Why do some people have a large capacity for love while others seem to have a low, or zero, capacity? I believe that you can only love others to the extent that you love yourself.
“The more we share, the more we have.” —Leonard Nimoy
This issue of love capacity is important to me because of my son and husband. I want to give them the largest amount of love that is humanly possible. But in order to give it to them, I have to give it to myself.
For the first time, I’m looking at my past self with compassion and love rather than strong judgments, hate, and disgust. I used to believe that certain actions proved self-love (actions such as exercise, sleep, and nutrition).
Old thought process: If I prove that I love myself by doing X,Y,Z, then I’m proving that my love capacity is huge.
New process: I don’t have anything to prove. In fact, I must love myself first – independent of actions and choices. I must allow myself to make mistakes. While I’m making mistakes, I can figure out the source/ lesson, so that I can get out of the cycle of repeating the same mistakes and grow forward to the next set of mistakes (haha).
Allow it, feel it, experience them – learn from them – heal what may be causing the repetitive ones and move forward. But first on the list is, loving myself, even while I’m making mistakes. I don’t have to wait until I am mistake-free to love myself. Because if I do that, it’ll never happen.
Allowing mistakes, forgiving myself, staying open to learning, trying to heal, facing things I may feel like hiding from, pushing myself, striving to improve, etc. These are actions that I can combine with an unshakeable love.
And loving others means I love them because they aren’t perfect (not in spite of the fact that they aren’t perfect). My love isn’t contingent on actions, words, or evidence.
No proof necessary.
If we can give this kind of love to ourselves, and to the people around us, what flap of the butterfly wings would that produce in the world?
From Wikipedia: “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”
I’m starting with this small change. Let me know what you think in the comments below! How has someone’s large capacity for love changed your life?
Check back this week as I dive into empathy and compassion. I hope you’re having a great day!