I believe in the aim of practicing love as a lifework. We are called to love one another. Love is our guiding light. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, that pursuit can be more difficult than it sounds. More than ever, we find ourselves faced with energy vampires at every turn. These are the takers in our lives that come at us with their self-centered demands. Their priorities are all consuming, self-focused, and lacking in respect and love for anyone other than themselves. They sap our energy, leaving little left for authentic love.
This type of environment muddies the pursuit of love for the entire community. Manipulation and exploitation rule. These energy vampires take advantage, extracting the lifeblood out of well-meaning people who are givers at heart.
If you are in that category of people who are more give than take, to stay safe you may need a reframing of your priorities. The first responsibility in love is to love yourself. That means protecting yourself from those who would abuse your good intention. Here are four principles to help you focus on the pursuit of authentic love.
Believe that You are Deserving
The first rule of love is to love yourself first. In this way, we all have one person who is always looking out for our interests. This principle may seem counter-intuitive. But you can’t love others until you have established a solid love for yourself. When we have empathy for others, and that empathy is exploited, we often begin to feel that we are undeserving. But you are just as deserving of empathy as are the people you care for.
Believe in your worth.
Advocate for Yourself
As you feel more deserving, you will find that you will need to stand up to the manipulators and others who would take advantage of you. Be clear to yourself where your goals are, what you are willing to give on, what you are not willing to give on. If someone is trying to push you outside your core values, stand up to them. If another person is trying to get you to do something that is beyond your capabilities or not within your priorities for yourself, you must put your foot down.
That leads us to the next principle.
Learn to Say “No” When Appropriate
Too often in personal relationships, or work environments, you will be asked to give more than you feel is appropriate. If you believe in your worth, and you are comfortable advocating for yourself, you will have an intuitive sense of whether or not you should say “yes” to the request. When that still, small voice tells you that you should say “no,” listen. It is important to be true to yourself. You may have to fight the guilt you feel for not saying “yes” to something you may think is an obligation. Responsible people like to be reliable. But as a responsible person, you may have a past history of giving more than is appropriate in order to fill that responsibility. Overly responsible is just as destructive as being irresponsible.
You must keep a consistent balance between doing for others and doing for yourself.
Gain a Healthy Sense of Purpose
When you define and maintain a purpose for living, setting the right priorities becomes easier to do. Happiness follows. Keeping yourself on the right track by reminding yourself of your worth, advocating for your needs and rights, and providing your life with a good balance by saying “no” when it is necessary, keeps you on track with your purpose.
A purposeful life and the right priorities are keys to happiness. These principles help you set and maintain priorities that contribute to a life in balance with your purpose.
Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson