HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY friends
The following is a guest post by Amber Strocel
Human beings have a way of taking simple things, and making them difficult. Consider the lawn. We cover our yards with grass – a plant that is simply not meant to grow everywhere. There may be too much or not enough sun, or too much or not enough water. We battle weeds and moss and dogs who would poop on our lawns. We spend large amounts of time and money making the grass grow, only to complain about having to mow it. Why do we do this? I honestly don’t know, and I do it too. It’s just what’s expected of us, and so we plant, maintain and complain about our lawns.
Because of our love of complicating things, we often reject simple answers. “It can’t really be that easy,” we say to ourselves. But what if it was really that easy?
Bringing Love Into the World
Wendy Irene’s mission is to bring more love into the world. It reminds me that love is a very simple answer to many of the problems that we encounter in our lives. I really believe that if we could love more, we would lead happier and more fulfilled lives. We would be offering our best selves to the world, and receiving the best from others in return.
There are lots of different kinds of love. There’s romantic love. There’s the love that a parent holds for a child. There’s the love we have for our families, the love we have for our friends, the love we have for the people who inspire us and the love we have for people from our past. Biggest of all, there’s the love we have for ourselves. They’re all important, they all make a difference, and if we can hold all of them, we’ll be helping to create a better life for ourselves and others.
I’m a mom, which means that I spend a lot of time doing things for other people. Preparing meals for my children and getting up in the middle of the night when someone has a bad dream come with the territory. As I do this, it’s easy to let my own needs fall by the wayside. I’m very good at giving love, but I’m not always so good at accepting love. And, somewhat ironically, the person I have the hardest time accepting love from is myself.
How would things look different if I placed the love and compassion I have for myself on equal footing with the love and compassion I have for my children? I imagine that I would beat myself up less for making mistakes. I would offer myself understanding if I hadn’t slept well and I was hungry and it was all making me cranky. I would take better care of myself, and make sure my own needs were met. I would make time for the things that I like to do. As a result, I would probably be a happier person. In turn, I would likely be a more patient mother and wife, and better able to offer genuine love to the other people in my life.
Love is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Many of us have spent so long ignoring our own needs that we’re not even sure where to start. It takes time to rediscover where our happiness lies, and to learn how to practice compassion. The good news is that over time you can become better at accepting love, from others and yourself. You just need to be willing to start.
Crafting my Life
I have been on a personal journey to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life for almost three years now. A big part of that journey has been learning how to offer myself the same love and compassion that I offer to others. It hasn’t always been an easy lesson for me to pick up. I really was terribly out of practice.
One of my biggest realizations about accepting love came as I considered my children. The best way to teach something to our kids is to model it in our own lives. I want my kids to grow up loving themselves. This means that I need to learn how love myself, so that I am setting a good example for them. Taking time for myself isn’t something I do because I’m selfish, it’s something that I do to increase my own happiness, which makes me a better mother. It’s also something I do so that my children can see how to take care of their own needs.
My own journey towards living a more authentic and purposeful life has grown into something I call Crafting my Life. Crafting my Life is a set of online tools for busy moms who want to create positive change in their own lives. It’s targeted to moms because we have some special constraints in our lives. It’s hard for us to get out of the house to take classes or spend time by ourselves. Crafting my Life is something that you can do on your own schedule, at your own pace, without ever having to leave your house.
We don’t have to make everything in our lives complicated. We can embrace the simple answers, like giving and accepting love. In the process, we’ll be creating a better world for ourselves and our children. Nothing could be better than that.
Amber Strocel is a writer, life-crafter, dreamer, and rather shoddy housekeeper who lives in the Vancouver area with her husband and two kids. She’s devoted to simplifying and living a more sustainable life. She helps moms follow their bliss at Crafting my Life, records her daily adventures on her blog Strocel.com, and works as the Content Manager for VancouverMom.ca.