October 17, 2013

How To Be Loved

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What is the issue?

Force yourself to remember every morning, during every tedious car ride, in the little moments of your blurry daily routine — you are so lucky. The fact that someone has chosen, despite the limitless options out there in the world, to be with you even in your less flattering moments, is nothing short of magical. The day in and day out of love often serves to numb you to how great it is, but it is that very daily renewal of your unspoken vows that makes it impressive. It’s so easy when you are infatuated — when everything is new, when you haven’t been faced with any real problems — but when you could draw their naked body with your eyes closed and they know every part of every favorite song you’ll sing along with, aways finding something new and exciting is as much something you decide as something that happens.

Think about all of the things you could do better if you were being honest with yourself. You might clean up after yourself more quickly, make more of an effort to keep appointments, or not get so moody when you haven’t eaten. You wouldn’t snap, you wouldn’t take minor frustrations out on someone who didn’t deserve it. Think about these things, and remember that they love you anyway, maybe even because of it, because no one knows what to do with a person they perceive as perfect. As much as you put vaseline on the lens for them and choose to forgive their shortcomings, they have graded you on a generous curve and chosen to love what’s good instead of resent what isn’t. When you feel the creeping realization come over you that you aren’t, in fact, the special snowflake you were taught to believe you were in kindergarten — that someone accepting you is wonderful — embrace it.

There is something nice about realizing you are not perfect, but you are still worth loving.

At least once a day, focus all of your attention on them. Do something special, say something nice, hold them. Make taking time out of your day to love and be loved just as much of an essential routine as brushing your teeth or combing your hair. Think of all the times you allowed yourself to take them for granted, to push them off of you in your bed, to assume that they would always be there to come back to tomorrow. Make up for each one of those times with a kiss, a hand held, a question asked about their day. To be loved well, it seems, means making sure that the person who loves you always knows how much you appreciate their presence in your life. It’s never leaving them with that stomach-dropping feeling of “will they tire of me tomorrow?” that so many of us tend to mistake for passion. Give them that security, and watch the way they light up in your presence.

Feel it, every ounce of it. Remember that love is not something that you can save up an excess of and take out when you need some of it at a low moment in the dead of winter. Remember that every time someone tells you they love you, or makes you feel special, that is an entirely independent gift of everything else you have together. Because, no matter how much we might fear it, they owe us nothing. Just as much as we empower ourselves to never stand for mistreatment or never settle for less, they have just as much freedom in where they want to find happiness. Revel in the fact that someone has chosen you, and that they are giving something to you that is so universally positive as to be forgotten: they are your teammate. You have someone in your corner, even at the moments you feel most alone. Remember how special a thing that is, and maybe — if you have the time — pick them up their favorite snack on the way home tonight. TC mark

image – jtbrennan
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