My dearest little L.,
Here are a few things I learnt about love since we grew up.
Love is very real. But it looks and feels nothing like we thought it would.
Real love doesn’t sweep us off our feet or drive us crazy. It’s not about feeling addicted to the other and completely losing our footing. Real love makes us feel SAFE and calm. (and not just shortly between each storm of devastation)
It’s not about big gestures either, even if they feel really nice and should ideally happen once in a while. It’s really more about all the little gestures.
Listening, paying attention, remembering what counts to the other, being grateful for their presence in our life, choosing to be kind even when it’s hard, being there for the other, having the courage to have uncomfortable conversations when they’re helpful and important. Showing ourselves to the other, showing up in all of our vulnerability, as scary as it is. Authentic communication. Respect.
It’s about honesty, kindness, courage. It’s about being brave enough to apologize and repair when we hurt the other and limiting how often we hurt each other, cherishing that connection.
Compatibility is absolutely essential, but not the one we thought.
It’s really nice to share some interests and beliefs and to have fun together. Quite important to at least some share core values we are not ready to negotiate on. It helps to agree on some fundamentals. But it’s not enough nor the most important compatibility for a relationship to be able to last.
We all grew up with our own trauma and hardship. That means there are things we need from our relationship to feel safe in them, and things that make us feel deeply unsafe.
Feeling unsafe rarely goes away, even when we work very hard at minimizing the distress. Like if we can't bear when people leave or don't share their feelings, and partner with someone doing just that, we cn work as much as we want being okay with it, it won't take away the profound distress.
It’s not something we learn to overcome or that the other learns to radically change by the miracle of love either. Feeling unsafe, like we can lose the other’s love at any moment, is not love, but infatuation. We deserve to feel loved and safe.
If the other is incompatible developmentally, and even worse, if one of the partner is not ready to work really hard, day in day out and seek help outside of the relationship, relationships become toxic. Abusive and/or neglectful.
There’s no such thing as redemptive love, but we heal better together.
When we feel broken, love is not what will magically heal us, hard work on recovery is. The more we suffer, the more we actually tend to find partners that won’t feel loving nor safe. It doesn’t mean we can’t find people to love us until we’re healed, but it means that we shouldn’t expect relationships to do the work for us.
When we have been feeling unloved for a long time, it doesn’t disappear in our intimate relationships, it usually gets accentuated.
However, being in loving and safe relationships is a very healing process. It doesn’t replace the work we do by ourselves for ourselves, but it compliments it beautifully.
Growing together is one of the most powerful bond two people can share.
On that note, you was never meant to be saved. At least not by someone else.
You were never lost. You were never broken. You’re not deficient.
Being a woman, you were fed that constant idea that you need a man and mentors to allow you to fully be who you are. That you’re only as worthy as how loved and taken care of you make others feel. That’s utter BS.
You’re complete, no matter what happened to you. Society taught you that you needed others to feel loved, but it you that your inner child needs the most love from. The only person who needs to give you permission to live and be, is you.
And it’s certainly not by giving all your love to others while not taking care of yourself that your wounds are going to heal.
Relationships about saving anyone aren’t equal but based on a savior feeling superior. You don’t want that for you, or anyone. We all deserve better.
Love IS a battlefield. But the fight shouldn’t be between the people who love each other.
Love gets hard and uncomfortable. It asks us to show up being deeply vulnerable, to take risk, to look at parts of us we don’t want to look at, bravely. We will need to grow. To show up, even when it feels difficult, sometimes when it feels almost impossible.
That’s why it can’t be also a battle between you and the one you love. When we love each other in a healthy way, it’s us against the problem. Your issues aren’t obstacles between your love, in-between you and them. If it feels like this too often, and/or if it feels like you have to fight to be loved rather than, you, fighting together for your love, know that you deserve better.
On that note, compromise shouldn’t be confused with collaboration. In compromise, both parties lose, in collaboration, everyone wins towards a shared goal. Relationships that feel like a constant compromise aren’t loving. You deserve better.
And we will never settle again for any one of those relationships.
As a child of the Universe, we all deserve to feel loved and are wired to love from the bottom of your heart, even if that looks or feels nothing like what we were taught by our culture.
I’m here for you now and will always. And since we found each other back and I keep showing you everyday how much I care for you, we found some amazingly loving people to heal and grow together. People who we can fight for our love with, in the most beautiful way.
You were never lost or broken.
In badass love,