I know…but that’s not enough – Part 3

You deserve to be loved by your loved ones. You do. Is it too much to ask? Nah. You should be loved. The problem however, is that there are so many variables about love. There are so many pieces to the puzzle when it comes to getting good love. Sometimes it’s our interpretation of love that gets in the way. He brought chocolate, what you wanted was time. She offers sex and all you want is to be allowed to take off your superman cape and be vulnerable for a day.Other times, it’s our ever changing circumstances that are in the way of getting good loving. Our inability to deal with stress makes us unlovable, our insecurities cause us to always have our pistol loaded to fire away at any emotional taunting. After a while, we come to the awareness that we don’t feel loved. (Regardless of whether or not the reasons are “self” or “other” inflicted) We don’t know why or how…all we know is that we are “alone”. We don’t feel the love. We feel this black hole of disconnect.
In part 2, I talk about the first solution. You really need to read that article if you haven’t yet.

(I know…but that’s not enough – Part 2)

Here is the second part of that. Brace yourself.
2.) You First: You see, FEELING loved is really about our need to feel connected …that we matter to someone else and to the world. There is no written rule that our significant others are the ONLY source of that love. In fact, there is no written rule that says that we must RECEIVE love, to FEEL loved. THINK ABOUT THAT. On the contrary, the great book says it is more blessed to give that to receive. Why? Because giving satisfies all the angles- sustainability, puts us in control of filling that void of love, makes sure that we are not only depending on others for love. It puts us in FULL control of our “feeling loved” meter. I’m going to say something now that may jolt you a little bit so brace yourself:
I believe that the reason why we hold our loved ones up for that love doesn’t only have to do with love…it’s got plenty to do with the “sense of entitlement”. This is not saying whether that is wrong or right…just acknowledging that the feeling of entitlement simply exists as a major part of the equation.
Why is that? Well, because many times what we mean when we say we are not getting enough love, is not that our significant others did something “wrong”. It’s that they didn’t love us right enough…to the level we thought we should be…that we deserved to be…in the way that we want to be. We feel entitled to a certain type-standard-display of love. A type-standard-display that we often never taught our significant others. We never showed them how to love us by how we love them. We just expect them to know because of the title we hold- Husband, wife, son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, cousin…
So yea…you first. If you want to FEEL loved, start by making others FEEL loved. This isn’t to say that it is not great and deeply satisfying to receive love but what happens when for whatever reason, that love isn’t coming from the sources we’d like it to come from…or in the amount or form WE like it? What happens when the schedule, the bills, distance or stress gets in the way? It is impossible NOT to feel loved if we simply give love. WHY? Because I am learning that love is not validated by the direction it travels. It is not validated by whether it is going out or coming in. It simply needs to flow for us to feel it. When we love others…whoever they are, we immediately fill our own void to feel loved because by loving someone, we create someone we matter to. That void is immediately filled…even when they don’t reciprocate…EVEN WHEN WE SHOW THAT LOVE TO PEOPLE OTHER THAN THE PEOPLE WE EXPECT LOVE FROM. All it takes for that “love” void to be filled is that we GIVE it. When we give it, we fill that need to feel connected. We fill that need to matter to someone and to the world.
It makes sure that we are not entirely dependent on our “loved ones” for love and it buys our “loved ones” time to return to loving us because we aren’t unloved while our loved ones are on their love sabbatical.
A couple of months ago…on a sunny blazing hot Miami Sunday afternoon, I was feeling that void. It was weird…it was like loneliness meets insignificance meets unconnected. This is a HIGHLY unusual feeling for me. HIGHLY. However for whatever reason, I found myself there. It wasn’t an absence of spirituality …or church… or the introduction of sin or any of that stuff. I was in a good place spiritually. I just came from church…a great service at that. As this gloom poured cement in my head, I realized I needed gas so I pulled into a gas station and as I filled my car tank, I saw a man walk past me. Older man…possibly 60s, had his bottle of Heineken in a brown paper bag, and he proceeded to sit at the bus shelter a few feet away to wait for the next bus. I did something unusual. I left my car and walked over to the bus shed, and asked politely if I could sit by him. I hadn’t sat in a bus shed in over a decade. He obliged with a smile and we started a conversation. I forget his name now but he was from the Caribbean…St Kitts or something. He talked about helping others and how he tries to keep himself busy so he doesn’t get into trouble. My heart went out to him. He was someone’s father…someone’s ex husband. He was more alone than I had a right to feel. He didn’t look homeless or anything but I knew his rugged skin and hard hands were telling the truth. I knew he wouldn’t mind a hand. So I brought out the only money I had on me …a $5 note, I had and gave it to him. A bit surprised, he took it and proceeded to now even more enthusiastically give me more advice about life…almost like he felt he had to give me something back for my gift to him. I knew that and I appreciated him more than I had the words for as I listened to him. Time flew by. 30 minutes later, we were laughing and sharing life. Two complete strangers…brought together by their seeming loneliness only to find out that they were indeed not alone.
As I drove away that afternoon, I hadn’t just returned to feeling “better”…I didn’t feel alone anymore…I felt loved…I felt stronger…I felt connected to God…I understood him a bit better. That afternoon, it didn’t matter whether or not my loved ones were near me or even emotionally available. I had enough love burning through me to last a while if no one offered me some for a few days.
Even God shows a perfect example of this: God already loved us all from the start but when he really wanted to feel our love…when he really craved our love, HE came down and HE loved us…FIRST. He clothed us, washed our feet, healed us, protected us, fed us, taught us, and sacrificed himself for us…all before we really knew HOW to love him back. He showed us HOW. Why does he love us the way he does? We’d be here all day trying to figure that out…but HOW? Yea we can begin to wrap our heads around that and learn from that. How did he love us? He did it FIRST. How did he handle his need for our love? He gave it FIRST.
You know it’s funny how the good book didn’t say its “easier” to give that to receive, it said it is “more blessed” to give that to receive. Not easy…but to get love…get your love gloves on.