Love is this magical thing that magnifies everything it touches. Love is like an elixir that eases out the hard stuff and makes everything more lubricated, facile and moveable.
It is sad that most people, myself included, have gone through life with love adjacent. We have all experience love on some level, but that love that comes correctly, for lack of a better word, is something that is illusive to many.
What is loving correctly?
Well, I am probably not the best person to speak on the topic. I can honestly say that I have only had it once in my life. How do I know? Because I still long for it. And it was incomparable to anything else I have ever experienced in the love department.
I guess loving correctly has as many version as there are people...but I think the baseline for most everyone is that you feel seen as you are, adored for being just who you are and that your needs, feelings, wants and desires are something that is interesting to your partner, valued and reciprocated. I really don’t think it is any more complicated than that.
And so it is heartbreaking that so many people I know, men and women alike, have only a fleeting acquaintance with being loved correctly and loving correctly.
I know for me, it was magic. And then when it ended, it was madness. I grieved for years. Convinced that what we had was meant to be life lasting. Me, who approached love and dating like some sort of never ending assembly line, which was also a quest for finding love provided “correctly” was stopped in her tracks and left to wander darkened woods for about four years....alone. Cryking.
Say what you will, it worked. I am healed. He and I are friends. I understand now what I could not understand before, that sometimes loving correctly is undermined by unhealed trauma, life circumstances that are just not overcomeable in that time, in that part of your life.
I do not pine away for him and what we had. I am grateful for getting to experience it at all. But I will also say it changed me. That is the only kind of love I want now. And in his absence, I learned to give it to myself. Which was an important lesson for me. To love myself correctly, and having now learned to do so (most of the time anyway) I can see that my failure to know how to do it when I was with him was part of the reason the great love we shared was finite. He, too, had those limitation and we were unable to grown beyond the limits of our own self loathing at the time.
I am not sure what all those other love adjacent connections were. I just know that when he looked at me, I could feel how much he loved me, adored me and wanted me. And that part of us still remains today. I could text him right now and he would confirm that that hasn’t ever changed for him. Which begs the question as to why we don’t give it another go...and to that I have an answer. We gave it our best shot, repeatedly. And while the love and attraction and adoration was amazing and survived all the heartbreak that followed, we have never wanted the same thing. We have never been looking in the same direction for what we want in this life. And that will kill even the best love, the most “correct” love every single time.
See in addition to lighting each other up in all the ways that everyone talks about and wants, you also have to have the same vision for your life. And to ensure that this other person has a part in it and that they want the same thing. And we were never able to get there no matter how hard we both tried. We, in the end, wanted different things.
So I have been loved correctly and in the absence of that had to learn to love myself correctly, which is almost as hard and fleeting in my experience. I wrote the other day about my the self loathing that descended upon me and just made me fucking miserable...it passed. But it made me question how far along I really am in loving myself correctly. So I am pondering that...
Because I used to believe that this whole loving correctly thing wasn’t available to me. Then I met him and I realized it was. Then I lost him and had all the usual feelings and thoughts and demons that are conjured when you love and lose. And that begat a whole journey of self discovery for me. Which did engender an ability in me to love myself mo betta.
And everything in my life changed. The way I looked, the way I felt, the way I could give to others, the way I took care of myself and others in my care, the way I gave my time, the way that I didn’t, the people I allowed to stay and the people I ushered, sometimes quietly and sometimes not so much, to the door of my life. I grew up and learned that loving someone else is best done when you know how to do it for yourself. Giving is easy when you know how much, of what kind and how to give it. And for me, I have had to learn to do that for myself.
And like all of my learning, I had to do this a great many missteps and falters. And I have grown and learned and backslid. And appear to be at a place now where while I feel ready to attempt to love correctly another, the universe disagrees with me. And for once in my life, I am not in collision with what is. I no longer have the time or the energy to fling myself at things and people who are not ready to receive me. Who are not interested in the things I am, and who are not wiling or ready to love correctly. I am no longer willing to cut bad deals with less than stellar men, or perhaps just mortally wounded men, just to test my skill. I am fucking strong, but I do not have to take on impossible tasks just to prove myself anymore. I just accept that what is, is what should be.
And this, this is how I know that I have come to love myself correctly.
I saw a lot of posts about women being loved correctly, and I refused to use those photos because it is about people being loved correctly, we all blossom when loved truly, rightly and correctly...no gender exceptions.