PREVIOUS: Being Loved #2
SITE: Roach Motel for Lovers∼
POSTS: “Not enough Love?”
BOOK: “Is Your Love Tank Empty? : …..”∼ Bo Sanchez (re. God’s love)
How do you know if your love tank is low or near empty?
DEPRESSION: feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, sad…. & unlovable
FEEL LOST: lack direction, don’t know what you want to do in life
WEIGHT : eat to find the comfort & love you’re not getting elsewhere
RELATIONSHIP : your partner may be trying to connect, but since you’re speaking different ‘love language’ it’s not working (Five Love Languages)
With a low or empty Love Tank, we feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, sad…. and then treat others UN-lovingly, which can lessen their love tanks too. Many of us did come from a family that was not able to fill our tank on a regular basis. So we didn’t learn how to fill our own, which is our task now.
Many people go for the quick fix – some temporary external source to fill our love tank & get rid of the yucky feeling of hollowness & pain. We’re familiar with all the many things we use to get relief – additions & distractions. But none of them work, not only because they come from the outside, but because they’re not LOVE.
NOTE : The only external source of Love that’s 100% reliable, always available, safe & totally filling – is God’s Love. (John 3:16 + 19 other verses)
Some of us go for more ‘positive fillers’ which seem OK – giving to others, being social, getting love from someone else. These may not be as worthless & harmful as the more obvious ones, but can be just as insubstantial. And outside sources are not always available, & not reliable in the long-term.
It’s like eating lots of cotton candy when we’re very hungry & need healthy nourishing food. It may taste good at first, but evaporates as soon as it goes in, & so our tank stays depleted. This is co-dependence.
HOW is the Love Tank filled?
Naturally, with what the tank is made to hold – LOVE. From ourselves first. Then from appropriate others.
LOVE is not mainly adoration, worship or self-sacrifice, although in some cases it can be : a first-time mother with her newborn, a brand new love relationship, our gratitude-response to a patient & Loving God….
LOVE is an emotion expressed in actions, based on our beliefs about it, & a willingness to show it. It consists of small everyday things we do for ourselves & for others (when possible) which are kind, thoughtful & suited to the current situation.
LOVE is consistent & persistent, not the flash-in-the-pan excitement based on a fantasy about who someone is or will be – for us!
Sometimes LOVE shows up as putting in a lot of effort, not just for that big job of helping a friend move apartments, but having the courage to persistently push for Recovery from our childhood abuse, especially as it means facing & feeling deep pain & fear. That’s real LOVE toward ourselves!
ACoAs assume we don’t have a right to be loved – that we’re worthless junk – but the longing & human need to be loved doesn’t go away. We think that longing is stupid – a character defect!. If our parents didn’t treat us lovingly – then why should we? It’s why we pick such unavailable & abusive people to marry, be friends with, work for….. But Al-Anon reminds us that “God doesn’t make junk!”
Here are some very basic ways for us to practices healthy self-love, to fill the love tank. All of then take time & effort. The UNIT is in charge of implementing these because the Wounded Kid & Bad Parent will fight against them. So it takes intention & perseverance, but you are worth the effort, even if the family couldn’t see it. Start with a small thought or action today.
How do you refill your love tank?
ALSO : Commit to your physical health – cut back on drinking, improve eating habits, & exercise regularly. This CHART identifies what body parts are affected by emotional, mental & social stressors.
NEXT: Kindness #1