Love is safe. Love is who you want to come home to after a bad day. Love is never scary. Love will never hate you. Love will protect you. Love will put you before anything. Love will swallow its pride and apologize when deserved.
Your idea of love may be different that another persons. This is a tricky one for me to grasp. I often finding myself asking why, or saying "but I would never do that." Do not expect someone to respond or act the way you would…they never will. Although peoples actions can make you question whether or not they love you, step back and breath. Ask yourself, are they loving me in the way they know how or are they not treating me with love at all? If you find yourself leaning towards question number 2, maybe its time to move on. If you are leaning towards question number 1, its time to make a plan. When I am in a situation where someone is not loving in the way I would love, I often put up a shield and protect myself. It doesn’t mean they don't love me, it means they are not capable of giving you the depth of love that I desire. What you do with this information is up to you.
The type of love I desired but often did not know how to verbalize was far different than the family I grew up with. I honestly can say I have ALWAYS felt different. I never really knew who I was but in the depths of my being, I knew I wasn't capable of being everything I wanted to be. The kind of love I sought after was actually quite simple. I wanted a love without judgement or consequences. I wanted a love that didn't include punishment for making innocent mistakes. I wanted a love that holds me when I cry until my heart is at peace. I wanted a love that accepted my human; the good, the bad, the everything.
At a very young age, I was a pleaser and seeker of male attention. I always wanted to be the coolest, kindest, funniest, most "go with the flow" girl in the room. I would sit back silently and observe the environment around me. I would take time to plan out who exactly I needed to be in order to be loved by all. Exhausting, yes, but I did not know any other way to function other than with the idea of perfection. This plan of mine unfortunately worked only for so long because lets face it, absolutely no one is perfect. I found myself lying to friends, saying only what everyone wanted to hear, and ultimately having no real identity. I did not have malicious intent with my lying. I was so afraid of being yelled at for a mistake, or being judged for not knowing the right way that lying just became the easiest way. I figured I would just submit and apologize when it was needed.
This type of behavior is spotted a mile away by abusive humans. There was actually a study done many years ago on abusive men. Every single one of them could point a "weak" female out of a crowd. Its almost as if my entire being and hora screamed out "I associate love with abuse. I will never say no. I will be everything you want me to be." My first abusive relationship was when I was 13 years old, and my last was when I was 21. 8 years of this beautiful life of mine was abused. I can honestly say I did not know the extent of the abuse until about 4 years ago when I began seeing a counselor. I did not realize you could be raped if it was by your boyfriend. Silly I know, but I thought I deserved all he put me through. After all, he had begun to verbally destroy every inch of me physically, emotionally brain washing me into believing I was nothing, and all I could respond with was, "He must really love me." I would make mental note of all the qualities about me that needed to be "fixed". I would look myself in the mirror, and make a promise to do better tomorrow. My heart breaks for my younger self. I wish I could have just hugged her and let her know she didn't deserve this. No matter who told me I deserved better, I loved myself so little, I never believed I deserved more than exactly what I was getting. I used to pray he would punch me in the face from time to time because if I could see the bruises, maybe I could get enough courage to leave. My insides were so black and blue at this point, there was almost no room for more.
After time, I knew I needed to leave. I truly believe someone from a higher power forced me to because I was nothing but a shell of a woman at this point. My idea of love had been destroyed. I found myself turning to the few people close to me for support and perhaps encouragement to leave. Sadly, my beliefs about love were even more confirmed. Ultimately I was blamed for the relationships I had found myself in. The horrible treatment somehow was my fault. "Why would YOU put up with this?" "What did YOU do to make him mad?" I was even asked to stop trying to put my pain on others, how selfish of me. I was raped and abused multiple times, yet I was never to speak of this because it was too painful for the people around me to hear. I kept this deep secret with me for the next 10 years.
Love doesn't have to hurt…truly. Yes, there are struggles, there are good times and bad times. There are even going to be times you will cry from love. But, it should never damage you in the depths of your soul. It should never make you feel worthless. It should never make you cry so hard with hate that has grown within your own self. Most importantly, love should never ever make you feel like you are not enough.
Somewhere in the depths of my soul, I felt there had to be more to love. I am a hopeless romantic that would look in aww of these beautiful, kind, honest relationships around me. I saw with my own eyes my idea of love really does exist. But why couldn't I find this love? Why was I only finding toxic, destructive, painful "love"? The answer was quite simple, I didn't love myself. I never had the chance to love myself. See, how I was raised was if you are confident, strong, and powerful as a woman, you are stuck up, cocky, and arrogant. I was so scared to love myself with fear of people hating who I really was. I wasn't allowed mistakes. I wasn't allowed a voice. I wasn't allowed to be seen. But what happens if you shine so bright that people can not help but see you and love you for that energetic ball of joy that you really are? Stop hiding who you are to make others feel relevant. I finally realized my relevance made others uncomfortable, therefore, they tried to destroy me. Unfortunately I let them.
Trust, another missing link. Love is built on trust. Simple as that. This is why when someone you love and trust makes a mistake, it does not destroy you. You trust this persons real self. And you know he or she would never intentionally cause you pain or distress. I can honestly say by 21 years old, I had never trusted a single person. Every person I let near or tried to love, hurt me in some way. When you fully trust someone, you can become vulnerable. You know they will protect your heart, your stories, your dreams, your everything as if they were their own. The idea of trust is not only with another human, but also within yourself. I still struggle with trusting myself, but I know when I do fully, I will finally love with every ounce of my being. You must learn to trust that feeling deep within your belly that tells you something isn't right. Trust that overwhelming energy that may come over you when something hurts you, and speak up. Your voice is your power. Your voice will come when you begin to trust and love yourself first.
There are days I question the way some people treat me, but I have to believe the love around me is stronger and will out shine the negative. There are days of pain and days of sadness, but love will win. Love will never try to change you, but it will teach you. Only the strongest are willing to look within ones self and grow. If you continue to grow with love and truth, you will be fulfilled.
The love of my husband and my children are my safe haven. I will not let anything but love be in my children's world. I will change the pattern I became accustom to because of how much I love them. I love them more than my own self. I will do everything in my power to never let them feel even an ounce of what I did. I will embrace their mistakes and help them grow. I will hug them so tight when hard days get the best of them until every last tear is cried. And I will be sure to tell them how beautiful those emotions are and to never be afraid of showing them to the world. So in the end, my life of love has been a blessing. I know what real love is. I know what kind of love I want in my world and surrounding my family. They will know forever their lioness mama will protect, honor, cherish, and love every piece of their being. They will have a new pattern to mimic, which gives me large shoes to fill. But, I will never and can never let down the greatest gift of love that has even been given to me. Real, raw, unconditional, beautiful love.