Look at How You Love and Have Been Loved

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t supposed to be good days, but let’s imagine for a moment that they are. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all again, and this time maybe even get it right.

Monday’s are for making the changes we want to see in ourselves and for thinking about the changes we want to see in the world. Monday’s are exciting!

For me, this Monday is flying by much too quickly. I am late for just about everything, I’m even late getting this post up! I thought about just giving up and trying again tomorrow but that didn’t feel right. I felt I should still give my all and try to do everything I set out to, including writing this post anyway.

Better late than never.

“..it’s awful not to be loved. It’s the worst thing in the world…It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel.”

― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

This week I am finishing up John Stienbeck’s East of Eden and I just know this is going to be a book I am going to be thinking about for a very long time. There are a lot of lessons in it about love. About everyone’s need for love and what can happen to us when we grow up without that love.

What particularly struck me was the time spent on people who on the surface did look like they needed love but on the inside both craved and gave an immense amount of love.

Sometimes those people, because they hadn’t gotten the love they needed, acted in ways that prevented others from loving them easily. They felt inadequate and unworthy. They felt inherently bad and incapable of attaining the beauty and perfection of othere they saw getting the love they so desperately needed.

In contrast, the one who were loved easily grew to take it for granted and could not look past other people’s perceived flaws and mistakes in order to give love in return.

I have been thinking about how these scenerios might have played out in my own life, or how I might have acted or felt similarly.

As a child I was deeply sensitive and craved love from the adults around me. Unfortunately the adults in my life had their own problems and lacked the emotional capacity to give the kind of love I needed. I went through many fazes trying to get that love. I tried to be perfect, that didn’t work. I tried being bad, that didn’t work. I tried not caring, and that didn’t work either. Eventually I had to leave behind the people who couldn’t love me to search for people who could.

I found that love, and later the people who couldn’t love me found me again and they had grown and matured enough to try again. I am lucky, some people never get that love. I wonder how I might have turned out if nothing had changed for me?

I wonder how many people around me, people I have written off or not taken an interest in because they are not easy to be cared about or wanted, are filled with a need for love they’ve never had and love they’ve never been able to give?

This week, look inside yourself and look back into your past, all the way to your childhood. Think about all the way you have grown and been shaped by the presence or absence of love. Think about who has loved you and who you wish had. Think about the love you have now and whether it excites or scares you. Think about the ways you accept love and the ways you give it too. Think about the kind of people who think deserve love, and the ones you think don’t, then ask yourself why?

This week take a little time to look around yourself. Look at the people who aren’t perfect who aren’t easy to know, the people who might’ve made mistakes or who might be hiding behind a facade to avoid pain. Try to see the beauty in them. Try to see them as a person, a whole human being like yourself with all the same needs and pains. Try to find love for them, in your own way. Even if it is only a secret love.

It’ll keep you from becoming too cold and cruel.

As always, try to be the change you want to see. Examine yourself and those around you and adjust accordingly.


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Featured image via Unsplash


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