In order to feel loved, children need someone to take loving actions on their behalf. They need someone to stand up for them, feed them well, create financial security follow through on promises, be present with them with kindness, listen to them, and so on. As adults, we need the same things on the inner level- we need to take these loving actions for ourself. When you make others responsible for your safety and sense of worth, it’s like abandoning a child– giving the child away to someone else to love them. this creates fear, anxiety, neediness, and emptiness. Taking loving actions in your own behalf- actions guided by your personal spiritual connection– makes your inner child feel loved and safe.
I stumbled upon this quotation in ye olde internets this afternoon. It jumped out at me and brought me back to the therapist I saw in high school who once said, “No offense, but you suck at taking care of yourself.” She explained that she takes care of her kids, one of whom was 4 and one was 9. Juice, crackers, bedtime stories, and lots of love and care. She said that when they grow a little more– and the 9 year old was starting to do this– they would learn how to do some of these things for themselves. Wherever that stage of growing up happens ‘normally’ I — and many people — seem to have bypassed it.
This quotation explained it particularly well — if that little kid inside still needs something, well then, it’s Me The Adult whose job it is to take care of her! Of me. It is my responsibility to take loving action on my own behalf.
This is not a brand-new lesson: I know (and love!) that self-care looks so different moment by moment and it is imperative to connect with myself to figure out what my needs are so that I can try to meet them.
Tonight that looked like a brief jog and a long stretching routine outside in the last bits of summer sun. Other nights, other days, other moments, it looks like different things. Now I’m writing. I also ate a decent dinner, am icing my sore knee, checked in with a friend, and am getting ready to wind down and go to bed.
This is a good reiteration of the famous Rabbi Hillel quotation: “If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”