How does reading these words make you feel? Has anyone ever expressed such love to you? These words were written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love. Here is what she shared regarding these words:
Dear Ones -
Some of you may remember these lines from EAT PRAY LOVE. ...
These are the words I said to myself (wrote to myself, actually) when I was lonely and scared in the middle of the night in Rome, far away from all who loved me.
This was a practice I had started about a year earlier, when I was in the worst of my depression — to write compassionate and loving letters to myself in a notebook, saying to myself everything I had always wished somebody else would say to me.
Until I learned how to speak to myself this way, I had no chance of peace.
Other people can love you. Other people can comfort you. But other people often come and go. And if you can't soothe and reassure yourself in your darkest, loneliest hour, nobody can.
There were nights when I sat up for hours, writing words like this to myself again and again, through a scrim of tears and waves of panic. And often another (angrier) part of me would scrawl at the bottom of the page: "This is bullshit. I don't believe in you." Then I would patiently begin writing again at the top of the next page, "But I believe in YOU. And I will not leave your side. I will love you and take care of you forever..." On it would go, until I could finally fall asleep.
Then again the next night...and so on.
That's how I walked through my darkest valley.
I will tell you this — there are STILL hard nights sometimes when I take out the old notebook and ask, "Are you still there?"
"I am still here," I will start writing, "I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here with you. I love you and I will take care of you..."
My promise to myself is this: I will walk beside myself for as long as I live, holding my own hand, taking care of the soul with which I have been entrusted.
I will do that always, whether anybody else is in the room with me or not.
You must learn how to tell yourself that you are loved. You must tell yourself this again and again until slowly you learn to believe it. Start writing yourself love letters. It feels weird at first, but keep going. Practice. Practice more. Practice EVEN more. You'll need it someday — or you may need it right now.
Life can be hard, but without your own certain love for your own tenderest self, it is simply impossible.
Be good to you.
These words are beautifully written, and the heart of them is true. I long to hear these words from another. I long to believe that I will not be abandoned; that love will not have limits; that I will be kept in love through eternity. I struggle to express love and compassion towards myself. I know the depravity of my heart and the depths of my inward struggles, doubts and fears. I know that I am not deserving of such love; or really that loving me this way would just be impossible within human limits. Thus, I struggle to offer this love to myself and I resist accepting it from others.
What if it's not about deserving this love? What if there is a love bigger than the love I can express towards myself? What if tapping into this source of love frees me to extend love and compassion towards myself and to others?
Only God can make this promise to me. God loves me infinitely, and thus I can love myself. God shows compassion to me and remembers that I am dust. My love for myself is finite. My love for myself is limited. My love is effected by my emotions and hormones and fatigue. God's love has no end, no limit, no flaw. I am loved perfectly and I am complete and kept in the knowledge of this love.
Do you believe in this love? Have you experienced this love? Ask the Spirit to strengthen your inner being today so that you are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. Ask for the ability to comprehend the vast love of our God. If it doesn't feel true today, take heart. God's love is there. His love is true, it is real and He is waiting for you. If you don't feel it, reach out anyway. If you can't understand it, that's okay, you're in good company with all of the saints!
Find hope in His love today. Find compassion and love for your soul and the souls of all you encounter out of the vast riches of His love poured over you. Take a moment to close your eyes and see yourself resting in His arms. Hear the words your soul was created to long for, "you are loved, you are dear, and I will never let you go. Never."