What would love do?
It is a question I’ve asked before. A question I will ask again. A question I asked yesterday.
I was having a near panic attack over a financial issue that had come to a head. I was scared. I tried to solve the problem in a couple of different ways and hadn’t found a way through. I emailed my brother, gave a brief description and asked for suggestions.
What I got back was a series of questions along the line of “How could this happen?”, “Didn’t you ask x, y and/or z?” , “Why didn’t you x, y, z,?”
It was like being kicked in the gut. Every single one of my buttons was pushed, and pushed hard. I heard the replay of tapes from my father. I heard the gremlin voices telling me I was stupid. I felt the pain of the six year old who got caught doing something she shouldn’t, although she hadn’t really meant to be bad. Do you have those tapes? Those buttons? Sigh……..
Over the last few years though, I’ve developed a few strategies and connections so I don’t continue in that downward spiral.
In the Project137 prompts for the day, was this: Today, when you get upset at yourself or someone else, ask yourself this question: “What would love do?” Repeat as often as needed.
Timely, no? I could not figure out for the life of me though, figure out how love would respond to my brother. I wrote and vented on our forum, and in not too long, the turn-around came. It wasn’t about my brother. It was about me. What would love do in this situation for me? Ignore the rest. What would love do for me?
I wrote: …What I do know is that loving me is the only thing I know how to do right now. The only thing I know for sure that matters. Loving attention to me. Loving me. What might that look like? Turning off the tv. Done. Eating something healthy. Done. Have a soak in the tub. Okay, I can do that. Clear some space. I can do that. Work on next steps – pursue job leads, workshop options, make art. I can do that. Bit by bit. Breath by breath. That’s what love would do.
It is true. I was angry with my brother for his response. But his response was his response. A response he has learned (in a big way from our father) and that has served him. It had nothing to do with me.
I was also angry with myself – for asking, for panicking, for getting into the situation. I couldn’t change the past, but I could change how I treated myself about it. I could treat myself with grace and compassion. I could say, “Oh sweetie, I know, I know. You made a bit of a mess. It’s okay. Here, take a breath, have something really nourishing. It’ll be okay. You’ll figure it out.”
And you know what? I did. I did figure it out. After writing on P137, I had help from an on-line group I’m in. They helped me see the thought patterns that had me bogged down. They helped me see that I was, in fact, looking for someone to rescue me. (ouch) They reminded me how cute I am when I mess up. They reminded me that it is when I mess up, that it is then, more than any other time, that I need loving kindness from myself.
What do you do when you mess up? Do you have self-care practices that nourish you when you need it most? I’d love to know!
Want to read Patti Digh’s take on “What would love do?” Click http://www.37days.com/2011/06/what-would-love-do.html.