What I’ve been told was love, has left me feeling a lot of things. But ultimately, that I am not free to fully explore myself. My truth, within the confines of “love”. I think a lot of us are taught as children that love is a reason to let adults tell you who to be, how to feel, or worse, give you physical “affection” you may not want. It’s because we love you.
Because of all of this I have spent a good number of years telling myself that I don’t want love. Especially in the romantic sense. I have created a pretty fucking believable story that love will keep me from doing the work my soul is here to do. That I can’t grow the way I need to if someone else needs me to be anything (other than what I am) for them.
What parts of yourself do you give up when you love someone? You always hear about sacrifices and compromise. Are they really as detrimental to our “purpose” or growth as I have lead myself to believe. Where is the line between “I really never wanted to paint that wall green, but it makes him happy” and “my dream has been to travel and live multiple places, but my partner will never leave Oregon, so we stay here”.
Obviously one has a bigger impact on you living the life you want, but where, how and when do you draw the line? Maybe these are easy/clear decisions for a lot of people. I have some deeply ingrained belief that I can’t have what I want if it infringes on anyone else in any way. Writing this it sounds silly, but I am trying to have a little compassion for myself and work through it. Is it fear of losing the other person? Actually, I think it has more to do with losing (or finding?) myself.
I am sure a lot of “pleasers” can relate to this. I learned how to get a lot of positive attention as a child by keeping people happy. Doing what my mom wanted even though it did mute a big part of the “me” trying to grow. It becomes a skill as we go through life. It feels good to be liked, teacher’s pet, someone everyone wants to be friends with. But what happens to our inner life when we spend our outer filling everyone else’s holes.
I think this is my true fear of “love”. And why I have such a strong desire to not be involved in it. I want to figure out who I am. What I like, what I don’t, what are the things that I feel so strongly about that I don’t care if someone thinks I’m stupid for doing them. At this point in my life I feel like I am not strong enough to clarify these things for myself if I am anywhere near the sphere of someone else’s needs. It’s like a self induced addiction. I am so intoxicated by the feeling of… for lack of a better way to put it, solving other people’s problems, that I will completely abandon my own.
I wanted to find a better way to word that because this way, it looks like I am trying to fix people, or take care of them in a way that may or may not be beneficial to either of us. Which immediately makes me question any grandiosity or reward I’ve associated with this feeling. Which may be a good realization to have. Isn’t there some cliche about how the best thing you can be for other people is to be yourself as authentically as possible. Which brings me back to the journey of learning to love myself. Which may be best set out on alone. At least for now.
A lot of my feelings surrounding love seem to be based in codependency. I do need to find that place inside myself that is not reliant on another person to feel validated. I'm sure there is some beautiful balance to be found between hearts. Where you can hold without crushing, share without emptying yourself and witness without any sense of your own identity being carried away.
I do long for love. Platonic and romantic. True love, in the sense that neither one of us are holding back any part of our truth. I’ve actually been able to start saying “I love you” to people without it feeling forced or manipulative. Because I think it is true. I do fucking love everyone. I am scared shitless to fully love and accept myself because once I start moving with my own rhythm, I may lose certain (perceived) connections with a few people that have obviously been built on a facade anyway.
I am ready to journey with and to myself. I am okay if people fall away because I am not giving away parts of myself that they really never asked for anyway. It’s funny how much energy we put into things that don’t serve us. But ask us to actually try for something we desire… that’s really fucking risky. We make excuses. Safe choices. What is a life full of safe choices? I am ready to risk. I would much rather be racked with the temporary pain of losing something I wanted and tried like hell for, than to spend the next 50 years sitting in the safety of something that is just uncomfortable enough that I can still “live” through it.
I say this like I am suddenly brave as hell and never going to make another safe decision. I’m sure this will be a journey. Full of ups and downs. But I do know I want love. I want to love myself and I want to truly love other people for being themselves. I spent some time recently playing with ideas of what I thought love was, hoping to redefine how the idea sits in my heart.
Here is what I came up with:
I feel like it is bigger than we have the capacity to understand-or define. I guess I feel like it is a bunch of things. And to try to lump them all together into one fucking word takes something from all of them.
It is the desire to see someone happy.
It is the absence of feeling any lack in any part of yourself if that happiness has nothing to do with you, or is caused by something you wanted for yourself.
It is the desire to see that person for exactly who they are and not feel like any part of them needs to change to make any part of you more comfortable.
And no part of you, for them.
But if they do want to change, being there to support them through it.
And them you.
Love is honesty, absent of pride or motive.
It is feeling the freedom to be 100% yourself.
It is reciprocal and reflective. As all of this needs to be flowing inward and out.
None of this I feel should be separate from the concept of romantic love.
Which confuses it for me.
Love is fucking love...why is it different for 1 person?
Why can we “love” that one person and want them to grow in every way possible...except exploring their full potential to “love” other people (may be easier in theory than practice).
Love, by nature, is unconditional.