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My Beloved is what counts; he is what matters — not myself, my feelings, my satisfaction, not even the reciprocation of my affections because love is not an entitlement ; only him — his beauty and worthiness, then his peace, his happiness, his immortal soul's well-being. This self-abnegating nature of love — this putting myself and my wishes after what best serves my Beloved, shows me that I am being changed in consequence of loving.

By nature I am selfish, shallow; I want my own way and the satisfaction of my own wants; to put another before myself, even to the point of sacrificial self-donation, shows me that there is something at work in me that is far bigger than myself. This is an important revelation, because love is part of the Mystery of God. When we love, we are being allowed to share more fully in His Nature. We quote the scriptures, "God is love;" we remember that He loved us and gave Himself for us. And when we love, truly, He allows something of Himself to enter into us to make us more than we were before.

It is part of His method of refining and perfecting us. It is part of the Mystery of Love that I can be lifted out of myself to care more for another than I do myself — to want my Beloved's good more than my own, even if I may not share it. In literature dating prior to the midth century, we see many references of man and woman in love choosing to love and to live for one another.

They are the same thing, I believe, only the latter is deeply founded upon a decidedly Catholic spirituality that, say, Jane Austen would not have been privy to. This is where the element of decision comes into play — after respect and trust have been established, and when love has taken solid root. I want to be cautious here: there is danger in confusing the health of love and the dangers of codependency. When decision enters the relationship prematurely, we risk having an unhealthy and doomed relationship — a codependent relationship.

Codependency is an attachment developed for a man, not because he has demonstrated himself worthy but because we have chosen him to become our ideal. As with infatuation, the focus of the relationship becomes our feelings, and particularly the desperation to be loved. A codependent woman will endure insults and abuses; she even loses her sense of her own integrity trying to earn acceptance. This is not the choice we want to encourage! In love, we don't try to "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

We are not unaware of his struggles with sin and personal flaws. Still, we know the fundamental bent of his character, and because it is noble and admirable, because it resonates with the most important things inside ourselves, we love him. Only then, and in the full integrity of our own soul, we can choose to work out our love in self-donation.

Only then can we give gifts of ourselves as an act of will in union with our love. We automatically think of service in marriage, of swiping the toilet and sorting his socks and cooperating with him in the mundane business of daily living. Resonating Echoes. Laura Ceredona. Visions and Voices. Paul Weingarten. Lamentations: Collection of Poetry Volume 3. Warren L. G De Mills.

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This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out. My primary relationship is with myself and all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment. My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another.

Love yourself enough to take the actions required for your happiness — enough to cut yourself loose from the drama-filled past — enough to set a high standard for relationships — enough to feed your mind and body in a healthy manner — enough to forgive yourself when you need it — enough to believe you deserve to live your best life. As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health — food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself.

At first, I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Looking for love can feel like searching for a missing piece of your heart. You will keep looking for that one special person who will complete you until you finally realize that person is — you.