This post is about love, and it’s going to be a heavy one.
Honest, yes … but also heavy.
If you don’t feel like heavy right now … click away, click away…!
I’m having a flashback to the movie “Bridesmaids” and the infamous bathroom “look away, look away” scene.
(so funny! –> Watch it here – bust a gut every time I see it!)
Now on to the heavy…
A friend recently told me she doesn’t feel me receive her love.
Have you ever been told anything like that?
Her statement made me pause.
(well, actually it gutted me and then made me pause.)
… and then I started to unravel inside.
I felt a hundred different things inside of 20 seconds.
I felt sad.
I felt confused.
I felt inadequate.
I felt like I wanted to defend myself.
I even felt grateful for her courage to be honest with me.
But mostly I was afraid I made her feel like her love wasn’t worthy of being received.
I don’t know that there is any worse feeling in the world than feeling like you aren’t enough…or the reality that you’ve made someone else feel that way.
I physically felt my heart ache, I swear.
I said nothing, sat with my feelings, and here I am talking about what I’ve learned …
Some of you are thinking “DUH, because the truth hurts…”, and I often agree with that, but this time I would disagree.
While it is true that sometimes we struggle to freely receive (help, love, support), it is also true that people change and the things we once struggled with, we no longer do.
The capacity for human transformation is limitless & beautiful and we can know and trust that – with a caveat.
and the caveat is this:
…when you allow someone to repeatedly dishonour you because you refuse to believe who they are, you have failed to honour your magnificent self.
But when we patiently, ardently work on the things about ourselves we don’t like, we can be changed – sometimes radically.
Do we ever fully arrive? NO.
(where is the fun in that, anyway ?)
But can we become aware and healthy enough to recognize our hurts and refuse to let them define us?
And here is what
I think I’ve learned…
When my friend shared her thoughts with me, I started to go back in my past and weave together all kinds of conversations and events that had nothing to do with that moment or who I am today.
It felt like a runaway train in my head.
It’s called a cognitive distortion – and we all do it, in some way.
If you’re curious, here’s a summary of the 15 most common ones we all do.
I was doing #3, like a champ!
And who among us hasn’t done one (or most) of these at some point?
“Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves.”
...and can I just pause here and say: there is such a stigma around our mental health. It doesn't serve anyone to be hung up on labels. There are two people that I see as warriors against this stigma and I love them for it: Amy Sky and Ian Roberston. Two educated, inspiring people changing the stigma, one person at a time.
ok, so back to the runaway train …
As my friend spoke, one event from the past kept screaming at me :
I was engaged 14 years ago to someone before I met my husband – a very wonderful man who treated me like gold.
Two months before the wedding I told him I knew I wouldn’t be with him forever and that I would not be marrying him.
I felt awful, but I knew it was the truth.
( the invites were out, dress purchased, non-refundable deposits down..you name it )
On paper, there was nothing wrong with him.
He was a great guy and he loved me very well.
But, I knew in my gut I wouldn’t be with him forever.
Both families were confused.
My decision hurt a lot of people.
And before he left he said:
“you just won’t let me love you – YOU have issues”.
(Ouch! What a zinger!)
Fast forward to my conversation a few weeks ago & I felt that all over again.
There is something so insidious about the ways we live in the past, isn’t there?
Because of my past, my fear was that she was right about me.
But in my heart, I knew she was wrong.
Then I thought…how will she know when I am letting her love me?
How does anyone know?
What does that look like?
And now I am wondering, how would you answer that question?
*comment option below – I would love to hear from you!*
We assume our loved ones receive the love we give them, don’t we?
But I wanted to have this conversation with her.
I wanted her to know that her love was more then enough for me.
So, I thought and thought and thought some more
(and cried a little…well, maybe a lot)
And one word wouldn’t leave me alone.
When you trust someone enough to show them who you really are –
your silly side.
your bitchy moments.
…and still know that they will love you and always see
your heart behind the other stuff, you are receiving their love, aren’t you?
When you trust they will always tell you the truth, and know it’s because they have your best interests at heart, you are receiving their love, aren’t you?
When you trust someone so much, you allow their love to change you in beautiful ways…more patient, more tolerant, more self-loving, more assertive, or more gentle with yourself…you are receiving their love, aren’t you?
When you allow someone to listen to you, appreciate you, believe in you, and support you … you are receiving their love, aren’t you?
Is there a higher form of receiving love than to allow someone to see and experience all of you?
( the stuff you want people to see AND the stuff you would rather hide? )
I don’t think so.
Perhaps some of you are thinking that there is a direct correlation between how much we love ourselves and how we receive love from others.
And truthfully, there are days when I struggle very much with this.
It is tough enough to see yourself with fresh eyes, but to have to also convince others you have changed is wasted energy.
Your actions will speak volumes.
And if your actions don’t ever resonate, that’s ok too.
Be relentless in getting to know yourself. You will give and receive love more fully.
My friend, Lynne says:
“you always have the delete button”, don’t be afraid to use it”.
She is referring to mean-spirited people online but I think this applies to everything in life, including the opinions of people who don’t truly know you.
Know who is worthy of your trust.
Know who will call you to more.
Know whose love changes you.
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* featured image courtesy of Pretty Petal Studio*.