I’ve often wondered in a relationship whether I would rather be the person who is most in love or who is loved the most. If the other person seems to be more in love with you, you are surprised with the displays of love even without doing anything in particular to deserve them. You may be given gifts or be spoiled or treated in whichever of the five love languages your partner likes to show – words, touch, spending time with you, gifts or doing things for you. Hopefully they match your own love language for you to truly appreciate it. If they keep saying they love you but you don’t feel loved unless they hug you a lot you may not get it.
Anyway I digress. So which would I rather? My ego says Love me More. Then I can feel ‘safe’ and can revel in the love, assuming it may continue and I won’t ever be heartbroken. My ego says ‘bring me all good things to remind me I am alive and worthy, because I need constant reminding and finally I may really get it one day’.
I believe this quote above, unfortunately. Of course our moods change each nanosecond and one minute we feel we are worthy and the next we do not. I was reminded of this concept of allowing in praise by a parenting course I once took. It said that all this praising of children would not necessarily make them feel good about themselves. For example if they did a rushed drawing in class and they didn’t put in much effort, they would feel like you were lying even if you thought it was amazing. I think we all have this filter, sadly. And the drawing may have been amazing but the child judges whether to accept the praise on how they felt about it themselves; how much effort they put in. And if you said that every drawing they did was amazing, they would soon get tired of hearing that same word and assume you were just saying it because you are their mum. Yet you may actually find everything amazing. Hard to win sometimes.
My daughter won’t play me the songs she wrote yet because she says I am biased and will love everything. So there comes a point when you mature enough as a child to sadly question the praise against the filter of what you think you deserve. As a baby we are supposed to think the world revolves around us and it does. Somewhere along the way we realise that it doesn’t or we won’t always get what we hope for and we try to predict what we will and won’t get and behave accordingly in order to get more of what we want.
The answer in the parenting book by the way was to be specific about what you like in the painting so they can see you have taken time to really look and appreciate. Then they can see what is good about it themselves. I would say it’s more important to be genuine. I think people have a sixth sense about your level of enthusiasm for something. How do we become authentic and enthusiastic about life? I am not sure exactly. Practise gratitude. Learn how to look for the positive in anything. That bliss that comes to me from time to time cannot be pinned down or called forth on demand but it often returns to me. Maybe I have to feel the non bliss to feel the bliss.
Again I digress. So would I rather be the one who is madly in love because by being with this special person I feel the bliss, I am grateful to be in their presence and because any attention from them elicits a huge response? I came round to thinking that this was the way to go and don’t worry about the potential heartbreak or that they seem to care less. You are the one in a state of bliss. But of course you are probably then too affected by the negatives also; too sensitive to them. The ego at work.
Someone once pointed out that I have a hard time accepting compliments and that I should not negate what others say, like saying how old or cheap an item of clothing is for example. I didn’t feel deserving and brushed them off. It works the other way too. I always smile when a teenager is complimented on their tan and they say that it has already faded and was much darker last week. I used to do that. Bolstering yourself, using your own judgement as a yardstick for what you deserved. The ego again!
So now I have another way to go in the old Love department. If your ego does not need that validation, you can love the other person intensely yet not need to see them, or be wooed constantly. You can accept the love without needing it and take everything they say in the spirit in which it is said without filtering out anything.
It was really hard for me to get here and maybe I am just lucky that my significant other is the same; in fact he taught me this but could not teach me to love myself. That comes from my search for meaning. And maybe all couples get to this point eventually once the dust has settled and you know you can trust them. There comes a point of balance and acceptance. Enjoy.