Thought Catalog

It’s So Hard To Let Someone Love You When You Haven’t Earned It

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8 years ago when Justin Bieber was a little baby crooner one of his first singles One Time was on the radio and I was driving to work thinking about the line Your world is my world / And my fight is your fight. I don’t know how, but I had spent twenty some years thinking about and being in relationships without understanding this simple little-kid truth: you’re supposed to get back what you put into other people, too. Someone is going to carry your baggage one day, you and you have to learn how to let them.

I like to think of relationships as being all about me because that is all that I am in control of. I like to focus on what I get out of the act of loving someone. I like to be Marissa Tomei in Untamed Heart handling the object of her affection with a tenderness that is unselfish to the point that it’s almost maternal.

Untamed Heart

I can’t imagine things being the other way around. I can’t imagine letting someone love me this way.

I am supposed to be doing creative work, but I feel guilty that I am not doing work that is commercially successful. I think about how I could spend my time writing things like The Nastiest Thing You Are Willing To Do In Bed, Based On Your Zodiac Sign and then I would feel so much security because I am not asking anyone for something that I haven’t explicitly earned. I know that what I need is time that is spent not doing The Nastiest Thing You Are Willing To Do In Bed, Based On Your Zodiac Sign so that I can nurture what else I have in me and figure out how to make that commercially successful. But this means that for awhile I have to not pull my weight. I have to rely on other people.

It’s so hard to not be in control. It’s so hard to ask for grace.

We are made to be in so many kinds of relationships, this is because we are creatures who need to love and because we are creatures who need to be loved. We have an animal instinct about how life is going to go — the fact that we are going to be laid low at some point. We know that we will need someone to carry us through those times, that we will need to be able to depend.

We teach kids the golden rule because we anticipate needing to remind them to be selfless, but we don’t think about what to do when the hard part of loving your neighbor as yourself is that you have to love yourself, too. TC mark

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