In this holographic reality physical distance is an illusion. You can feel very close to someone who is far away and you can also feel very distant from someone who is standing right in front of you.
For so many years, I stomped my feet and sobbed as I cried out, “But I have so much love to give!” I felt alone – lonely – and carried very narrow thoughts about the persons on whom I would bestow my love. Namely, “the one true love” and equally strong (if not more), my future child(ren).
I was certain that my cup of love over-floweth. I was convinced that if only given half a chance those persons would be filled to the brim with my love. I tried it out here and there, to share my unending, undying love: I pushed to keep dying friendships alive and I shared all my depression from being alone with whomever would listen. At the same time, I kept people at bay that scared me (which meant anyone I didn’t know extremely well). None of these methods proved successful in securing those certain persons my abounding love.
I grew during that time, to be sure. I learned to laugh at myself instead of becoming toxically anxious every time I goofed. I learned a bit about the art of conversation, enabling me (finally!) to move past the simple “How are you”‘s. I learned to empathize. I even learned how to have a good time without putting myself in the midst of terribly uncomfortable situations. This last one was huge, because just as I never wanted to be around anyone I didn’t know extremely well, neither did I want to be in any place I hadn’t been two dozen times before!
Through my growth, I traveled abroad. I taught school. I worked in marketing. I gave up on the idea of the limitless love I had to offer and focused on not feeling so lonely. I played around online, seeking virtual friends. I met a few and I found them wanting. Specifically wanting sex, regardless of gender. Depression mounting, I nearly gave up. Gave up on… making friends? Finding that ‘soul mate’? Having a child?
I researched adoption. Considered – however briefly – foster parenting. The thought of starting off as a mom with a child (not a baby) was terrifying; what did I know of mothering? Despite the endless love with which I was equipped to give.
All that love I had welling up inside me was in reality a selfish kind of love. Who am I to be conditional with that love? And yet at the same time I was running on empty; how could I love when I could not feel love from others? When I could not love myself?
If you are like me, you have heard the “you have to love yourself first” line far, far too many times. So many times, in fact, that it no longer means anything. Where at first it was thought-provoking, or puzzling, I became deaf to it, tired of trying to figure out how to do such a thing.
I have come to learn, with the help of my Mama, my Aunt and Uncle, and many, many others that loving myself involves treasuring myself. That is, I should treat myself as a precious gem. Not just treat myself as I would treat others (or hope to treat the ones upon whom I would bestow my love!), but to carve out time to nourish my soul, body and mind. To be patient with myself; to infuse my mind with positive self-talk instead of bad-mouthing myself; to seek out time alone (not to be confused with loneliness) as well as with friends; to make the time to work on – or play around with – creative endeavors; to let loose of being productive ‘all’ the time and simply be.
And that lesson, my friends, leaves me no longer loving on empty.
How did you learn to stop trying to love on empty? Where there specific books? People? Places? Events? What happened when you cherished yourself?
For me, this life-long process has brought me to my fourth decade in this body, a 13-year long marriage, and a 4-year old boy. More than bringing me those certain someones to love, though, is that I discovered I AM one of those very important persons upon which I now bestow my love.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I first came across a wonderful article about Brene Brown (author of several books, including Daring Greatly) a couple of years ago now, I guess. Then I happened to be somewhere that had a television tuned to a show featuring her.
Just last month, I entered an online contest – a “Blogiverssary Bash” hosted by Jenn of http://www.busybeingblessed.net who covers everything from homeschooling to healthy living. In getting to know her a bit through our online exchanges since WINNING (yes I won!), I have found her to be a lovely woman.
Once we confirmed I was the actual winner, Jenn set me up with several e-books and ‘analog’ books, one of which was… wait for it… The one I had forgotten I wanted: Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown!
This week I received that book in the mail and oh boy was I excited! If you don’t know who Brene Brown is, you will be glad you do once you find out. All of her secondary education, up through her doctorate, consisted in social work. But it doesn’t stop there! She spent over a decade researching, and a lifetime experiencing – or not experiencing – vulnerability (notice I am not quoting, simply trying to paraphrase, so if I’m a little off, please feel free to correct me!).
She found that regardless of demographics or level of trauma, people who allow themselves to be vulnerable are the ones who recognize their worthiness of love.
My darling is awake now, so this post is to be continued…
Here’s to vulnerability! <clink>
Friendship. A true friend, for me, is hard to find. A real friendship survives disagreements, even arguments; a real friendship lasts despite geographic location; true friends easily pick up ‘right where they left off’ when they meet again…
A FB post/image recently reminded me of that. Someone commented to a friend that they definitely disagree on a lot, but that they are still great friends. Sometimes I wonder at the people I consider my ‘best’ or very close friends, and then I see a comment on a post like that, and I cease wondering. Some friendships have no rhyme or reason, and yet there it is: strong, solid, always. Often the ones that have made the most logical sense to me have been the ones that have not lasted, and I have been hurt and aghast that a mere relocation issue (for example) could change things.
I would guess that I am like many others and assume that my very good friends know who they are – after all, if we are such good friends, they ought to know already know, by default, right? Sure, they ought to… like back in the day, when the her old man worked all day so for course she and their kids knew he loved them: after all, he went to work for them everyday, didn’t he? Hopefully we as a people have graduated since then, but life does get busy, even too busy to properly take care of, thank, and hug (even virtually) those people that mean so much to us.
My friends have been here for me through transplants, graduations, an engagement and marriage, a baby shower, a critically ill newborn, and have been there during some calmer, not-so-momentous times as well. Regardless of my state (or country!) of residence, my friends remain true through it all, thick and thin, hell or high water, rain or shine…
In fact, one very good friend has been around since before we were teenagers. I spewed curse words at her I hadn’t even known I knew (that is a strange sentence – grammarians?!?), and then stomped out of her house, claiming I was running away. And yet she remains a friend. Never once has she ever even hinted at doing that to me, or thrown that back in my face. Doesn’t matter that it was over half my lifetime ago; I still feel
bad about it. She was the only person in my life and I took ‘it’ all out on her, the only one who did not deserve one iota. And she just stood there and took it, never a retaliation one. And I have since committed injustices to her, to my chagrin, not meaning to in the LEAST – and yet she continues to love me. That is one very true friend. And we have many differences and have not lived in the same geographic location for years and years.
I love having true friends. The ones that forgive, even when – nay, especially when – I do/say idiotic things that hurt them to the core and yet … those people… they know my heart and see past my ‘blonde moments’ and the times my focus to do right by another ends up hurting them by default because I have not thought through carefully enough. I try, oh how I try to keep things just and fair and to ensure no one is hurt/left out forgotten – – don’t we all? And true friends – they know this!! Yes, they get hurt in the process sometimes, but they rise above it and love us through it because they know our hearts and know we would never do anything, ever, to hurt them intentionally.
I just want to say thank you to my friends out there. Not all of you read my blog, I know, so this doesn’t really count. I will be sure to let you know in person if we are in the same geographic location; I will be sure to let you know in a letter/email/phone call/txt or some other message just how very much I appreciate you.
A true friend loves you for who you are, even after s/he knows everything about you.
Are you a true friend? Remember – you have to be one to have one. I hope you have at least one person on your mind right now that you plan to reach out to today.
What can you do today to be a friend to someone, anyone?
- F.r.i.e.n.d.s. (alesiabousa.wordpress.com)
- I’ve learned….. (wepresson.wordpress.com)
- 5 Signs You Are Best-friends (majestyminds.com)
- What Friendship Is About (adolfmathebula.wordpress.com)
- The 30 Best Friends Quotes That Will Spice Up Your Friendship (lifehack.org)