One of my proudest accomplishments has been loving completely. Loving so much it hurts. Bending over backwards for the people I love, sometimes to be ultruistic and sometimes, admittedly, to be selfish. Sometimes love is a selfish act because we consistently want love to fill a hole within ourselves that could never possibly be held as deeply as we want or need it to.
Crushes are like that. When we have a crush on someone we constantly strive to ‘trick’ someone, or coerce someone, or pray for someone, to love us. We wish on shooting stars and on 11:11 with the hope that the universe will change its mind and spark someone to love us when the reality exists that, they don’t love us at all. We love this way because many of us sometimes feel ‘broken’; and maybe, if the person we have placed on this pedestal, returns our affections, it will fill that selfish hole, that selfish need for love, and then all will be better.
I always feel broken. My brokenness knows no bounds. I don’t see myself as pretty, I don’t see myself as someone worth loving, and I pour all my energy into showing affection to those I want to hold onto because I’m worried that one day they’ll wake up and change their mind about me. I have a reason to believe this; my reasoning is that a lot of people I have loved deeply – this deeply, in fact – have left me. Many people in my world — people I’ve dated, friends I’ve had, parent ‘figures’ in my life – have eventually abandoned me, or hurt me, and this has caused me to feel differently about my relationships with others. Abandoned people love differently. Hurt people love differently.
Sometimes I’m amazed that anyone would ‘choose’ me. I’ve gone through life mostly believing and seeing myself as someone who would disappear from view if I wasn’t loud enough. The more I progress in life and relationships, the more I realize that having this vantage point about myself leads to despair and rejection. Because my expectations about myself and others are unrealistic. That I always count on people on some level to make me who I want to be. And others cannot do that: only I can.
I have people in my life now that I love with my entire heart and around whom many of my decisions are based. But I’ve also frequently let down those I love, or have loved because I can be genuinely selfish, genuinely broken, and genuinely feel hard-done-by. The life I live isn’t perfect but sometimes acknowledging my own failings in this way has made me stronger and forced me to strive more for the kind of perfection and the kind of life that will make me rely less on others and more on myself.
Damaged people love indifferently: they love imperfectly.