Love is a funny word, when you come to think of it. So many meanings and applications. I know how to love: with my family, with my intimate girlfriends who have kept me sane and supported, with my friends children or my pets. All of those things come easily to me.
When I think of love, I’ve often interpreted it in the past as action. If we love someone, we look for and strive to meet their needs so that they feel valued. A relationship is formed when that person offers the same to us. As a piece of the relational puzzle, it is a really important one. But I’ve come to learn that actions cannot exist in a void, and love itself is too multi-faceted for any strict, single definition. But, to get back to my original train of thought…
I know how to love. I know how to commit to people, and form lasting relationships. I am lucky to have five friends who I’ve known since middle school/high school – which was 17+ years ago. We’ve been through periods of closeness, periods of distance, yet we still hold on to each other. I think my healing, my recovery, has been easier due to those relationships, even if I still have a long way to go.
I don’t really need to learn how to love again, do I? That’s not at issue here. I’m capable. In fact, in balanced relationships, it appears I am quite good at it. At the natural give and take. Of holding on to people who want to be held.
So what is it I need to learn?
Maybe I have a little self-love to learn. Or at least, to practice. I understand the concepts but only recently realized that it’s not only okay to prioritize myself, it’s necessary if I want to be a healthy, balanced individual. (Which I do want, most determinedly.)
Maybe it’s trust? But then I have a friendship only four years in the making, of a woman who has become my big sister, despite our disparate ages and the fact she lives across the country. She’s not only proven to be as reliable as my long-standing friends, but once I breached that dam of information last year, I’ve entrusted most of the very dear people in my life with the real me. My real story. My real pain and emotions.
So I am capable of trust.
So what is it that I feel I am missing?
My relationship with Guy is going strong, growing deeper. We text daily, call to share good mornings or good evenings. He is sweet, and kind, and gentle. Intelligent, thoughtful and open-minded. I am more cautious with the word ‘love’ than he is, and I am still testing the bounds of that open-mindedness. Being with him is peaceful, and calming, and I enjoy every moment of it.
Perhaps it is vulnerability, that I need to learn. But perhaps vulnerability is something we have to address with each individual person. There is no one-size fits all capability, until we know the full measure of the person we are considering that vulnerability with.
I have no real answers, unless I simply need to learn to believe in normal again.