The Love I Need
It's the morning of my Grandfather's funeral, but I've woken up feeling particularly positive. He lived to see ninety years old, 8 kids, 16 grandkids and spent his life married to his wife like his vows dictated. It really made me think about my future, my family, my boyfriend and all my boyfriends that came before him. I thought about the foundations my granddad laid and I remembered he done it all with my nan, his wife. They were a team. It made me think so much about my future, about my life outside of my parents home, about my own family, how I'll be doing that all with my own partner; we'll be our own little team. And then I thought about all of my past relationships and how much those experiences contributed to what I want now.
I had my first boyfriend when I was sixteen and although I don't believe that forbidding your children from having boyfriends/girlfriends at a young age prevents sexual indiscretions I do think you should deter them from having boyfriends/girlfriends by helping them understand the implications of romantic relationships. My parents were always very open to the idea of me having boyfriends and I was always very open about me having them. Now, I wasn't running wild and rampant with a new boy every week, in fact it was quite the opposite, the relationships were too deep and serious for such an innocent and naive young lady. I had no business being involved with anyone in such a way and those first, and quite early, experiences affected the way I saw relationships for quite literally the next decade.
There are lots of components, to a happy, healthy, loving, functioning relationship and many of these components must exist before you even meet the right person. You can only harness them with time and effort put into yourself as an individual. This is not to say it's impossible to do this while romantically involved, but it is only possible if you know who you are outside of said relationship, I don't think I did. And because of this lack of sense of self I always put the other parties feelings before my own, I made them a priority and that was my biggest problem. It meant I carried all of their burdens, it meant I took on all of their problems and it meant I could never remove myself from situations I wasn't happy in because the fact that they wanted me to stay became more important. Without going into too much detail and divulging to much about any individual I'll explain a little bit what out synergy was like; either I loved them dearly and it wasn't reciprocated or they loved me dearly and I couldn't reciprocate. In so desperately wanting someone to love me, I exhausted myself and all of my resources to get them to love me back - love doesn't work like that. In feeling that I was lucky to have such a good person want to be with me, I again exhausted myself and all of my resources trying to convince myself I loved them too - love doesn't work like that. I spent so much time pouring myself into other people I honestly had nothing left. I had no love left for me.
When people would harp on about self love I never got it, I didn't knock it, I just couldn't relate. I just didn't love myself. I never considered the things that I deserved, I never felt particularly capable and whenever I imagined myself doing great things it seemed far fetched, it seemed unrealistic and it's because I had spent the most pivotal years of my life trying to love other people. I got to 24 and I wasn't happy. I was lost. Everything I did lacked conviction, I never really made decisions or worked towards a specific goal because I had no idea what I wanted. I didn't know what made me happy because my biggest concern was always another person and what made them happy. That's when I realised how much those relationships affected my development as a young woman, how serious it is to share so much of yourself with another person and how detrimental compromising your individuality for the sake of a union can be.
All of the feelings I suppressed are the one's I should have embraced. They weren't nice feelings, they didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but they were real. I believe in energy and energy can not be destroyed, it can only be transferred. I had all this energy, negative energy I'll admit, but energy nonetheless and I done nothing with it, so instead I lay dormant. Those years should be full of experience, they should be eventful, memorable. This is when you take the time to be unapologetically selfish, when you go wild and do stupid shit you should probably regret, but you never will. When you make your biggest mistakes, but you don't care because at the time it was exactly what you wanted. This is when you get a feel for the things you love and the things you hate. Trial and error. This is when you have all the chances in the world. This is when you have a basket for every single egg. You don't have to commit to anyone or anything unless you absolutely want to and ultimately nothing, nothing in the world should be more important than the way you feel and what you believe in. This is the time you spend doing absolutely everything; study, travel, read, meet boys, ditch boys, fall out with friends, meet new ones, drink, dance, quit the jobs you hate, spend all the money you like, say yes to the things you want without worrying what anyone thinks, say no to the things you don't without any explanations, live for no one but yourself!
The love I needed all those years was my own and now that I've found it it spills over into all aspects of my life.
Love is an amalgamation of things and to define it is futile. I accept that it will be different with every person and I've realised you have to love irrespective of yourself and your relationships. You have to love and appreciate them as they come. You can't rely on their potential. You can't depend on them changing because they love you too. People should only change if it is conducive to their form of self love and in turn will align with the love they want to give. You don't want people to alter themselves as much as you want them to grow into themselves, you want them to flourish, to blossom, that is the effect genuine love should have. In a study on the website research digest it is suggested that feeling authentic in your relationship comes from being your best self, not your actual self. As in we love our partners, not because we can be our worst and they put up with it, but because they make us strive to be our best at all times and I believe this is so. Or at least that's the truth in my relationship. It's called the Michelangelo phenomenon.
When you look at your partner, they should inspire greatness and you should continue to encourage each other to get better and better. Push and pull, bob and weave, you've got their back and they've got yours. You want to grow together, not apart, while maintaining who you are as individuals. You need that balance. So even if it doesn't work out, you walk away a better version of your true selves. Every relationship should offer us, if nothing else, an opportunity to learn and grow. That's the love I need.