The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Love Thy Self …

By Lisa Barr

So I had a stupid fight with my husband the other night. We were watching a TV show together, and the main character did something that my husband does that pisses me off. Of course, he let out a hearty “I can TOTALLY relate, Dude” laugh at the character’s actions — and it just pressed my button.

“You’re an asshole,” I said, as he kept laughing.

We went to bed sans our usual snuggling, kisses good-night and the trimmings. I then had one of those bad dreams, waking up at 3:45 a.m. (and never falling back asleep). I wanted to curl up to my hubby and then remembered that I was mad at him. As I lay there thinking of everything from A to Z — I realized that for the past 10 years, he and I have had the same three fights that come in all different forms. Two of the categories are (if I can admit it here) pretty much my fault — my issues. The third is all his.

And then I thought, as I listened to him snore and watched his peaceful face (Screw him for ALWAYS being able to sleep through our fights) — I love this guy, with all his faults, my faults; our faults.

Our love is not a Valentine’s Day Hallmark Card … It really is Valentine’s DAYS, a collection of moments and how we choose to live them together.

We are passionate about each other. As I’ve written in other blogs, my husband in his anger has broken at least four cell phones over something I did that drove him nuts. He has slept on the couch on a few occasions  (a punishment for both of us because neither of us sleeps well without the other). But what we have, deeper than all of it, is care. I never ever feel like “I just don’t give a shit.” And nor does he.

The Opposite of Love, my friends, is NOT Hate … it is Indifference.

When you stop caring about: who your hubby hangs out with, if he comes home late, where he’s been, if he travels too much for work, what his day was like, what he thinks about, what means something to him, what TV shows he likes, what foods he likes to scrounge from the pantry, which jeans are his favorite, if he has enough shaving cream and blades, do his underwear have holes in them, is he sexually satisfied, do you make HIM feel sexy, does he have enough Guy-Time/Him-Time, did you hug him enough, did you compliment HIM, did you ask about his day or just throw him His Detailed List of To-Do’s when he walks in the door … This is the fine line between love and indifference.

Indifference is worse than hate. Hate is a bullet to the brain; indifference is the loss of love that becomes a noose around the neck. Life but lifeless. Breath without breathing. Lovemaking without passion.

Valentine’s Day is not about the flowers and the chocolate or the pretty bracelet, it is all about the Little Things you do for each other that make your Big Thing called Marriage work.

As I was saying, I had a sleepless night … my thoughts spiraling as I watched my husband in deep R.E.M. By the time 6:40 a.m. (wake-up call) rolled around, I was over the previous night’s fight. I reached for his hand under the covers, and in his still-sleepy state he grasped mine, grateful that whatever bug I had, was now gone.

I got up, looked in the bathroom mirror and thought this is what love is. Every single day allows ME the freedom to choose how it’s going to be — my connection with my family, friends, colleagues, but mostly with myself. I’ve seen the same face (mine) for more than four decades (okay, closer to five, but who’s counting) … and each day is a choice: Am I going to focus on the wrinkles around my eyes or the twinkle inside them? Am I going to wear something Hot Mama-ish later when I hop into bed, or the sweats & scrunchie comfy combo? Am I going to scream at my daughters to get downstairs, you’re going to miss breakfast — or just remain calm. Am I going to beat myself up with You Are Not Doing X Enough … or remind myself: Girl, You are SO Enough

Choose Love. Not Indifference.

Don’t beat yourself up for all that you are missing, focus on what you’ve got. If you believe you have a couple pounds to shed … you’ll get there … in YOUR time … focus on your smile. If your kids are driving you to drink … sit them down and say: Hey Guys, here’s what I need and why … I promise, they will hear you. If your husband is seeing you as “furniture” … then stand next to a chair and point — Lately, this is how you make me feel — and I want/need/deserve more. If you are at that iffy juncture where you don’t know what to do with your life — forgo the grandiose and go small. Make a list of those things that interest you, and then begin to explore possible opportunities. Don’t expect instant success, give yourself the slow build you deserve, to get it right.

‘Reinvention’ is just a fancy word for self-fulfillment.

If you wake up and feel like crap … take a walk with good music (get out of your head) … schedule a massage … have a glass of red wine  (my personal fave remedy) … buy a new lipstick (a cheap fix, always a winner) … delve into a great book (go for the trashy — who needs deep)  … coffee with the one friend with whom you can let down your hair. If you’re down — YOU need to care about you, and UP THE ANTE  — don’t be indifferent to what you need — darkness follows like a shadow.

If you know that a close friend is having a bad day  … dig in and help lift her out of the Black Hole. Ironically, it will make YOU feel better.

When I interviewed Advice Columnist Ann Landers years ago, I asked her to tell me the one thing that helps someone feel good if he or she has the blues. She said: “In all my years of helping people, it comes down to this: “When someone gives instead of takes, the cloud lifts.”

I care about you, my reader. I know exactly what’s on your plate, because I, too, live the same life, knock off the same items on my list — have one foot in the asylum. But if I can give you only one thing from this blog … Here it is:

No matter how long it takes to Get There … learn to Love Thy Self. We all have imperfections, and we all have at least one special quality that is our Golden Ticket. Let it shine.

And whatever you do — Just feel it, Live it, Breathe it, Give it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, My GIRLillas and My Fab GIRLilla Team —

Sending you all, as always, Lotsa xo’s Lisa




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