Quoterday

You can’t offer happiness until you have it for yourself. So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself.

–Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

If we do not know how to love ourselves, how can we possibly understand how to love others?

“But love is about putting others’ needs before your own.”

Perhaps, but only to a point.  It can be socially valuable to remain flexible to the needs of others.  If we are willing to compromise toward others’ needs, they may be more likely to accommodate us in the future.

But if we are not careful, putting others’ needs before our own becomes a slippery slope into people-pleasing hell.  If we neglect to build a home inside, then we will come to depend on the loveseat of others’ interior abodes. Many times, this works just fine.  People we will show appreciation or even reciprocate.

However, this kind of “emotional couch-surfing” is not foolproof.  Sometimes people will respond ungratefully or take advantage of us.  They can intuit our emotional homelessness. They know we are desperate for their approval because deep down we harbor self-disapproval.

This is why “building a home inside” is crucial for love.  When we give ourselves a home within, we can resist others’ predatory behavior.  We can visit others’ internal fortresses as mere dinner guests, enjoying each other’s company before departing to rest in our own bed replete with warm blankets of self-love.

So be kind to yourself. If you are hurting, sit and listen.  Your heart and mind will tell you what they need. By building and maintaining a home within, helping others becomes a blessing we can enjoy rather than a burdensome source of self-worth.

Your ability to support others rests on the strength of your own foundation.

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Even though my emotional foundation still needs work, these folks let me hang anyway.  I am very grateful.

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