Gloria has struggled with weight all her life. She grew up in a family that ate almost exclusively junk food and meat cooked in lard. She struggled with cystic acne. She was prescribed a medication for acne that damaged her liver. Her hair has always been thin. And due to poor eyesight, she always wore coke bottle glasses. Gloria has never been considered a physically attractive woman. And this, has causes her pain all her life. Gloria has been taught by her family and by society that she will only be loved if she is pretty. Because of this, Gloria has struggled all her life to become physically attractive, so that she can be loved… Loved for what she is not. She got Lasik surgery so she wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore. She worked her ass off to get enough money for a gastric bypass surgery. But as the years went on, she gained most of the weight back. She tried hair growth supplements. She took makeup classes. No matter what she did, she never got the reflection from others that she was actually physically attractive. She never got the reflection that someone loves her for how she looks.
Seth was raised in a culture that sees goodness as sweetness. Over the years, he has learned to act like the good guy and therefore put on a decidedly sweet mannerism. He automatically smiles and is super friendly, says only positive things and uses enthusiastic body language. Seth has learned to be inauthentic to how he is really feeling and what he is really thinking and to who he really is as a person. He believes the only way to be loved is to be sweet. He thinks people will love him for his sweetness. Because he has worked so hard to try to be sweet, Seth thinks he IS sweet. He just thinks he struggles with negativity sometimes. The truth is, Seth has a lot of anger inside. The truth is, he has to suppress what he is really thinking and feeling and wanting in order to act how he has learned he “should” act. The truth is, Seth has a built in BS meter when it comes to other people. He naturally notices what is out of alignment in any given situation. Some people in his life don’t care whether he is being inauthentic. They believe he should continue to work on being sweet because denying and controlling the parts of oneself that are not virtuous, is the purpose of one’s mortal life. Some people, who prefer authenticity don’t like Seth very much because they think he is fake. They can feel what is underneath his sweet persona. Never the less, Seth continues to discipline himself to be sweet.
Gloria and Seth have both fallen into the pattern of trying to be loved for what they are not.
When I say this, pay very close attention to your resistance to this idea. When we have resistance to this idea, we tend to do one of two things. The first thing we might do is to argue against reality or find a way it might not be true. For example, with Gloria’s, we might want to fight against the idea that she is not beautiful. We may want to say things like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “the right person will find her physically attractive.” And with Seth’s, we might think thoughts like “everyone does have a part within them that is super sweet.” Or “just because someone has negative thoughts and emotions, doesn’t make them not sweet!”
The second thing we might do is to fight for the person’s capacity to become what they currently are not. Essentially, we fight on the side of potential, against what currently is. For example, with Gloria, we might feel ourselves wanting to offer advice for how she could actually become physically attractive. Or come up with explanations as to why she has failed so far and what would have made her succeed before at becoming physically attractive. Things like “well… If she had just moved to Africa, where in some places, people do think that fat is physically attractive.” Or “she didn’t even do anything to learn about diet… come on. If she really wants to be attractive, she has to change her lifestyle.” And in Seth’s example, we might say things like “when he deals with all that suppression, he will naturally be a sweeter person.” Or we might start pointing out all the proof that we can find that he is or can be sweet, such as “but you can learn to channel your anger in healthy ways in the right set and setting and in other sets and settings, be super sweet… like you were with your son when he was a baby.”
It makes sense that we go into this resistance because we want people to feel good about themselves and lovable, rather than unlovable and bad about themselves. We also don’t want to let go of our own struggle to be loved for what we are not. The thing is, this resistance in fact keeps people stuck in the pattern of trying to be loved for what they are NOT. We keep them on the rat wheel.
It may be healing and progressive for someone to develop qualities that are not developed within themselves. But not always. Sometimes, the most healing and progressive thing a person can do is to stop trying to develop something within themselves or become something they are currently not. And instead, own and make the most of whatever IS. This is especially the case when what we are wanting is to be loved. And to find a compatible relationship or situation to ourselves.
When we believe that we will never be loved unless we are a certain thing, and as a result, we become stuck in the pattern of trying to be loved for what we are not, we spend so much of our time trying to get people to reflect that we ARE that thing, when the truth is that we aren’t. We try to find people who will see it in us. Or to do things so that we can try to get them to see it in us. We can even slip into denial about ourselves because we feel we couldn’t face the reality, because of what we think it would mean.
By the way… it is important to know that when people say that they want to be loved, they aren’t actually talking about love. They are talking about wanting to be valued, wanted and appreciated.
Spend some time trying to identify what you are trying to be loved (which really means valued, wanted and appreciated) for that seems like an uphill battle. For example, maybe it’s how good you are in bed. Maybe it’s your service orientation. Maybe it’s your knowledge. Maybe it’s how masculine or feminine you are. Maybe it’s your financial prospects. Maybe it’s emotional stability. What is it that you are not, that you are still trying to be loved for being?
Sometimes this uphill battle is because we really are something and we are trying to be valued for being that thing, but we are going to the wrong people for to do that for us. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Value Realization. A Realization that can Completely Change your Self Worth.
But sometimes, we experience this uphill battle because we are trying to be valued, appreciated and wanted for what we are NOT.
For this reason, one of the most powerful things you can do, is to stop. Stop fighting that uphill battle, admit to the reality of what is. Own that reality about yourself and make the most of what is. A big part of this is advertising and offering whatever it is that you truly are. You can compare this to playing with a deck of cards. We might spend our life trying to play our life with cards that are not even in our hands. We may do everything to try to develop those cards as opposed to really looking at the cards we DO have and playing a strong game with those specific cards. But you have to realize that in the game of life, everyone has several very strong cards. It’s not that anyone has all crap cards to play with.
What this would look like in the example of Gloria is that instead of trying to become physically attractive so that someone will value, appreciate and want her for being physically attractive, she accepts that this is not a card she is playing with.
Instead, she looks at what she is. When she does this, she realizes that she is very stable emotionally. She also realizes that she is a very committed person in relationships. She is reliable and present with others. And she is cozy. She can be a safe space for someone because she is a safe space. She doesn’t have to develop those traits. She owns this about herself and because of it, that is the foot she leads with when she meets people. She looks for people who want and need those things and would therefore value and appreciate those things about her. As a result, she will feel “loved” by them.
What that might look like in the example of Seth is that instead of trying to keep sweet so that someone will value, appreciate and want him for being sweet and positive, he accepts that this is not a card he is actually playing with.
Instead, he looks at what is a genuine virtue within him. When he does this, he realizes that he is a very protective person. He is vigilant and leadership comes naturally. He doesn’t have to develop those traits. He owns this about himself and because of it, that is the foot he leads with in social settings. He drops the pretense. He looks for social environments that value those things and will welcome those things about him. As a result, he will feel “loved” by them.
What might be different in your life, if you started playing with the cards you actually have in your hands rather than the ones you don’t have in your hand? What might life look like if you stop beating your head against an iron wall by trying to find your empowerment in something that is not an actual point of power for you and instead, found personal empowerment by figuring out where your actual power lies? Face the fear you have about accepting what you are and what you are not. Discover what it is that you think would happen if you let go of trying to be what you think will cause you to be loved (i.e.: what you are currently not) and instead, owned and advertised and made the most of what you are? When you have your answers, question them.
You may have spent your lifetime fighting an uphill battle for love because you have been desperately trying to be whatever you think will get you loved, when all the while, the feeling of being loved could have been the effortless result of instead, trying to be loved for what you actually already are. Are you tired yet?