Isn’t it great to be showered with unwavering care and love, to have someone who would always love us for who we are, putting our needs above everything else even if we were to be a complete douche bag at times?
I know I’d love to have that.
While you would probably want to shove a certain finger in my face for selfishly loving the feeling of being loved unconditionally by someone, don’t we all want it?
To feel like we’re someone’s everything.
I remember the last time I saw a couple being all lovey-dovey on screen, or worse, right in front of me in a packed train. Basically, I’m mostly envious whenever I see love but I’m not part of it.
I want to be loved like that, too. I want to feel like I’m top of the world, too.
Being loved is a great feeling. But loving is not always a great feeling – why? This goes way back.
Our caregivers – parents or guardians – shower us with love. They love us for who we are, even if we are a mess and don’t show any appreciativeness at all.
Talking back during our most rebellious years just for the sake of talking back despite knowing very well we’re in the wrong. Taking our caregivers for granted, looking at their love for us being an obligation. Always complaining how others don’t understand how we feel when we are the ones putting our needs above everyone else’s at every chance we got. Regardless how unreasonable we were – or still are – these people never stopped loving us.
Our caregivers and/or parents taught us how to be loved, which by the way, is not easy for those who were unfortunate not to experience love in their childhood years.
But not many of our caregivers actually taught us how to love others and that is probably why it’s so hard for us to give love first.
Being loved means we get everything; loving means we give everything. And apparently, giving might not necessarily make everyone feel good because humans are inherently selfish. We seldom think twice when receiving anything but we ponder for eternity when it’s our turn to give back.
Why would we want to give first if we have always been on the receiving end? Besides, we know very well how people don’t usually reciprocate anyway.
The matter of the fact is, though, if we want any chance at succeeding in any sort of relationships with friends, colleagues or a (potential) significant other, we need to learn to love first. We need to recognise everyone as being selfish like us, if not more, so the only way to receive any love at all from anyone else other than those “obliged” to love us, is to give first.
And even then, we should not have any expectations of actually having our love reciprocated. Having expectations just set us up for disappointment. That’s also how certain people come to believe relationships with other humans are impossible.
The first and most important requirement of giving love is the acceptance of no reciprocation at all.
It is going to be tough – recognising someone as being more important than ourselves is in itself a huge paradox to how we are wired. Every one of us is born to protect ourselves, specifically from anything potentially life-threatening. But putting someone else first is not life-threatening. The very concept of giving love first, though, is indeed potentially hurtful to oneself.
Nevertheless, we all can learn how to love but only if we are willing to try.
The first step is showing empathy towards others and forget our own needs for the moment. It will be tough initially but the ability to show empathy is like any other muscle – it gets stronger the more it is exercised.
Undoubtedly, we will get hurt because not everyone will appreciate our empathy and we have to accept that too. Love is not always welcome by all who receive it – being loved must be learned too. Remember, not everyone is fortunate to have experienced love since young. Empathy will allow us to understand that fact.
However so, the few who accept and reciprocate our love will be worth it. For every ten expressions of empathy, all we need is for one to open their closed doors for us to enter. Upon entrance, we can slowly work our way to convincing him or her of our worthiness to return the favour of our love.
This is how we can love – and be loved.