Inner Peace: Yeah, You Got to Pour that Love Into Your Own Soul

“You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you.” — Dodinsky

We are good people. We shower love on everyone around us—except ourselves. Somehow we forget that we need to treat ourselves with as much respect as we do others. I’ve heard one woman say that she treated her pets better than she treated herself.

But how do we love ourselves when we feel busted, broken or like failures? How do we keep getting up each morning and cheer ourselves on? It isn’t as easy as it seems.

When my first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women came out, I walked down to the mailbox at the end of our driveway every afternoon, waiting for a certain letter that would tell me: You did good. You are OK. You have our love. I don’t know who might have sent the letter but it never came. I was waiting for something that I had to find within myself.

You can search the whole world, but you’ll never find anyone who deserves your love as much as you. I read that somewhere, while standing in line at a supermarket. Sometimes I forget that. But if we don’t love ourselves, then every relationship we have is skewered. Because we’re either looking for someone else to fill our well, or we fill someone else’s well, thinking we’ll get love in return.

Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, Grow, grow. (The Talmud.) We each have our own angels. We were created for a purpose. There is only one of us here on earth right where we are, right now.

Reminder: I can go through life feeling bad about who I am. Or I can accept that I was created for a reason. Instead of  bemoaning what I don’t have, today I will celebrate who I am and what I’ve got. And all I can do is the best I can do.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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9 Responses to Inner Peace: Yeah, You Got to Pour that Love Into Your Own Soul

  1. Si & Marcia Greenfeld says:

    Thank u Diana, for making my day a better one. Si

    Sent from my iPad


  2. juliabarrett says:

    Gosh what a beautiful post! I really should read the Talmud. But then not sure I have enough time left in my life– should have started at the age of 2.

    • dianabletter says:

      Well, anything worth doing is worth doing badly…or slowly…or not perfectly! So yeah, you can still start studying at any time!

  3. Diana, I agree with Dodinsky’s first part of the quote, “You have to love yourself”. I’d take that quote another step further as I believe we can’t truly love others until we love ourselves first, and for me what fills the yearning in my soul is God. He never lets me down.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Tracy, that is beautiful – I am so glad you know how to fill the hole in your soul! Your words are inspiring. It is true – we can’t love others in a healthy way until we learn to love ourselves. Thanks for writing!

  4. Well done, Diana, a beautiful combination of personal testimonies and the Talmud.
    I had grown up hearing my mother and my grandmother say, “Every child everywhere has an angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, Be happy, Know you’re loved.’ Sometimes, because the world is so noisy and busy, you have to sit very still and close your eyes to listen for the whisper.” Good Brethren women and The Talmud–different pages of the same truth?–I find that comforting!
    The reminder I needed most was this: “…we’re either looking for someone else to fill our well, or we fill someone else’s well, thinking we’ll get love in return.” What a lesson. Thank you.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Marylin. I didn’t know the Good Brethren women said this as well. (Please inform all of us what exactly the Good Brethren women are!) I agree that those gems of spiritual wisdom are pages of the same truth, only delivered by different messengers. Thank you for the reminder!

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