For decades, my friend Louise has worked tirelessly as the architect of contribution, raising money and awareness for her favorite charity. She has inspired and inspires tens of thousands of people with her spirit of generosity which extends beyond the charity to each and every person she knows. She always makes time for you no matter what she is dealing with in her own life. She is someone who can be counted on for solutions, is always ready to extend a helping hand or supportive shoulder or cheer you up with a story that will have you in stitches. She is the ultimate caregiver.
While she is generous to a fault with others, Louise does not take care of herself. She doesnâ€™t give herself even a fraction of the attention she seems driven to heap on her huge circle of family and friends. She has spent a lifetime nurturing others but neglects herself. She lives with chronic pain, is overweight, gets very little sleep, worries about everyone and everything, and even puts up with behaviors from others that are detrimental to herself.
When we talk about this, there is no question that she wants to make some changes but she feels powerless to do so and avoids taking the actions she knows she needs to.
Can you relate to Louiseâ€™s experience?
Several weeks ago, I gave her a copy of The Freedom Zone: Your Gateway to Love, Liberty and Happiness. When she got to the Personal Freedom chapter, she began to realize that her self-neglect was a reflection of how little she valued herself. In essence, she has a loss of freedom when it comes to her self-worth. She had never seen this before and is now ready to look deeper. She has started her personal Freedom Zone inquiry process beginning with the Self-Love Awareness process which will help you understand the feelings that result when you are not as kind and loving to yourself.
In The Freedom Zone, we sum it up this way:
When we choose Self-Love, we are more likely to take care of ourselves, put our emotional well-being first, act in responsible and empowering ways, and feel good about ourselves and our lives.
Louise is looking at herself a lot differently these days and has started a Gratitude Journal, which is one of the Self-Love practices in the book. Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing what she discovers in the process as she begins living in The Freedom Zone.
What does Self-Love mean to you? We invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below.