We are looking at our relationships this month, first our relationship with ourself, and then our relationships with others. Trusting ourselves and others, as well as discerning where our value comes from, are basic tools we need to develop in order to have healthy relationships.
Trust is not one of those things that you can check off of your “to-do” list and have it be completed. Rather, trust grows slowly; moment by moment it gathers momentum until you have a history of positive experiences that allow you to trust someone to be there for you in the way you need.
My granddaughter Lena is 6 months old. Spending time with her has shined the light on the importance of trust in relationships. She is just turning over on her own. She is not sitting up by herself yet, and of course she is not talking or walking. She has to cry to let us know when she is hungry, when she has a wet or dirty diaper and when she is tired and needs to go to bed. She cannot do anything for herself. Without someone to care for her, she would perish.
When I stop to think about what it would be like if I could no longer do all of the things she’s yet to learn, I am impacted by the enormity of trust I’d need to have in others. I’d need to trust that someone would be there for me to help me with these basic physical needs.
And yet, Lena trusts that when she cries someone will be there because this is her experience over and over again. Lena has a lesson for us. She cannot do anything for us, and yet we love her unconditionally. How can this be?
For me, it’s her eye contact and smile. When she looks into my eyes, and gives me her dazzling smile, I’m smitten. She has the innate ability “to be” with me.
This is a lesson worthy of remembering. We cannot earn someone’s love by the list of things we do, rather love grows by the repeated experiences we have with someone who shares their energetic, spiritual love with us.
My mother-in-law, Transita is 98 years old. She is at the other end of the spectrum of life, and some of the same physical needs appear. She spent this past weekend with us. She needs help in sitting down, getting up and walking. She doesn’t always get to the bathroom in time and has to let us know when she needs to go. Transita highlighted the second valuable lesson in relationships, the “being vs. doing” lesson. This is a difficult lesson because it demands that we look inward for our value, instead of associating our value with what we are capable of doing.
Transita raised eight children and has always been a hard worker. She feels best emotionally when she’s active and cleaning. Her value is connected to what she does. She got sick while she was with us and needed to rest. She wanted to wash dishes and apologized for not “being able to do anything.” She said, “I can’t believe I got sick. It’s hard when you get old. I’m sorry I can’t help you.” I told her, “Mom, we love you because of who you are, not for what you do for us.”
This is a hard lesson to learn, but it is one of the most important lessons we need to learn. Remembering that our value comes from within vs. what we do helps us cultivate a more loving relationship with ourselves and others. It also allows us to put our trust in others more easily.
If we know that our value is in our shared experiences, and not in give and take actions, then that helps us to cultivate a better relationship with ourselves, a deeper relationship with others and it creates a stronger sense of confidence and self, allowing us to see the intangible gifts that we have to offer others and the intangible gifts that others are giving to us. This strengthens the trust in our current relationships and our ability to trust others more openly in relationships to come.
What can you do to increase your trust in yourself and your others? How can you refocus your value on who you are vs. what you do?
I invite you to share your thoughts with us. Submit your self-love post here.
Blessings on your Self-Love Diet,
Michelle Minero, the Co-Founder of this blog and the overarching Love Warrior Community published her book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works. You can buy her book online or at stores in Petaluma, Sonoma and Healdsburg, California. For upcoming events and book signings, visit Michelle’s Events page.
Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. Michelle’s book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works, was published on January 23, 2013. You can purchase a copy through Amazon. Her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies.
Michelle created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter.