[I wrote this entry a few months ago around my birthday and am publishing it now].
I turned 30 yesterday. I’m both proud & worried, happy & unsure.
And I thought I’d share some of my thoughts at this stage in my life. What I’ve learned about myself and love and the world around me - still so aware that I know so little and most of my thoughts are only halfway developed. But I want to share some of them because maybe you can relate. Most likely, you experience life differently than I do, but I am the only person that I know intimately who I can speak for, so I’ll just share myself and hope it encourages you to process yourself. [That’s one thing I’ve learned, not to try to speak for others].
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
I’m just going to be vulnerable with you here for a minute. That’s really what I intend to do today anyways, and it’s the best way I know how to connect. > LOVE > Love is a concept that means a lot to me. It motivates and drives me more than anything else in life, I think. I both desire to give it and receive it - more than success, beauty and experience. And I continually realize how much I have to learn about it - It’s both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. Getting married has shown me that - Something I felt very established in became something I needed to work on the most.
To start, I live with the most patient, giving & supportive husband. I don’t deserve him. I thank the Lord that he knew exactly what I needed. Before I was married, I had no idea that I inwardly believed I was not worthy to receive love unless I did something to earn it - That I felt, I must first do something for someone in order for them to love me back. Or how desperately I wanted to feel loved and how that formed a need to be needed. Oh my. I am incredibly lucky I did not marry a man who needed continual affirmation or love shown through performance. I would have earned every single bit of that acceptance and never realized how selfish a form of love that would’ve been for me. Wayne continually tells me that I don’t have to do anything for him and that he loves me just for being me. Sounds cliche I know, but I need that. He pushes me to be an individual, not who I think others want me to be. He celebrates my uniqueness. Just as he, himself, thrives on independence and feels valued by being given freedom and space.
Some people are individuals naturally, I’m so thankful for that. It is beautiful. But not me. Wayne tells me, I have helped him become more open. To keep an open heart. That’s beautiful too, right? Now I’m questioning myself. I think what is most important is for me to realize that, who I am, natural weaknesses and all, is a beautiful contribution to the world. I hope we all can do that for ourselves. We all offer different things to the table.
Are you a journal keeper? Every time that I look back over things I’ve written - the million introspections I’ve made about myself in the middle of whatever process I was in- I’ve wished that I wouldn’t have been as hard on myself. It’s hard to see beyond the moment we’re in. And for those of us who are introspective, it is extremely hard to value ourselves while we still feel like we have so much to “work on.” I wonder if, in this next decade I can learn to value myself for who I am, though still in process - and not be so hard on myself? I’m not sure exactly what that looks like at this point.
Wayne took me out for a beautiful dinner last night for my birthday. We sat on the patio of one of our favorite restaurants and had such a good talk. He told me again that he loves me for who I am. He has told me that multiple times since we’ve been together and to be honest, I’ve never quite understood it. He thanks me often for the things I do, but he never says he loves me because of them. Being loved for the ways I offer love to others is a language I understand. Being loved for just being, is a foreign tongue. Ha. Seriously. That probably sounds silly to some - but Wayne really has always said that saying to me and I really have always struggled to understand it. Inwardly I would think, but you don’t “need” me. This morning I had a thought though- an epiphany - that what I offer is not “who I am.” And what if, instead of always feeling like I have so much to work on to be a better person for him and for the world - that I believed I offer a lot by who I am, weaknesses and all? That I believed the people in my life love me, not in-spite of who I am, but because of it. That being introverted, emotional, sometimes quiet, sensitive, and sometimes overbearing - is a gift to others. WHAT?? Haha… and what if….
I wasn’t so afraid of being forgiven when I did something rude, hurtful or out of line? That my friends will understand if sometimes, I talk to much and don’t listen enough, get offended by something I shouldn’t or lose my cool? Thank you friends, for the countless time you have done that for me, and I’m sorry for not believing you would.
I wrote in my journal this morning, “Does not self-confidence breed acceptance” and I realized immediately that that is the opposite of what I’m trying to learn. “Shall not self-acceptance breed confidence - and how others respond to me not reflect on who I am.” They say loving yourself shows others how to love you but I hope I can learn to love myself and not worry about whether others love me or not.
So, with that, I realize that I have SO MUCH to learn about love still. But I am so glad there is a thing so vast - that I can take a whole lifetime to get deeper into.
Help me Father, to love myself where I’m at and teach me about love more!