I was thinking about how we can only love someone as much as they will let us. Even if you love someone with all of your being, if they are not able or willing to accept that, then that will cause hurt. I think that knowing how much someone is able to be loved at any given time and moderating my love accordingly could be the ideal situation. Only love is not math.
The first time I felt love in a romantic way I was nineteen. Retrospectively, I could call it all sorts of other things. One of those was the need for endorsement. Up until that point, I had never been in a relationship. The feelings were new, I didn’t know if I could be loved by anyone else. So it was exciting, that another individual on this planet, one with whom I had no familial connection, loved me.
I guess at the time I considered the relationship exciting. But as time went on, I considered it much less so. I ascertained fairly quickly that the person I was with was not kind, but nowhere in my skill set had I ever learnt that I was allowed to leave. Part of me had decided that if you loved someone, you stayed with them. Leaving meant confusion and upset, and as I had yet to have any experience of that, I continued with a relationship that was ultimately quite destructive.
At the time my need level was high. It was less to do with anyone else, and more about me. I was feeling sort of broken after a most interesting secondary school adventure and was looking for someone to fix me, without realising that fixing me, was very much my own task. Being with someone else just because I felt low, and they gave me a temporary high, is not a good method for overcoming years of having low self-esteem. In fact, it is a woefully poor choice.
Over the years I have come up with several definitions for what I have considered love to be, and I still don’t feel it is something that I could feel definitive on. Love grows. But this is my current understanding. The love we feel is all the same love. It varies in intensity from person to person, but it is the same feeling. Sometimes that feeling is tempered with familiarity, idolatry, need, and likely a thousand other things too. The way that I used to think about love, was mostly how I felt it for other people. It took me a long time to realise, that this is the expression of love. I needed to start with me.
Map Point. How much will I allow myself to be loved?