We live in a big world and are born so individually unique. Add on life experiences, wins and losses, and who we become becomes so specific. We grow up in a confined space, meeting people based on where our parents chose to live. It’s obvious to me now it would have been hard for a young me to find love and find acceptance in the tiny sliver of a California suburb (as it was for everyone else). This realization doesn’t change the loneliness I experienced, our wounds make us who we are.
And even as we grow up, it’s hard to meet new people. We have to work to find creative ways to connect, I think pursuing authentic interest works. People like us like things like this. But even then, it doesn’t always work, it’s all hard.
Finding love with all these details is challenging and to add on, we may have been without love for so long. And love is complicated, love creates attachments, creates expectations which always leads to disappointment. We disappoint people around us and they disappoint us. It can be hard being in love.
Finding love is so much first an internal journey. No one can love you more than you love yourself. Its upsetting to hear, I know. People are supposed to make us happy, to help us feel fulfilled, to take away the feeling of loneliness. But my love, if you are hostile to yourself, no one can love you any better.
For me, finding love started with loving myself. I had a bad habit of saying “I’m learning to love myself”, learning means its coming tomorrow. But nothing changes tomorrow, it only changes today. Our life is not made up of what will come but what can see now. So I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.
And part of loving yourself is believing your preferences matter. Learning to be honest with yourself. Who do you enjoy being around? We’ve all been around friends whom we believe we should love and yet we don’t. Finding love is also being honest with who you are to other people. Being willing to let people in so they can stomp on your heart. And having integrity with yourself to not put yourself in harms way again. If you are around assholes and you keep hanging around them, you’ll soon learn to not trust your own judgment. Ugh, it sucks when you realize you were the one who kept hurting yourself. Love is a challenging balance and we never get it quite right all the time. That hurts.
Love can be so intense too. It can feel scary in the body. You meet someone(s) and you fall in love. But you barely know them, how can it be love? Everyone I’ve loved in my life I loved right away. Because I am a very specific individual (as are you) and if I feel sincere connection, interest, and affection, its real. But the more you feel love, the more you know disappoint is around the corner. Its okay, you can learn to be comfortable with feeling disappointed.
I’m big on intuition and not from a woowoo sense. Words shape our world and once we can form sentences about our experience, that truth has already been sitting in our body waiting to be expressed for some time. But our body, using our senses, our unique experiences, (especially learnings from the times we got kicked in the face) can know what is going on before we find the words for it.
For me, love starts with genuine interest. Do I want to be here? Do I want to hear what they have to say? Do I want to see them tomorrow? The more information we collect, the more our intuition adjusts our feelings. You can always trust how you feel. This doesn’t mean the other person is bad or wrong, it just means you may not be a right fit based on your wounds. And it doesn’t mean forever, sometimes we need time to let our triggers fade and our softness to find us again. Sometimes we just need to feel secure that we have our own interest at heart and we won’t put ourselves in harms way. It’s a promise that we don’t do anything we don’t want to do.
Love starts with acceptances. Do you accept me the way I am? Do I disappoint you by just being me? Do you love me for the right reasons? Do you love me for the reasons I love myself? And me to you.
I locked down hard and it was rough for me. I started a week before everyone else and I cried. A few months in, we went to see my friends outside their gate and their kids were chatting with me, telling me how much they missed me, asking when we can hang out again. I cried for two days after.
Leaving that hole and going to NY, my chosen home and the city that I feel loved in (yes, the city itself loves me), was pure joy. That trip I met a friend I love and he introduced me to friends he loves and now I love them too. Then I met more friends and they introduced me to people they love and now I love them too, too. And when I’m with them, I tell them about how special our relationship is. And when I’m not with them, I wonder when we’ll be together again. Love expressed feels like a confession with a hint of secret shame. Confessing love makes me feel weird, maybe a little needy, maybe a little afraid.
This is a love letter to my loves, for letting me feel safe in the world just the way I am and for letting me in their lives so intimately. For trusting me to not hurt them and for letting me pull away.
This is a love letter to you too. May you find the bravely in your heart to love yourself, to believe you matter, so you can find your people just as you are.