“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
When I read a book and I love it, it’s characters come alive and I become deeply invested in, attached to and dependent on them, especially in times of need. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those reads that you keep going back to, that you page through on a bad (or good) day because there is so much good in them that you cannot simply be satisfied with just one read. Please do yourself a favour and read it. I still haven’t watched the movie. I never may. There is no real need.
We accept the love that we think we deserve.
It is an easy and light phrase to skim over and repeat without really understanding what it means. It took me a while to not only understand, but to embrace it. Crossroads.
A time to pause. I increasingly found myself deeply disappointed in a lot of people whom I was never meant to feel that way about. I was incredibly disgruntled. I simply felt that I was not getting the love I deserved from them. There was little to no reciprocation. I felt that I was pouring myself into loving people and making an effort for them when they would not and were not doing the same for me. It was an incredibly frustrating and hurtful realisation. I was in denial about it for a while. These people were never meant to hurt me like this. It had to be me. I was the problem. Right? Yes. I said yes for so long. Then one day, I woke up and said “No.”
No. It left a bitter taste in my mouth that realisation. The answer to the question which I posed to myself as a benchmark, was more often than not, “No, absolutely not.” The question? Sorry, it was simply a matter of “If I do this for X, would they do the same thing for me in my time of need?”
First of all I tried not to ask that question and to simply do good things and try be a firm friend. After all, that is what love and friendship is all about, right? Loving without expecting a reward for it? The only problem was that I was not expecting a reward or acknowledgement; simply love in kind. And it was not forthcoming. And I increasingly realised that I could not sustain all these one-sided relationships that were leaving me cold and desperately sad and depressed.
I did not like to use this question as a method of living my life and deciding on my friendships, so I ignored the nagging voice of my conscience . The question kept coming up in my mind over and over again; I kept suppressing it and I kept on giving and and loving and making an effort and fighting. God, I fought. I fought to love and to hold on. Until I could not.
Breaking point. I suppose we all have our breaking point. I reached mine one day when I realised that it was a necessity for me to cut people off and I had to do it to ensure my own survival and mental sanity. I was falling apart and had nothing left to give without being embittered. I was loving all these people, trying so hard to stay in touch and be involved in their lives and be a support system. And I had…nothing. They were giving me nothing.
Cold. I was so afraid. I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid that I would lose everything and be left all alone with my thoughts. I was afraid of being alone and unloved. That fear kept me hanging onto relationships that had long run their course. That fear blinded me to the reality that I was already alone.
I got stronger. Consciously. I read and wrote copiously. I spoke to a lot of people. I prayed and meditated. I went to the gym and I started running more. I filled my life with love, genuine love, activities, an extra class, tennis. I worked on me and built myself up. God was listening. I prayed to be stronger. My fear left me. It was a long painful process. But I made it. My fear left me. What replaced it? A love of solitude and a spirit of discernment. I would rather be in my own company than around forces draining my light and love. I grew to love my solitude and the fear I had once had no longer ruled my life.
My fear left me. What replaced it? Anger. Righteous anger! I can laugh about it now a little. But it is still incredibly painful. I was angry that I had been rejected and abused and taken for granted. I was trying to be a good person. Faithful, loving, dependable, constant. I was trying to be better. Love more. Be kind. And the thanks I got was basically people spitting in my face after taking what I offered without so much as a thank you! I was furious! Hurt and furious! Hot angry tears. I felt overwhelming hurt.
Why was it so easy for people to walk away? It hurt that they could walk away that easily. It still hurts. Sometimes I find myself wiping away tears as I am hit by an overwhelming hurt. I just miss someone so much it nearly knocks me down.
It shouldn’t be so easy to walk away. Maybe I am a sentimental fool. But I have so much love for the people in my life. Family, boyfriend, love interest, friend or person simply around me. I will not hesitate to let them know, and to show them. I am baffled as to why people would not show love to those they love while they are still able to. Life is so short and fragile. Why are we wasting time not showing people how much they mean to us?
I realised that it did not really matter why they left. It was not about me. It had never been about me. It was about someone’s inability to love and to be open and honest and reciprocate. Simply put. I had done all I could do. I tried my best. And I respected myself enough to walk away. That took a lot from me. Tremendous strength. And I am proud of myself for it. The people I have had to cut out of my life were not necessarily bad people. They were just bad for me. I could not understand why they would not love me. I did not think them bad people, so I could not understand why they were the source of so much pain and anger and negativity. I still do not understand why it was so hard for them to love me. I still get sad about it. Cry. A lot.
Losing people hurts. Not only lovers and boyfriends, but friends, solid people, people you depended on. It hurts like crazy. And is confusing and debilitating and sad.
But I am slowly getting past it and accepting it. I would rather direct my energy toward loving those who love and do not hesitate to let me know, not simply through their words, but through their actions as well. Show up, be involved, be there for goodness’ sake.
Don’t only tell me. Show me. Let your words be convincing.
I don’t want to “love me enough for the both of us.” Because then why am I not simply alone? Learn me. Love me. I do not ask for much. Just love me. And remember to let me know and to show me.
“All I’m saying is, spoil me with your consistency.”
Deep breath. And exhale.