This week I have been on vacation. I have had a lot of time to myself to relax my mind and do some self reflection. A few days ago I was sitting out by some water doing a guided meditation on self love. It took me down some paths I did not see coming. As I was letting the words stay in the background I was thinking about a couple of circumstances in my life now. Both of these things have given me much stress and angst. On the surface they are appear different, but I looked for a common thread.
I realized I have looking for validation in both places. Looking outward, saying prove how much you want me, prove I am valuable to you. Won’t you sacrifice this or that for me? Aren’t I worth it? Oh my gosh, this is not about them and what they have been doing, this is about me. Okay then, that doesn’t feel as good. Where did this start?
Was it my ex husband? We were married for 20 years. During that time his drinking took him over. My story has been that he choose alcohol over me. But that is just my story, what I have told myself, and then the world. I don’t know that to be true. I don’t know what it is like to be an alcoholic. I don’t know that even he had a choice. And if he did, the choice is his to live with. It is time to let my story go and have a new thought about it. I don’t know how that looks yet, but I know something shifted. Maybe I choose happiness, sanity, a better life over living with an alcoholic.
I kept on with the meditation letting the voice fall into the background as I dug deeper. Could this go back farther? You know, my mom was not easy. I could write story after story about her. At my moms core she did not feel loved. I know my mom loved me as best she could, but there were lots of lessons around that. So if I can just look at that I can see she had a lot of “prove your love” in her. Love wasn’t given freely, it had to be earned. You had to be “worth” it. I saw that in how she moved through the world. I saw that in her relationships. I saw that in how she taught me about being in love. She never loved herself, she felt unlovable and these were my first lessons.
And I took those lessons out in the world. I had a dad who balanced much of my mom. I knew I was loved, my family loved me. I was not ignored or abused. One thing my mom always said is ” I want my children to have a dad that loves them, I never had that”. That was important to her, that we felt loved. Still I was little girl learning about life and love from my moms example. And I think I might be finally sorting out these lessons.
Keeping on with my meditation I had a moment of ‘I will remove this person from my life’. And at the same time the podcast said ” you can’t reject any part of you, you have to love everything”. At that moment I saw that removing a person only left room for the same thing to happen over again. It didn’t really fix anything. Because it is not about them, it never was. Both of these circumstances that are playing out have happened multiple times before. It really is a here we go again feeling. Okay, who is creating this? Me, I am. Everything around me has been by choice, my invitation. I can consciously accept that and start to make a change.
Because it seems at the core of all of this is me saying if you love me, if you value me, prove it. I want you to sacrifice for me. I choose men who would have to give up something to be with me. This last one, he would have to move 500 miles, giving up living by his family, his children, in a community he has grown up in. He would have to give up his job, basically everything to be with me. If he is not willing to that , well then what, he didn’t love me enough? I wasn’t worth it? And this is just the last one, this is a pattern. Because shutting him out, deleting him, I will just replace him with something similar. Someone who has to make some kind of sacrifice to prove they love me. Love should not be this hard.
It is not just relationships. I see this played out in other ways throughout my life. It comes up in employment a lot. I end up frustrated and feeling devalued. It will take years, but it happens. Then I make a change, and end up years later in a similar situation. Sometimes with long time friends, I see them move on to different friends, lifestyles and I feel rejected. I am better with that now, but it has played out in the past. It seems when I have time and an emotional investment in something or someone I have set it up so that at some point I need them to choose me. Prove they love me. It seems I am needy that way, I have to let that go.
So this was never about them, it is always about me. About my growth, my lessons, my being willing to look at things differently and have a different story. I am not unworthy of love, I am not unlovable, I am not my mother. I don’t have to keep repeating those lessons. She never learned differently, she never really trusted love. I don’t have to draw circumstances into my life where I feel like being loved is a win. I can let go of the need to prove myself through others that I am lovable. I can let this go. Maybe not overnight, these lessons are almost hard wired in, but I control my thoughts and I can have a different thought. I can say I am ready to be loved just as I am. I don’t have to earn your love and you do not have to prove you love me. We can let be easy, we can let it flow. I can start here, in my 3rd act, ready to be open and learn a new truth about myself.
Because it is not about them, it never was.