A fragment from my first diary dating from my teenage years:
“I visited my old school today, looking for some people I know. I spoke to some old classmates and my old gym teacher. He is a young guy, not much older than me and he always seemed interested in me in a way that a teacher really shouldn’t be interested in a student. Even though he never actually did anything to back that idea up. Whatever I wanted to do in class is what we would do. It was never a crush but we sure did like to send each other some subtle signals.
When we talked to each other today he made some compliments and I felt flattered, happy and sad at the same time. When I arrived at my boyfriends’ later today, I thought about this feeling… I think that every woman or girl has a need for a little flattering. I get a lot of compliments from my boyfriend, but it does feel different. I think we all kind of want to feel wanted. Not just from our boyfriends or husbands, not because their compliments are not good enough, but because they already “have” you.
At night we went out to dinner with my boyfriends’ parents. They were drinking quite a few glasses of wine and everybody was having a great time. I’ve always felt at home in their house and was welcomed warmly from the start. For the first time in my life I am somewhere where they consider me family and don’t look at me with distrust or negativity.
The highlight of my evening was when my mother-in-law told me that she was delighted that I wanted to be part of their family. That she was happy that her son found such a nice girl and that she considered me family already.
Because I am not used to hearing things like this, my first thought when she stopped talking was:
“She’s probably saying that because she had too much to drink”.
My second thought was: “Drunk people tell the truth”.
I don’t have any true friends, people often have their own selfish reasons in wanting to be friends with me and at home I often don’t feel appreciated.
For me the straightforwardness of my mother-in-law was a beautiful gesture; a gesture of acceptance of who I AM. Later that night we drove home on a scooter, it was raining cats and dogs and I was soaking wet, but extremely happy. I had the feeling of acceptance, worthiness and perhaps also the sense of being wanted, that I longed for so bad”.
Today, when I read this story after so many years, I read about a girl that did not feel loved and accepted. I was looking for love in the compliments of others and even flirtatious approaches of men. I have seen this happen in my life more than once and in all fairness maybe I still act this way at times. Let’s make that a topic worth investigating further on this journey to self-love.
At the same time, I was desperately looking for the love of a mother and a –father figure. Something that I was missing in my own family relations at the time because there was so much going on; a father with health problems, a brother that was not happy in his own skin (as would become clear later in her life), and a mother that despite of all of that, had to run a family while her teenage daughter asked so much of her during this impossible moment.
On my path to true self-love, I’m healing these parts, so that love and acceptance come from within and it won’t be necessary to receive this from anyone outside of myself.
A moment of reflection, I don’t share my sometimes embarrassing past with you only for your sheer entertainment. I want you to think about some things in your own life. However, embarrassing or confronting they might seem.
Do YOU notice when you show behavior that indicates you are looking for love and acceptance of others, instead of finding love and acceptance purely from within you and for you? In which situation(s) did that occur?
Photo by: Alexis Brown
Story by: Bo Merkx