Learning You Are Loved
Learning you’re loved is more of a process than a revelation. There are little ‘ah ha’ moments along the way when you come to understand a small fraction of the depths of another’s love for you. You can be told again and again, but still can’t fully grasp why you’re so dearly loved aside from it just simply being what love is and what it does.
As I’ve begun stepping off this stage of performance and out of the light of perfectionism, I have come to find out some news that is earth shattering, yet some of best news I could ever hope for;
The people that love me are not impressed by me.
For anyone who has the tiniest fragment of a people-pleasing bone in their body, this is scary to think may in fact be true.
I want people to be impressed
Seriously, who doesn’t want people to be impressed by them?
In college, I was in nursing school doing well academically, my boyfriend (Justin) and I had been dating since high school and were likely going to get married after college, I was president of my sorority and made sure to attend any social function, party, in addition to participating in everything under the sun. I wanted people to see all that I was doing and be impressed.
The funny thing is that my closest friends during those years, who are still some of my closest friends today, were so not impressed. They knew the anxiety I felt over academics, they knew the hours I devoted to studying and the nagging fear that I might be the one student to fail out of nursing school.
They knew the friction points and rough patches Justin and I hit along the way, they were there on the days when I wondered if we’d make it and wondered if it was worth it. They saw what was behind this girl who was smart, athletic, had a seemingly perfect relationship, was involved in everything.
They loved me but they weren’t impressed.
And I still do it.
Whatever it takes to get people to be impressed, I'll make it happen.
The house will be spic and span, everything perfectly clean and in order.
Dinner will be planned out, executed, and plated in a seemingly effortless manner.
The wine will compliment the choice of meat.
The flowers from the garden will be perfectly ‘thrown into a jar’ for a centerpiece.
Aside from that, I'll likely have worked a full week, maybe with a little overtime thrown in, slept for a few hours, gone to the gym, said yes to everyone and everything that has been asked of me (which means I probably should have said ‘no’ to 99% of those things!).
Ironically, my husband and dearest friends would probably be impressed if I slept in, let the dirty laundry pile up, watched some Netflix, skipped the gym, said ‘no I’m not going to come in and work overtime,’ and let dinner be cereal or leftovers.
At the end of the day, those that love me are really not impressed with me. They simply love me, and that’s some of the best news I could hope for.
The Worst News
What do you mean they're not impressed?!
Exactly that, they’re not really impressed. They’re proud, no doubt, but not impressed.
These two are easy to confuse but drastically different. Having someone love you and having someone be impressed by you are not synonymous.
If the tables were turned and you were to ask me what I loved about Justin, my family, or any of my dearest friends, my immediate response would include characteristics and personality traits. Not a list of all the great things they’ve accomplished or done.
What I love most about them is not what they do, achieve, accomplish, or attain. And I’m coming to believe more surely that the same is true when they look at me.
The Best News
People have attempted to define and describe love through the words of songs, poetry, and books for centuries, but there remains a mysterious element to it. In many ways love can seem simple, practical, and unadorned yet abstract, extravagant, and altogether unexplainable.
Because the value which we place in certain things has the ability to be earned or lost, which often can be dictated by our decisions and actions, maybe that is why the element of love that is such a challenge to wrap our minds around is the inability to earn on lose love.
In its purest form, love can never be earned or lost.
These days I’m focusing a little more on not doing and trying so much, but rather just being loved, knowing I'm loved.
‘Doing’ and ‘trying’ carry the force of action and direction, whereas ‘being’ seems too passive, something not as well controlled.
At the bottom of it, we can’t ‘do’ or ‘try’ our way into being loved more or less.
Knowing that you’re truly and wholly loved happens with those who were never really impressed by you in the first place and won’t be, no matter what you do.