“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” — Paulo Coelho
Most of us who’ve loved someone deeply understand this . Turning the table to love ourselves is often more difficult.
A few Girl Boner Facebook readers have expressed feelings of sadness and stress over the past few weeks. In response to a post about sex and orgasm as stress relief, one reader shared that she has sex a few times per week yet remains sad and strained. While sexual play and climax can help minimize physical and emotional stress, they certainly aren’t a cure-all. You know nearly is? As cliche or cheesy as it may sound, it’s self-love. Most of us recognize its value, but sheesh, is it easy to neglect…
In a recent Your Tango article, Margaret Paul, Phd shared a story about a couple she counseled. “Marlo and Jack have been married for twelve years and have two young children,” she wrote. “Marlo and Jack each state that they love each other, yet Marlo does not feel loved by Jack, while Jack states that he is content with the relationship.”
Marla, the caretaker in the relationship, asked the therapist whether she should leave Jack, the “taker,” or simply keep trying to get him to treat her as she desires. Neither, said Paul.
“There is a good possibility that the way Jack treats you is a mirror of how you treat yourself,” Paul said. “How often do you think about what you want or feel?”
Woah. Suddenly the lights flipped on for Marlo. She’d seldom considered her own wants and needs, erroneously deeming self-care selfish rather than responsible. To improve her relationship with her husband, said Paul, Marlo would have to start asking herself what it would take to feel loved, then start providing it for herself. Her husband would eventually catch on, and Marlo would feel more fulfilled regardless.
The article didn’t address the couple’s sex life, but I imagine that their physical intimacy diminished during their struggles and improved once Marlo changed her ways.
Sex can be a very self-nurturing act, but if we’re feeling low about ourselves, we’re not likely to desire or fully enjoy it. In order to gain the countless benefits of sex and orgasm, we’ve got to have some level of self-nurturing—possibly lots of it.
So I’m going to ask you to ponder the same question Dr. Paul posed to Marlo: When do you feel loved? Don’t over-think it. Let it flow!
Here are the first 5 examples that popped to my mind. I felt/feel ultra-loved when:
1 – I was midway through eating disorder treatment and my brother stomped into the living room where family members were watching the Miss America pageant. “August has anorexia. Are you seriously watching this right now?”
2 – My dog never left my side as I recovered from oral surgery last year.
3 – My husband helped me bathe when I was sick with a nasty bug and felt utterly disgusting.
4 – A dear friend heard me mention my dream bouquet of flowers, then surprised me with it—months later.
5 – My parents cook for me during visits home.
Reflecting on this list, I can see many ways of loving myself similarly. I can steer clear of negative influences, let myself rest when I’m not feeling well, nurture my body, buy myself flowers and prepare meals I crave. The list could go on and on. Hopefully all of our lists will, because we’ll not only pay attention to them, but make self-care a priority.
Now it’s your turn! Complete this sentence: I’ve felt (or feel) ultra-loved when ____________________. (Share one, a few, five – up to you!) Do you do the same for yourself? In what ways? If you don’t, might you start?