Ten Ways To Love Ourselves
Reflections on Louise Hay's Inspiring Book, "The Power Is Within You"

Dear Friends on our Journey,

My name is Mari and I am a grateful compulsive overeater in recovery. I am compulsive in other ways also. Many times we who have this disease will give up one addiction and quickly replace it with another. I don't like this disease. In fact, I hate it. Aside from the fact that it is complex, aside from the fact that it can make one's life pretty miserable, aside from the fact that it is cunning, baffling and many, many other things I believe this disease stems from the fact that we simply do not love ourselves enough.

"Infantile love follows the principle:
I love because I am loved.
Mature love follows the principle:
I am loved because I love.

Erich Fromm

This begins a special series of Journey to Recovery about ways we can love ourselves more. Specifically in ten different ways. Before we do that, however, I wanted to prepare myself to think about love before I write about it.

I've often told you about a period of my life when I closed off my emotions and could not love nor could I receive love. I'm not sure I would have ever been able to do that again had I not found my program of recovery ~ The Twelve Steps. Since God allowed me to feel again, I have had a problem only once with coming close to shutting off my emotions .... and, although I came perilously close to doing that again, because of my hope that this program works, I was able to keep that from happening.

In the quote above, it speaks of "infantile" love. An immature love. A love that "happens" when someone loves us. Doesn't work that way, does it? We might think it does ... and it may be a type of love ... but Fromm is right when he speaks of it as "infantile." If someone came to me tomorrow morning and said "I love you, Mari", I could not begin to love that person simply because he/she loved me. I could go through the machinations of doing so ... but it would not be the kind of love I would be looking for. And it would not be the kind of love I want to give another.

As complicated as it is, as inexplicable as it is .... mature love comes only with the giving of it. We all know that unconditional acceptance is found in the rooms of OA. And once we experience that ... we can move on to self acceptance. And from there we find the ability to accept and love others WITHOUT CONDITIONS OR EXPECTATIONS.

I'd like you to think about something as we go through these ten days of trying to learn to love ourselves more. Think about those we love and those who love us and let us ask ourselves if that is the "infantile" love or the "mature" love.

And my last thought is something that I have said so many times to you that an OA speaker once said:

"I love you; whether you love me is beside the point."

Dear God,
As I continue on this journey
to recovery with my friends, please
help us all to learn to love ourselves more
so that we can give unconditional love as well
as experience it ourselves

The Recovery Group

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