I am a firm believer in loving people selflessly – without expecting anything in return, solely for their benefit. However, I have experienced the burnout that comes from giving without receiving anything back; I know what it’s like to have your love tank drained. In order to continue loving selflessly, we have to make sure we have love to give. Here are five ways to fill your love tank:
Give to yourself, as well.
Just because we are called to give to others and love others well doesn’t mean we are supposed to stop loving, caring for, and providing for ourselves. In fact, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we aren’t going to be able to selflessly invest in other people’s lives for a sustained amount of time. Therefore, regardless of what you want to call it – self-love, self-care, pampering – you need to make sure you are loving yourself well and keeping yourself full.
Surround yourself with those who are selfless.
Though we don’t always get to pick and choose our family or our co-workers, we do get to decide who our friends are and who we spend a majority of our time with. So choose those who love you selflessly. The best types of relationships are those where both people feel like they are cared for, appreciated, and loved. And though every friendship is not going to have this even, back-and-forth aspect (which is o.k.), it is important to establish a few close relationships that do. These people will help you remain full so you can continue to give.
Keep your thoughts in line.
Our thoughts can be our worst enemy, and the wrong ones can easily drain us. For example, I have a relationship in my life that isn’t “even” – I am the giver and she is the taker. Recently, I found myself swirling around in self-pity, while my thoughts were running rampage with the over-arching theme of “what about me?” Now, like I mentioned before, you are extremely important, but not every relationship is going to be “even.” Therefore, when you find yourself in a relationship where you are the one who is selflessly giving, it is best to fill your mind with the positive. Remind yourself, “she needs me right now, and right now I have the ability to value her and love her well; that is a blessing for both me and her,” and “by loving selflessly, I am doing what I am called to do, and therefore I will be rewarded.” Keeping yourself encouraged by way of your thoughts will help you remain full.
Take a break, sometimes.
It’s ok to say, “not today.” If you are feeling drained, and like you really have nothing to give, pause. Breathe. Relax. Love selflessly in a different way – send a quick, encouraging text in five seconds, rather than committing to an hour-long coffee date. There are so many ways we can love – by word, deed, and nowadays by text, social media, phone calls, and more. Always saying “yes” to everyone is a sure-fire way to get burnt-out very quickly. So don’t be afraid to take a break, or love selflessly in a different way, as you allow yourself to become full again.
Go to the Love Tank Gas Station.
I know what you’re thinking, “there’s no ‘Love Tank Gas Station.’” Though I did just make that up, I do believe we have access to love anytime we want or need it by the goodness of God. God’s love for us fills us up so completely that, if we go to him and spend time in his presence, our love tank will never run dry. We are called to love other people selflessly, to give generously and value them above ourselves. God would not give us this command without also giving us the means to do it – by being so full of his love for us that we can’t help but overflow with love for others.
Selfless love is a beautiful thing, and I encourage you to spread it around any time you get. Just remember to continuously make sure your love tank is full – stop by the Love Tank Gas Station – so you don’t find yourself too drained to continue.