support, so you don’t do more damage to your already broken body. They do not heal it. And without getting a cast or taking the proper steps to heal your leg, you risk needing those crutches forever.
Your emotional body is no different.
All the cute little sayings and practices that we lean on in trying times are a godsend, just like crutches are with a broken leg. Crutches do not provide healing, though — only support. And just like your physical body needs healing when it is broken, so does your emotional body. Just like you must heal your leg, you must heal your heart.
Listicles, mantras and inspirational sentences may provide something for you to lean on in challenging times. But without healing the broken parts of you, you will be on emotional crutches forever.
So, yes, “Don’t allow others to treat you poorly just because you love them.”
But even more, don’t allow yourself to avoid your own healing just because you don’t love yourself. If you find yourself sharing these same mantras about love, year after year, or repeatedly needing to escape toxic relationships, you may have unhealed wounds. And you must heal your wounds before you can repair your relationship with love.
If you have unhealed wounds and are walking around with a thousand emotional crutches, chances are you do not feel love for yourself. It is not because you don’t love yourself, but because your relationship with love is tainted — by all those unhealed wounds. All you have to do is heal yourself and put down those emotional crutches. Then, the love you already have for yourself can shine through.
When you feel the love you have for yourself, you won’t need all the love mantras anymore. Your life will be a living demonstration of love.
Written by Holly Kellums
originally published on Medium.com