Monday, February 18, 2013

Love Lesson Learned

I’ve been doing a lot of mental clean up lately – the dirty kind of clean up of the thoughts that have filled me with shame. The ugly stuff I have had a hard accepting like the times I felt rejection and not being good enough. 

Today I thought about Dominick. Dominick: the handsome man from Ireland; Dominick the jerk; Dominick the player; Or in actual reality, the dude I projected my insecurities on when he didn’t follow up with our 3rd date.

I met Dominick at a friend’s party in San Francisco. We hit it off - probably too well off as I ended that night at his place. We walked on the beach the following morning sharing what we wanted out of life. He impressed me with his knowledge of Physics and Marine Biology.  I love a smart man. And to boot, I found him physically attractive.  This blend of a man hasn’t always been for me that easy to find.

We went out again. I took him to an oyster bar in Point Reyes. Things seemed to go well and I made it clear how much I liked him. And then he never called me for the third date.

“OH NO. What did I do?,” came my ruminations after no call from Dominick. Too pushy, aggressive, I blamed myself for being. I’m not the type to hold back when I know what I want. So I made my check list of all the things I did wrong to push him away. And I beat myself up. And I did this longer for any reasonable amount of time. After a time, his name came up in a conversation with an acquaintance by the name of Doreen. I doubted Doreen knew my relationship to him. She complained that all Dominick could talk about was his “GORGEOUS Brazilian girlfriend.” (Put a sneer with an Irish accent when you read gorgeous because that’s how Doreen emphasized it). My response was a light, “Oh that guy? He’s just a jerk.” “He IS a jerk,” agreed Doreen.  Then I had to laugh. He probably was a jerk, at least, in that context.

The next time I saw Dominick was at an Irish pub sitting with his GORGEOUS Brazilian girlfriend. They were just sitting, not even facing one another. Dominick had a searching look, maybe examining who was looking at him with his GORGEOUS Brazilian girlfriend. She looked around not seeming to know what to do with herself.  She had the low body fat that hit on my insecurities of “Well, maybe he was looking for someone thinner.” In truth, I didn’t know.  Whatever I made of his supposed rejection of me was my own problem, the problem I thought I had which I made up from insecurity that said, "I’m not perfect therefore I’m not loveable." YIKES! That is my ultimate dirty secret, my biggest insecurity – that if I’m not perfect, I can’t be loved. There I said it out loud, in a public forum and I didn't keel over and die. WHEW!

I’ve spent the last several  years trying to “fix myself” and beating myself when I haven’t reached what I thought I’d reach – that ultimate place of being untouchable; that magic place where no one could ever criticize me or bring me down & make me feel badly about myself. Because when you're perfect, no one can say anything badly about you right? I've carried that illusion for years, bubbling under the surface but not so close that I could pop it and see it for what it was - an unreal expectation. There is no real way to maintain perfection. We all get battered and bruised. And we learn. And in that, we actually become better people. This is the point of the lesson I've been missing out on. 

The other lesson in love that I'm focusing on is maintaining what I want and my needs. What do I want? I want someone who is kind, considerate, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, and most importantly respects me. But most importantly, I want to be that kind of person to myself. I have to treat myself the way I want to be treated so I know what that feels like to feel loved & accepted. We are what we project after all, and if I project self-love I will find the love I want in return. 

It's taken me awhile to figure out what's really broken in me. It's my ability to love myself as I am instead of what I think I should be. I am a person who has the capacity for great love. Most importantly though, it starts from within and radiates out, like the sun. As the light inside me grows steady and strong I know it cannot be diminished. It is eternal. That in my mind is the essence of true love. 


Moonbeam McQueen said...

This post is gorgeous beyond belief. So honest, familiar and heart-wrenching. The greatest lessons so often come from the most painful experiences. Thank you for sharing this.

P.S. Also, thanks for following me on Twitter. It led me to this fantastic blog! Love the title. Following you back.

Jen Pearlman said...

Thank you SO much for your feedback. It's the kind of feedback that motivates me to keep sharing my writing. Seriously. Thank you!