Loving Those Closest To You

Fact: There are usually not that many people who we really share our complete-self with. Everyday we are so boldly confronted with society’s expectations of how we should behave that we learn to leave the house with a brave face, behave according to the norms set out for us by family, friends, and society, and keep most facts private for the sake of not ruining our image. If you’re a man, you have to project to the world that you are strong, confident, and ambitious. You have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and show women, and other men, that the unbearable “weight” is as light as a feather. If you are a woman, you have to show the world that you too are strong, confident, and ambitious. You are expected to carry the portion of the world that society deems suitable for the “woman,” and in addition, be the nurturer to those men, women, and children around you bearing their own load. Thanks to these demands, after birth we quickly realize that we need to “measure up.”

In all of that chaos, it can be very hard to find trusted people to share the real vulnerable “you” with. That is not to say that the true “you” is too much to handle; it just means that the vulnerable “you” requires delicate care. Since vulnerability requires a high level of trust, trusting that individual comes with the strong sense that they will be there for you – in good times and in bad times. Then again, they understand who you really are and are able to decipher your good intentions much easier than a stranger ever can, right? Exactly. Well, it is also for those same reasons that we are usually more likely to hurt those people closest to us. We believe that if anybody in the world should accept us for who we really are, it should be them; that if you make a mistake and say something the wrong way, or in a manner that is harsher then you would intend, they should be able to decode your feelings. Then again, we spend so much time throughout the day monitoring and creating the world’s view of us that when we come home to our family, friends, and loved ones they should be able to “just get it.”

Well, in the transition between letting down our guard and taking off our armor, it is very easy to hurt those that we love. We wear this massive armor all day, fight to maintain peace and success in our lives, are so tired from facing the world that we become careless in our weariness and may become more apt to make “mistakes” with those we love.

This post is just a simple reminder that the people you love are to be cared for, loved, and cherished just as much (if not more) then strangers. They hold your most vulnerable moments within their heart and for that reason they are to be cherished and loved just as you would love yourself. It is hard at times to give any extra energy to making sure that we don’t hurt our loved ones, especially when we are facing the world all day/week. But, if we are supposed to love our neighbors as our self, how much more should we love those that are closest to us? Just think of it this way, if those closest to you decided to stop loving you it would really be you against the world.

How do you show those closest to you that you love them?

A Letter from Love to You

Everyday when I go to work, in some way, shape, or form, I see the youth of tomorrow looking, yearning, silently screaming out to feel love, find meaning and purpose, and experience acceptance in this world. As I observe the ways in which they choose to find and experience them, I begin wondering who they will become in the future and what struggles they may experience along that journey. The truth is many adults are in various ways still looking for love and finding their own personal ways to experience it. So, wherever you are on the journey of finding love, meaning, purpose, and acceptance, young or older, here are a few words I wrote from LOVE to YOU:  

I know you’re looking for love and someday, if you have not already, you will find it. Along the way, you will feel the yearning and void for it, but it doesn’t mean you should find and accept just any kind of love.

Love should leave you feeling wanted, accepted, and not judged. Love is patient and kind. Love lifts you up and encourages you to fly. It is quick to overlook your flaws and praise your beauty. Love lasts. And most importantly, love is not supposed to hurt.

True love is free. You should not have to work for it. It is willing given because you are worth the gift of love. Love sees the best in you and stands like a mirror quietly challenging you to see the value and worth that exist inside of you. If you settle for any kind of love, you have virtually settled to see a “less than” side of you. 

People often settle for love that reflects where they are and NOT a love that reflects where and who they want to be. Somehow they think that without love they will never have the chance to experience their dreams. So they get easily distracted by and gravitate towards anything that resembles love and makes them feel accepted. However, until you accept and have the self-confidence to believe that you are capable, worthy, and beautiful enough to be where you dream to be, you will always accept a love that reflects where you FEEL you are instead of a love that resembles what you DREAM to have.

So, I know you will search for love, fall in love, and at times choose love over logic, but remember to choose a love that reflects your true inner worth. You are beautiful, so be beautiful, and only accept beautiful love.

Sincerely, 

LOVE. 

Do and Don’t in Love

Whether love entered your life, left your life, or you are still waiting for love to arrive, everyone wants to find love. So, whether you are in a relationship or not, and in all your chitter-chatter about love, here are some things to keep in mind:

Do love yourself. In order to find and maintain true love and healthy relationships, you must love yourself. Your responses, expectations, attitudes, trust, and confidence generates from your vision of yourself.

Do Grow. Take personal responsibility to be reflective to improve the areas you don’t love about yourself. It is not the other person’s job to hold your hand along this journey; it would be nice, but it’s not their responsibility to give you the confidence to change YOU. That is an unrealistic and unfair expectation.

Don’t look for someone to fill the voids and holes YOU created with other people from your past relationships and/or heal wounds other people gave you or left behind.

Do lose your baggage. This is the one time that losing your luggage is a good thing. If you can’t let it go, or at least limit how much baggage you have, then maybe you need some time to yourself to work that out.

Don’t look for someone else to repair or accept the flaws you are too cowardly to change.

Don’t have the expectation that it is the other person’s job to validate you.

Don’t use your insecurities as an excuse for irrational behavior.

Don’t look for someone to complete you and give you purpose in life.

Don’t expect the other person to make you whole because you allowed other people to take pieces of you when they left. Go get them back (a journey you must take alone) and be whole.

Don’t expect someone to teach you things about yourself or life that you are too lazy to teach yourself.

Do understand that “love is blind” is not an excuse to accept any and every behavior. Even the blind have heightened senses. So, listen with your heart and feel around for pitfalls and inconsistencies.

Do understand that “chemistry” does not mean you should enter (or maintain) a relationship with someone. You will have “chemistry” with many people in your life, so you need to have more than that.

Don’t enter a relationship to find your identity (who you are) and don’t expect to find it there either. You can’t find what you don’t know.

Greatest Gift I Gave Myself On Valentine’s Day

Whether you are in a relationship or not, the greatest gift you can give yourself and/or your relationship is to set yourself free from “Valentine’s Day” as defined by others. This is one of the more challenging days in the year to live by your own standard. For me, I’ve had to work on how I define true love and romance and how I celebrate it.

Too many people get sucked into the day itself because they feel as if not celebrating it like others somehow means their love is not “true.” Others succumb to the post-celebration temptation of asking around (or looking at Instagram and Facebook) to subconsciously evaluate whether their celebration was “romantic” enough. And then, there are those that are single and feel as if they are inadequate because love chose not to come knocking at their door this year.

There are no laws that state that if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day a certain way (or at all) you will be fined or imprisoned. It is a man (or woman) made holiday! It does not carry with it the force of nature which leaves you no choice but to submit to her power. So, although it’s hard to refrain from comparison to others, try it anyway! If you are celebrating today, do it the way you want. If you are not celebrating, be confident in that choice. And, if you are single, try your best to not feel inadequate, it really is just another day of the week.