What it means to me to feel loved

I think I’ve spent the better part of my life feeling unloved. Not because my family doesn’t love me–I have a very demonstrative family, if not totally affectionate (and my kids at home and work take care of that). No, I have no doubt that people have and continue to love me; I simply do not think they love me in ways that make me feel loved.

I wonder if other people feel that way, too. If they–if you experience people loving you yet still feel unloved. If the love you get is the love you want. I wonder if what I am doing–feeling is this unattainable thing. If maybe me feeling unloved is my fault. Like there is something wrong with how I receive or process what other people bring to me.

And then there is this brash part of me who declares recklessly that my feelings are valid, that I ought to stand in my truth. So I am journaling this out, in real time: what makes me feel loved? And if I am not receiving what makes me feel loved, what can I do to change it?

Th first thought that comes to mind is that I crave appreciation. It seems vain to say it, but hell. I bring a lot of thought and consideration and action to the table. I don’t come to any situation or relationhip empty handed. I bring substance. I bring dedication, sacrifice. I want that to be acknowledged. And not just pointed at it for the consumption of the public–I want a visceral “I know you appreciate me” feeling in the air when I am with someone because I lay it all on the line at my own personal risk.

I want undivided attention. Not much because I respect others’ autonomy. I am not needy; I don’t want anybody’s world to revolve around me. But I feel loved when time is obviously taken and thought is obviously given specifically for me.  I want to experience that special realization that you thought particularly of me rather than the general things that you assume all people like me (i.e. black women) might enjoy. I want your best attention–not your leftover love.

I have found that these two abtract ideas are the most challenging to obtain, that the thought I am looking for is often overshadowed by the thing because things are easy; thought is difficult and time consuming. It is so easy to buy me a shirt, a necklace, a purse, a bouquet; it is vulnerable and overwhelming to hand me your thought of me. You cannot buy that.

And so I tend (except in this little honest moment of free writing) to accept whatever I get. I try hard to look past the stuff and appreciate the person who gave it with the (albeit disappointed) understanding that perhaps I am simply asking for too much when I ask someone to “give me you.” I recognize that I ask for something that maybe most folks don’t have. And I tuck my unlovedness back into myself and accept what is offered.

It is a garbage way to live, and I really don’t think I can change it. It is too easy for people to throw it back as being ungrateful, as not being aligned with “God”, as being selfish and self centered for craving intimacy. Cause that’s what it is, isn’t it? A desire for intimacy that is left on the backburner too long and often left to die in the dessert of busyness and distraction.



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