I bet you read the title and rolled your eyes. This won’t be a sappy post. Trust me.
I have been struggling with how to write this post. It has been on my mind for a month. I am writing this post because I want to share what I think love looks like. I thought it was important to share this post right before Thanksgiving. I think Thanksgiving is about being thankful for ALL the people who are in your life: family, friends, helpful co-workers, and significant others.
What I realized (to me) is that love looks like the right amount of selflessness, sacrifice and grace. I don’t think anyone should ever be totally selfless. I am very serious about people taking self-care into consideration. Yet, I think the right amount of selflessness is what is necessary to have a loving relationship with someone.
An example from my own life: I never had a boyfriend who did things for me. I didn’t understand until a few years ago how bad this was. I was so used to paying for my own meals and doing things for myself that I didn’t understand that in a relationship love looks like WANTING to do something special for your partner every now and then. I had no idea. I wasn’t used to being treated well so I didn’t understand that I was never appreciated. I didn’t understand that when a man loves you they want to make you feel special by treating you. They can do this by giving a gift or spending an afternoon in the park.
I used to go on dates where I was paying my own meal or both meals. Is it really even a date if you are paying for everything? Let’s be honest, right?! What was I thinking?
I was in relationships with men who were perfectly OK with me paying for my own meal or paying for both meals. Yes, this happened and I allowed this poor behavior. I had no idea of my self-worth. Yes, I was in relationships that lasted for quite a while where we hardly ever did anything special. I was told if I wanted to do something special I had to pay for it otherwise they didn’t understand the point. I was supposed to be happy with watching TV, free sporting events or concerts and that’s about it.
Giving of time is a real gift and that’s what love looks like. It isn’t always about spending money. Giving of time can be included under a “sacrifice”. A person who wants to show love will make some sacrifices. They may be busy one week, but the next week they carve out time just for you and they don’t rush through that time. A sacrifice is also doing something you know your partner enjoys doing even if it’s not your thing. It’s good to indulge your partner every now and again and try something they want to try.
Grace is when you forgive and are open. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. We need to learn to forgive especially when we can tell a person is truly sorry. Grace is also about being open to something new. It is about opening yourself to new possibilities and letting someone truly in. You can’t say you love someone but shut them out. A person who loves will open up to you and WANT to be available to you.
If you aren’t getting any of this from someone you aren’t being loved. It’s not love. I’m sorry. I had to learn it the hard way too. It’s the main reason why I am sharing this right before Thanksgiving. I don’t want anyone to be fooled like I was for so long. I believe Thanksgiving is the PERFECT time to share. If I can be of help to someone than I want to do it. I want to show my appreciation for all the people in my life. I hope you all get the chance to do that as well.
Again, I had to learn all of this the hard way. I have really had to learn this lesson in all its glory in the past month. You have to learn your worth and show others you know your worth and won’t tolerate bad behavior from anyone. You have to show people HOW to treat you. Yes, you do deserve to be loved and sometimes unexpected people show up out of the shadows to show you what you deserved all along.