It is safe to say I have been WORKING. SOME. SHIT. OUT. lately. There have been quite a few topics that I have recently realized I really needed to focus on figuring out within myself. These range from not always feeling worthy of love to not having the greatest handle on my emotional responses to not knowing how to be an equal and fair partner. To say that the past few months have been insightful would be a vast understatement but what I will say is that I have continued to realize that there is always more to learn about myself. In this particular post, I am going to focus on the first topic I mentioned - not always feeling worthy of love and how that plays out with dating.
For myself, the reality is that this feeling directly coincides with attention; I have learned to subsidize this whole notion of feeling loved with pure attention through not only human interaction but also through the internet and social media. There is of course, an incredible difference between the two - to receive attention is not often to receive love but to receive love does not always require immense quantities of attention. Over the course of time however, the two have somehow ended up intertwined within my brain and I struggle to remember the prior statement. Somewhere along this journey, desire for love was replaced with the desire for attention - a rather dangerous idea. As we all know, attention does not always come from greatness and this primal need within myself led me into some truly not great relationships.
I settled for people who gave me what I needed in the moment, who gave me the attention that I craved. Looking back, I have been so easily swayed by false affections in romantic but also in non-romantic relations. I allowed myself to be so rapidly swept off my feet by compliments and grandiose statements that I failed to truly look at who was doing the sweeping. I ignored red flags and signs, I ignored what my true needs in a relationship were - to feel heard, to spend meaningful time together, to have intelligent conversations, to have fun and so many others. I fixated on the cards I was being shown but forgot about the entire rest of the deck.
It's so easy to tell other people (and ourselves) to look at who someone shows you that they are but it's not easy to see through the lens that years of experiences have created. The lens that I was looking through was dusty from an abusive relationship and other trauma which caused me to believe I was not worthy of "real love" and therefore I should take any attention which I was so graciously given with excitement and joy.
The falsity within that statement cannot be overstated, not simply as it applies to myself but for every single one of you reading this. Everyone is worthy of real love and as I said earlier, real, pure and beautiful love does not often need buckets of attention. It does not need to be masked with massive displays of affection. Of course, it can be in some cases but this is not the baseline. The baseline is quite simply, respect. Love at its core is someone who respects you, who respects your time, who respects your emotions and who respects your needs.
Someone who does all of this and does not lose themselves in the process is the baseline for a good relationship. When you find that magic, that is when we ought to do our best to hold on to what we have in front of us. At the end of the day, it is not the likes on Instagram, the massive productions of romance or the best looking guy in the bar paying attention to you for a few hours that will fill our hearts and satisfy our deepest needs. It is the seemingly simpler and smaller actions that do so and those all boil down to respect.
At the core of all of this, is a deeper need to find whole love for ourselves. If you have ever heard me get on my soapbox, you must love yourself first is one of my greatest mantras, a mantra that I clearly lost touch with for a bit. We cannot completely respect someone else, if we do not respect ourselves therefore we cannot love someone else, if we do not love ourselves. More on this to come in the next post.
Thanks for being here and thanks for being you. Xo.