“Love yourself first, because that’s who you will be spending the rest of your life with.” ~~Unknown
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it.” ~~Anna Taylor
“The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.” ~~Sahaj Kohli
#7 Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.
The need for love is basic human yearning and as children many turned to parents for that critical life affirmation. But what happens when we only equate love with someone else? We lose the ability to love ourselves and satisfy our own needs. This can open the door to unhealthy dependencies and addiction. However, sobriety and Statement #7 practiced daily can create a portal for self-love to blossom so that we may comfort, protect, and develop ourselves.
Self-love is not selfish; it is akin to the old adage of “putting on your own oxygen mask first.” Being able to care about meeting our needs reinforces that we are worthwhile and validates ourselves. Initially, this was difficult to understand and embrace. It felt unfamiliar and uneasy, but as I practiced the WFS Statements, I began to look at myself differently and was able to love myself.
Discovering how to love ourselves on this journey of sobriety and recovery can take many forms, from an inward circle of health consciousness to outer boundary settings and everything in-between. This week take some time to make yourself a priority and love yourself. Look deep and reflect where you need more self-love and take at least one action towards it. Share your insights in a journal, group or on the WFS Online Forum, after all, you’re worth it!
Hi 4C Women,
Self-care is a major part of the path to self-love. For many women, the guilt of our past choices leads us to neglect ourselves and overcompensate by doing way too much for others, expecting it to fill our empty love tank. When we decide to take the path of self-care, we either feel selfish or are told we are being selfish. For me, it became about finding balance, setting healthy boundaries which eventually led to self-respect and self-love. This was difficult at first because it felt so uncomfortable giving positive attention to myself.
I remember doing so much for my family that I felt guilty for doing anything that could be seen as taking time away from them. I also saw myself doing the same thing when I was working and volunteering. I was the classic example of “rejection” fear if I started practicing self-care and doing less for others in the process. Rejection meant I was unlovable and what that finally lead to was a very unhappy, self-loathing woman who coped by drinking. When I eventually learned to say no (which is a complete sentence), I was quite surprised that the world didn’t stop turning or at least partially collapse! While I still struggle with balancing self-care and giving care, I know there is a foundation of self-love.
That foundation has become a sort of alarm system that starts a warning beep when the batteries are getting low. As Statement #7 says, Love can change the course of my world, caring is all important. Be sure you are part of that love and caring. If it’s a challenge to do so, ask yourself if you love yourself enough to practice self-care. If the answer is no, find ways to begin filling your love tank with positive self-talk, be compassionate with yourself as you are with others, refute those self-esteem wreckers I call the inner critic. One way to do that is to name the inner critic and when it starts sending old, untruthful messages from the past, politely ask them to be quiet and flick them off your shoulder!
What’s your inner critic’s name and are you ready to refute the negative, false messages it is whispering in your ear? I sometimes give the positive messages my name and just say, “Dee, you are so correct! You may stay on my shoulder and continue whispering wonderful things about who I am TODAY.” I am including a writing that helped me tremendously on this self-love, self-caring path of recovery. It especially helped me when I was going through my separation and divorce. I hope you find it uplifting as well.
The Most Important Relationship
By Jo Coudert
You do not need to be loved… not at the cost of yourself.
The single most important relationship which is central is the relationship with self.
It is rewarding to find someone you like but essential to like yourself.
It is quickening to recognize that someone is a decent human being but it is indispensable to view yourself that way.
It is a delight to discover people who are worthy of respect, admiration and love, but it is vital to believe yourself worthy of respect, admiration and love.
For you cannot live in someone else.
Of all the people you will ever know in a lifetime, you are the only one that you will never lose or leave.
To the question of your life, you are the answer.
To the problem of your life, you are the solution.
Bonded in self-care, self-love and knowing that caring is all important, Dee
“Don’t forget to love yourself” – Soren Kierkegaard
“Love is not just something we say or write. Love is the face we put on, the clothes we wear, the way we walk and move…our very heart and soul.” – Amy E. Dean from Night Light.
We are all willing to love and we agree with the premise that love can change the course of our world. But it’s doing it that’s tough because we must reveal ourselves, we must give of ourselves and not be afraid if rejection follows. Are we afraid to love because we might be turned away? “ – Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick, Founder of WFS
Love can change the course of my world
Caring becomes all important
Hi 4C Women, Last Monday I shared how much I miss Karen’s inspiration in writing the first part of the MondayThoughts. I remembered that she wrote 4 volumes around the 13 WFS Statements and that I have all 4 of them! What a gift to be able to share with you.
Sobriety has allowed me to understand that I need to love myself. In the past, I demanded to be loved while alcohol fueled the intensity of those demands.
Sobriety is an act of loving me. It is a gift I give to myself each day. Jean Kirkpatrick wrote, “It is often said that we learn to love by loving, a kind of on-the-job- training.”
I was beginning to learn to love myself in early sobriety. I was experiencing long hidden feelings, responding to myself with love. I felt compassion beginning to rise within me and I felt glimpses of a calmness that has continued to flourish…inner peace.
Today I know that I am a loving person. I feel that love in many, many ways and I am continuing to learn and grow.
Love begins with me. Hugzz, Karen
Good Morning 4C Women,
When I first read this Statement so many years ago, I was reluctant to be vulnerable as the fear of rejection loomed large in my mind because I had experienced it too many times. What I learned is what Karen so clearly states, “Love begins with me!” I had such a narrow, limited view of love, confined strictly to romantic love. Through WFS and therapy, I have learned that love is expansive from loving friends, pets, hobbies, adventures, nature, books, family, learning, writing, oh the list is endless. I realized that I was surrounded by love and I began to accept it and return it with authenticity. It was as though I suddenly was able to carry love in my heart wherever I was and it felt awesome. Gone was the emptiness, the fear of rejection I carried like a 2-ton boulder on my shoulders. I no longer worried if I was not accepted by everyone because I learned to accept myself right where I was at that moment. I had to become my own best friend. One of the greatest gifts was learning to love myself. I felt I had found not only self-love but as a WFS facilitator, I found a safe home to express my caring and compassion for others.
How would you describe the relationship you have with yourself? Is it loving, accepting, growing in a caring direction? If not, perhaps spend time seeking to uncover why and work through whatever is keeping you from the love, respect and joy you need and deserve.
How has learning to love yourself changed the way you define love for others
Are you more open to being vulnerable on your love journey, letting go of the fear of rejection, knowing you have built a strong foundation of self-love
What/Who is on your love list
How do you express caring for others
In a quiet moment, ask yourself what you can do to help yourself feel more compassion and love toward yourself
What are some of the ways you celebrate yourself?
Bonded in learning that love comes to us in diverse ways and that self-love and caring is all important, Dee
In our WFS Program booklet it states “Learning to love ourselves and others can be very challenging. We may distrust others and fear being vulnerable. We may be unable to accept love because we doubt it is valid or deserved. As our self-image improves, we learn how to accept love and affirm we are worthy of love.” As we grow in our New Lives, love is at the center of everything and Statement #7 is the bridge that connects the world.
The self-image of myself before my New Life was one that was filled with shame. I did not know how to forgive myself or to even care for myself. With the practice of this life-changing Statement over the years, I have been able to learn how to love myself and practice self-care. This is an ever-evolving process. Being able to identify my needs, set boundaries and listen to my heart has come gradually, but it started with love.
In early sobriety, loving myself began with each day sober. Closing my eyes at night, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I did not know it then, but this was the beginning of self-care. From this one action, others soon began to follow. Being in online chats and then a face to face group offered new insights and I saw how other women were caring for themselves. We laughed together, we cried together, we were learning to live and apply Statement #7. Today, the process continues, with love changing the course of my world.
How do you practice Statement #7 in your daily life?
Hi 4C Women,
I love the first quote because I was always filling my love tank with the need to have others love me rather than learning to love myself. There could never be enough love from others to fill that empty space. It’s the same as happiness. People can add love and happy moments to our lives yet they cannot be the sole source of it. I’m sure I pushed people away due to my neediness for love and constant approval. What was so conflicting is that I knew others did love and care about me yet I slowly began to realize that unless I learned to love myself, I would never truly embrace their love. I had to actively practice living Statement #7 as I finally understood that I could not burden only others to fill my love tank. Self-love was holding me back from fully embracing what I was receiving from others. I couldn’t believe that anyone could honestly love me when I was filled with shame, disgust and unworthiness. If they knew the real me, I guaranteed myself that their love and caring would disappear enhancing my already deep fear of rejection. What would I be left with? It took sobriety, therapy and WFS to untangle the thoughts that kept me trapped from loving myself and accepting the love from others without judging those feelings. In the process, I learned to forgive myself, started nourishing my spiritual and emotional wellbeing to bring me to a place of self-love, self-worthiness and acceptance of who I am today and not who I was in my self-loathing. This is when I also began to appreciate Statement #9 in healing from the past and Statement #7 in knowing that love and caring can change the course of my world by changing how I think and feel about it.
Here are some questions I found online about learning to love yourself in order to receive and accept love from others:
What does self-love mean to you?
What do you already love about yourself? (Keep positive, not listing things you need to change or improve upon to love yourself.)
What does your self-care routine look like? (Does it make you feel worthy, valuable and important?)
What do you believe about loving yourself? Are there rules, conditions, limitations?
What rules or conditions can you release to awaken to powerful self-love?
What do you need to be more at peace with yourself, i.e., setting boundaries, honest look at self-care practices, sharing a truth with a trusted person?
What are you holding onto that isn’t serving you anymore?
What do you value you about yourself?
What fulfills you?
These are deep, thought-provoking questions. I encourage you to give as much time as you need to uncover the answers in order to move forward in self-love and accepting/receiving caring from others.
Bonded in understanding and accepting that self-love, loving and caring for others can change the course of our world in a powerful way., Dee
Join the private Facebook group New Life Program Connections to get support right on your News Feed. Only other group members can see who is in the group and what is posted there.
You will also get real-time access to the new Facebook Live Tuesday Talk series, featuring information about the New Life Program, the Women for Sobriety organization, and personal stories of 4C women!
“Be softer with you. You are a breathing thing, a memory to someone, a home to life.” ~~Nayyirah Waheed
“Today, let this be a reminder and a permission slip to love and nurture yourself, may your self-talk be kind, patient and forgiving. May your pace be gentle, your breath slow and full. The next time you look in the mirror and see this marvelous creature blinking back at you, allow love and acceptance to wash over you as a parent feels for a child, love for every quirk and freckle, for every atom and attribute.” ~~ Tamara Levitt
Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” ~~Eckhart Tolle
#7 Love can change the course of my world. Caring is all-important.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Who I saw towards the end of active addiction was broken, unworthy and felt beyond repair, yet there was still something else present: love. This small fraction within myself contained hope and the 13 WFS Acceptance Statements enabled love to grow from that hope.
Statement #7 in action changes the course of our world. Much like when a vehicle travels off track, love can apply the brakes and foster guidance. In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet it states, “When we are free to love, and do love, all other emotions follow in complete and total purity. Our feelings are worthy of us. With love first, we are able to function perfectly. We are freed from negativities. Today I will put love first.”
When I look in the mirror today, I see worth, healing and growth. This week, let us put action into Statement #7 by taking the time to nurture, accept and be yourself. Schedule time for creating well-being and examine your self-talk every day. What can you do to engage and invest in yourself? Remember, you are a one of a kind, beautiful example of love in action!
Hi 4C Women,
Years ago, I turned to others, seeking approval and acceptance, believing that would lead to self-love and self-worth. I was so needy and dependent on others to define my worth, my being lovable. Learning to love myself changed my life completely. I didn’t think it was possible yet learning to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk, to believe I was actually worthy of loving and being loved, that I had value and worth to give and be given, was a treasured gift that this Statement and the WFS program gave me. In this time of social isolation, it has become even more evident how caring for others and ourselves is vital to our self-esteem and well-being.
Here are a few ways to build our self-esteem:
1. Review your strengths and achievements. Celebrate your own special qualities. Make a list of qualities that you like about yourself, things you are good at such as having a sense of humor, being a thoughtful person, having patience, creative, good listener, etc. If you are having a hard time with your list, ask some close friends. You may be surprised with what they come up with. When you are having a bad day and feeling down, bring out this list and reaffirm yourself.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others. If you are focusing on people you think are “better” than you, it will only set you up for more negative thoughts and even lower self-esteem. No one is perfect. On the other hand, by noting the characteristics or behaviors of people you admire, you can try to develop those same characteristics in yourself.
3. Don’t be a doormat: Learn how to say NO. You don’t have to say yes to everything people ask of you. Start to develop boundaries and accept that it is perfectly OK to say no. If you don’t acknowledge your needs and desires, no one else will. It leaves the door open for people to take advantage of you. If you can learn to say no sometimes, you are telling yourself you have value. (Remember that “no” is a complete sentence that doesn’t require an explanation. Also, saying you want to think about a request gives you time to decide whether or not this is something you want or feel you can and have the time to do.)
4. Learn how to accept compliments. It’s great to receive compliments. Accept them graciously. Just say thank you and smile. If you dismiss compliments or ignore them, you are giving the message that you are not worthy of them. In the future people may be less likely to compliment you if they think you are just going to brush them off.
5. Associate with positive people. Being around people who are positive and supportive will help you feel better about yourself. If you surround yourself with negative people, they may influence your own attitude or put you or your ideas down. Find time for your friends. Stay in touch, whether by phone or e-mail. Having a network of positive, supportive friends can be a great source of support.
This list is a few years old and I’m not even sure who the author is yet I feel they are great guides and wanted to share them with you.
Bonded in learning to love ourselves and knowing that caring is all important, Dee
Test your tech and make new connections during three drop-in Open Houses during the week prior to the official conference event. Practice logging in to a Zoom meeting and learn tips & tricks from our Geek Gal Squad, which will be on-call all weekend.
Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
“There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit, and supplies passion to our lives.” ~~Elisabeth Kubler Ross
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” Brene Brown
“Something inside you emerges…an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness. It is the unconditioned, who you are in your essence. It is what you had been looking for in the love object. It is yourself.” ~~Eckhart Tolle
In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Practice of Statement #7 leads to understanding love and the importance of self-care. Our New Life depends on establishing healthy, loving, relationships, first with ourselves and then with others.” While understanding love is an easy concept to comprehend, self-care may not be. So, what is self-care?
In today’s busy world, self-care is sometimes considered selfish, and oftentimes misunderstood. Yet, self-care IS NOT SELFISH and is exactly what is needed in order to feel a sense of balance, connection and to feel loved. In our New Lives, not drinking or using is our first act of self-care we experience. As our recovery unfolds, understanding and application of self-care expands.
How fitting is it that Valentine’s Day is this week. It is an opportune time to examine how we love ourselves and to plan self-care. Statement #7 states that “Caring is all-important.” How do you love and care for yourself? What are some actions that you can add to your self-care routine?
Statement #7 Tool:
Here are 12 ways to get started with your self-care by author Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. If you would like to share your tools for self-care, email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Make sleep part of your self-care routine. Sleep can have a huge effect on how you feel both emotionally and physically. Not getting enough can even cause major health issues. But stress and other distractions can wreak havoc on our sleep. What do you do to make sleep part of a self-care routine? Start by thinking about your nightly routine. Are you eating or drinking immediately before bed? If so, it’s especially important to stay away from caffeine and sugar, which tend to keep you awake.
Reducing stress is also key. If you have work-related stress, think about the best ways to calm yourself after a hard day or relax more while on the job. You might talk to your employer about lessening your workload or settle a disagreement with a coworker. Next, make sure your bedroom is the best possible place for you to get good REM sleep. It should be free of distractions (such as a television, laptop, cellphone, etc.). And make sure you have room-darkening curtains to keep the sun from waking you up too early in the mornings.
2. Take care of yourself by taking care of your gut. Your gut health can have a significant impact on your health, well-being, and feelings of vitality. The types of foods you eat crucially impact the bacteria that live in your stomach, resulting in a cascade of either positive or negative outcomes. An unhappy gut can lead to an unhappy person, and vice-versa.
3. Exercise daily as part of your self-care routine. We all know exercise is good for us, but do we really know how good it is? Daily exercise can help you both physically and mentally, boosting your mood and reducing stress and anxiety, not to mention helping you shed extra weight. Of course, it might be hard to go to the gym every day, so try to incorporate other exercises, such as walking, tennis, or yoga, which may be able to fit into your schedule more easily. The most important thing is to create a routine that works for you.
4. Eat right for self-care. The food we eat has the potential to either keep us healthy or contribute to weight gain or diseases such as diabetes, but it can also keep our minds working and alert. Eating the right foods can help prevent short-term memory loss and inflammation, both of which can have long-term effects on the brain and, in turn, the rest of the body. Some of the most amazing self-care foods include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy veggies, and brassicas, like broccoli.
5. Say no to others, and say yes to your self-care. Learning to say no is really hard; many of us feel obligated to say yes when someone asks for our time or energy. However, if you’re already stressed or overworked, saying yes to loved ones or coworkers can lead to burnout, anxiety, and irritability. It may take a little practice, but once you learn how to politely say no, you’ll start to feel more empowered, and you’ll have more time for your self-care.
6. Take a self-care trip. Taking a self-care trip can make a huge difference in your life. Even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed, getting away for a weekend every now and then can help you disconnect, relax, and be rejuvenated. These self-care trips don’t have to be costly; simply drive to the next town over and see the sights, or go camping nearby. The goal is to veer away from your normal schedule and take the time to do something just for yourself.
7. Take a self-care break by getting outside. Spending time outside can help you reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and be more mindful. Studies have even shown that getting outside can help reduce fatigue, making it a great way to overcome symptoms of depression or burnout. Getting outside can also help you sleep better at night, especially if you do some physical activity, like hiking or walking, while you are outside.
8. Let a pet help you with your self-care. Pets can bring a boost to our lives. From giving unconditional love to providing companionship, pets can be hugely beneficial for our self-care. Dogs especially can help reduce stress and feelings of anxiety and can even lower blood pressure. In fact, many people who suffer from disorders like PTSD have benefited from working daily with animals, which is why service dogs have become so helpful for these individuals.
9. Take care of yourself by getting organized. Getting organized is often the first step to becoming a healthier you, because it allows you to figure out exactly what you need to do to take better care of yourself. A small change, like keeping a planner or a calendar on the fridge, can help you write down all your responsibilities and appointments, while at the same time keeping your life a bit more organized. You can also create an area to keep keys, purses, backpacks, briefcases, and coats, and make sure they’re ready to go for the next day.
10. Cook at home to care for yourself. Many people don’t take the time to make themselves meals, preferring instead to stop for fast food or popping a pre-made meal in the microwave. But these “fast” meals aren’t usually sufficient when it comes to feeding your body the right kinds of calories and nutrients. Even if it’s only once a week, consider making a healthy meal for yourself or your whole family. You could even look into a meal delivery service or meal kit that can help you get started.
11. Read a book on self-care for self-care. In today’s fast-paced world, we tend to turn to our phones for entertainment or comfort, scrolling through news feeds that can contribute to our stress and anxiety rather than helping it. Instead, consider bringing a book with you when you leave the house. Even better, bring books on self-care, so that you can learn more about how to take care of yourself while you are taking care of yourself. You might be amazed at the difference it can make when you slow down instead of always looking at your phone. Not only can it help improve your mood, but it can also help you to stay more present and mindful.
12. Schedule your self-care time, and guard that time with everything you have. It can be hard for us all to find extra time. But it’s extremely important to plan regular self-care time. Moments alone can help you to ponder the best ways to move forward in your life and keep you grounded. And moments with friends can help you feel more connected and relaxed.
Hi 4C Women,
Self-care is part of the journey to self-love. In years past, I over compensated for my need to be loved and accepted by being a people pleaser, feeling guilty if I even thought of saying no and doing something just for me. I lost the power to say no and my fear of rejection was so overwhelming. It took a while to work through this fear of rejection and forgive myself for a past I could not change. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would look in the mirror at my reflection and feel that I was a lovable, worthwhile human being. I had to care as much about myself as I did others. Besides forgiveness, I also needed to learn self-respect. It was quite challenging to overcome the feelings of guilt and begin to respect myself but I did learn and while there are moments of regret, I know that self-care and self-love are the keys to creating and keeping my New Life. It’s freedom to me. Freedom from the burden of saying yes when I meant no, freedom to shed the guilt and shame of all my yesterdays that can’t be changed and freedom to nurture my soul and spirit. To be so bold as to say I deserve it! I worked really hard to have this and the journey wasn’t an easy path at times. Yet Learning to love myself has actually given me more freedom to love others genuinely. I can breathe and when I am gasping for air, I have great support in the group and the 13 Statements to continue guiding me.
For those struggling with self-love, ask yourself what you love about yourself right now. Be as detailed as possible. This list is not about the things you need to change or improve upon to achieve self-love. This is what you love about yourself today, right now.
What is in your self-care routine now?
How could you love yourself enough to forgive yourself, nourish yourself, feed your soul and live in the moment?
Bonded in Self-Care and Self-Love, knowing that caring for ourselves and others can change the course of our world and that caring is all important, Dee
“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.” Victor Hugo
“Do you have to have a reason for loving?” ~~Brigitte Bardot
“Love harder than any pain you have ever felt.” ~~unknown
Statement #7: Love can change the course of my world. Caring is all-important.
The concept of love can be easy to identify, yet it’s the giving and receiving of love which can feel difficult, especially in early sobriety and recovery. Before WFS and a sober New Life, rejecting love came easily since it felt foreign and uncomfortable, whether directed at self or others. Today, with hindsight being 20/20 and the practice of the WFS Statements, it is much easier to give, receive and even greater understand this thing called love.
Statement #7, the first of the WFS “Love Statements” encourages giving and receiving love, and it begins with self. The act of maintaining sobriety for 24 hours is a gift of a full day of love. Instead of running away from life into alcohol or a substance, sobriety and recovery connect the experience of living, and not just merely existing.
In our WFS Program booklet on page 23, “Self-love is a gift that allows us to build healthy relationships with ourselves and others.” Take a moment to examine the relationships in your life. Some may have changed, some may have not. Maybe some relationships no longer exist or have done a 180°. What is different? What is the same? Are you better able to embrace love today? If not, what one small act can you take to welcome love into your life?
Hugzzz and love
Hi 4C Women,
After all these years, I hadn’t thought that maintaining sobriety for 24 hours as a gift of love, yet how true that is! That act of self-love can be practiced in many areas of our lives, i.e., setting boundaries, saying yes when we want to and saying no as well, setting time aside for our needs, identifying and expressing those needs to others, being true to ourselves and being assertive.
For me, being assertive is saying that what I feel/think is important enough to share it when the opportunity presents itself. In the days of low self-esteem, I never felt confident enough to stand up for myself. I was intimidated and fearful of more rejection so I just accepted negative comments. In learning to stand up for myself, I also learned compassion and empathy for those who struggled as I had. I truly cared and care for their hurts. I have also learned to lessen my own pain, to not take negative comments at face value and be crushed by them. I just see those people as broken and trying to fix themselves by hurting others to feel better. That doesn’t work. It just pushes people away and that’s a sad, lonely place to be.
So, I encourage you to risk giving and receiving love, starting with loving yourself. Love is a powerful emotion and it creates avenues of personal and emotional growth.
I hope you will take the time to answer Karen’s questions and perhaps add to that the questions in the New Life Diary:
Make a list of the people you love and why you love them.
Make a list of the people you have difficulty loving and why.
What is your definition of love?
What do you think your answers will reveal about love changing your world?
Bonded in changing our world with love,
4C WFS Member