You might be wondering where I have been and the answer is, at work. I returned to work on March 5th, one day after I turned 50. Yep, my 15 year plan is underway. Work has not been stressful but sometimes, I get caught up in my head and it becomes a struggle to share what I am thinking. No matter, I am back with the intent of writing two new posts this week. So, without further delay, here is the first one.
Recently, I was suddenly compelled to answer this question, “What’s your greatest accomplishment?” As another person was answering the question, I said in my head,
“My greatest accomplishments are my ability to love and to allow others to love me.”
Years ago, I would have said something material, like my degrees or something that I had done to the house. Today, none of those things really matter to me. I do value them but they are a means to an end. My degrees earn me a larger paycheck and yes, I am glad that I put in the work required to get them but when I wake up each day, they are not what make me smile. Things I have done around the house were nice when I did them and I felt a sense of accomplishment but no, I do not feel much of anything for them now.
I grew up wondering if anyone would ever love me. As an adult, I feared love because I thought if I gave it, somehow it would only come back to hurt me. Sometimes, it did. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I must give love unconditionally to avoid the hurt. Coming to terms with this was made easier having the “grands” in my life. They say they love me and there are no strings attached. They just love me because I am me. Over a lot of years, I have learned to love others with no expectations. My feelings belong to me and I share them as I deem appropriate. I have learned to let go of my insecurities and become vulnerable. If saying I love you to another person does not step all over ones insecurities and vulnerabilities, I don’t know what does. Two years ago, I said, I love you to my partner for the first time. I still don’t say the words very often but I do write and/or text them. I still get a little uncomfortable when I say it but I do love him and he should know it. I never want another person to guess how I feel about them.
Along with being able to say, I love you, accepting love is another place that has always been uncomfortable for me. I felt that if someone loved me, I would somehow do/say something to screw it up. I shocked myself the day I asked my partner if he was mad at me for something that I had said My “are you mad at me”, if we dig a little deeper really meant, “Do you still care about me/do you still want to be with me”? Trust me when I say, just when I think I have life figured out and I know my own crazy, I find out I have absolutely no idea of my level of crazy and there is more work to be done. I immediately started working.
I have come to accept that people who really want to be with me are going to stay no matter what. It is okay for me to have bad days. Bad days are not the end. I allow others to have their moods and I don’t leave. Why was I setting the standard so low for myself? I still get nervous sometimes but the reality stops the crazy
Another way that I have learned to accept love is to not put my ideas about what love should look like on another person. When I step back and observe how the person treats me, how we interact, and how I feel when I am around them, I know when it’s love.
If I had to pick between being happiest with being able to love and allowing others to love me, I think “others loving me” is number 1. I have derived so much joy from stepping back and letting each of the “grands” love me in their own way. I have also derived great joy, comfort, and contentment from stepping back and letting my partner love me the way that he knows how.
I am on top of the world knowing that I can love without fear. I embrace allowing others to love me in their own ways, without any nudging from me.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?