Love begins and ends with you
Seems quite a strange thing to say, right? I’ve often heard people say,
“to know that you’re loved is the best feeling on earth.”
We’re often swamped with movies and media and adverts of the dashingly handsome man handing flowers and chocolates over to the goddess-like woman in a show of wanting that would make even the knees of the toughest women in society cave under the the pressure of their bodies. Chances are they’d be off in a heartbeat for some bedroom bouncing fun afterwards. But life isn’t like that and whatever you see, read and hear, they’re lying to you.
Take me, a young man in his early twenties, super slim, toned and very attractive, couldn’t get a relationship to last for longer than a month no matter how hard I tried. And believe me, I did try. No matter what I did I just wasn’t good enough, for anyone. I forgot to look inwardly. I didn’t understand that the deep loathing for myself was projected outwardly and could be seen in intimacy as our lives began to unravel around us.
You see, My Dad split up with my Mum when I was five. From then Mum hopped from relationship to relationship until she at last found a good man. But I was 21 by then, and I had learned through childhood that love was a endless game of trying to find the unavailable partner. The partner that was just too hard to reach. And my Dad had cut contact, so my childhood was a fucking mess to say the least. I won’t go into too much detail but you can get the idea it wasn’t happy days!
Anyway, in my twenty-somethings I was wandering the nether for that elusive female. The one that was always too far out of reach and never really interested. And if I was lucky and managed to snag myself an elusive female, I did with one, yeah me!! Then I was so dependent on her to make me happy that I ended up suffocating her and she would run away screaming for safety. I would end up distraught and play into that same old sonnet that ‘women are bitches’
Yet what I had failed to realise is that to truly find I needed to start giving myself some love first. I didn’t like myself, in fact, I despised the ground that I walked on. I didn’t think I was a nice person at all. But in later years some beautiful things transpired. I started to give lots to other people. No, not money, but just my time and experience, for free. I would help struggling young ladies up with their prams on busses, tip the homeless man on the street more than I should, go out of my way to do something for people that was zero benefit to me. Strangely, when I stopped thinking about what benefited me as a person, and doing things for others, for the love of doing it, it made me happier as a person.
Like, extremely happy.
Because all of this love that I was giving out I was proving to myself that I was a decent person, and from there my self-worth and self-love grew and grew until my heart swelled and burst out in a grand display of mushy loveliness. And it was from there I met my lovely wife, Natalie. And, again, I wasn’t looking. I was just getting used to being on my own and enjoying every minute of it, and then she popped into my life.
I learned from Natalie how truly broken I was, and there has been times when our relationship has been challenging at best. I’ll always remember the moment I sat there in front of the TV arguing with her, about to chuck it all in and run off because things were becoming too difficult for me, and she literally begged me to stay, to spend my life with her, and it was at that moment I had inspiration.
“This is what love is. Making shit work. Not throwing it away for nothing.”
Not like the crap I see on TV, or Mum and Dads babyish relationship.
“This is real. More real than I’ve ever had it.”
From then on I vowed to stick at it, to try and try and try, to grow with her and to open my ears to what she has to say and not what I think she’s saying. And it’s been an awesome ride since then. She’s taught me a lot. I’ve learned, I’ve prospered, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed and I’ve loved. But most importantly I learned that I had never learned to love in the first place. I had learned that my childhood wasn’t the best and had set me up for failure in later life.
So reflect on this. Think about your idea of what love is and how it reflects on your family life.