Friday, March 4, 2011

How to be loved...

Lately, I have been working on loving others. But yesterday, something occurred to me. I could also use some work on learning to be loved.
It comes along with the “victim” mentality I think, that ability to learn not to be loved.

My first real dating relationship was misery. I went in expecting love, and to be loved. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except, he was not ready to love. He was manipulative and pushy, and I knew the red flags were there. But, he liked me, and I liked having a boyfriend. I liked that he told me I was beautiful, never mind if he used that to manipulate me. I needed to be told I was beautiful, and for the moment he filled the void.

And through this, I learned that to be loved, I had to perform. The constant threats of suicide if I didn’t do what he asked, the constant threats that he would leave me, the constant ridiculous sick requests that I would comply with – why – out of fear. Fear of being unloved. Never mind you that my parents loved me like crazy. Never mind you that I had heard all my life that God loved me. It wasn’t enough, I needed his love. And it eventually led to date rape, the ultimate violation, where I learned that not only did I have to constantly reciprocate to receive what I saw as love, but that being loved meant being hurt.

So…to me…being loved is difficult.

It is difficult for me to accept a compliment as genuine. In the past, if you complimented me, I believed one of two things. That I didn’t deserve your genuine compliment, and I must instantly reciprocate so that I can maintain my shame. Or that you are completely in-genuine in what you say, and I need to keep you at a distance to protect myself.

You can imagine the disasters this can create in a relationship. My natural tendencies would be to either smother you with reciprocation because I believe that I am not worthy of anything you say about me. I have to give it back to you. Or…I am completely fake and tend not to believe a word you say – thus maintaining the protective wall.

Counseling has helped me with these tendencies. But, my natural pattern, the pattern I revert to when I am stressed, goes back to the above.

I guess that’s what I find so amazing about Jesus. He requires that I learn to be loved. He reminds me that there is no way I could ever deserve or earn an ounce of his love. I am not worthy of it, and even if I smother him with praise, I still am not worthy. Only through Christ, only through learning to accept Christ’s love, to be loved, can I be made worthy. Learning to be loved…a step on the journey.


  1. I think so many of us (unfortunately) will be able to identify with your words. My relationship with my ex husband began because I was desperate to be loved. I compromised who I was and who I wanted to be for that relationship. I, too, knew God loved me (but it was head knowledge not heart knowledge) but I still thought I need someone to fill a void. My mom had just died and I just wanted the hurt to go away.
    Everyday with Jesus a journey. And everyday I am learning that I can trust Him without my heart. He never expects/wants me to be somebody I am not!
    Beautiful post. And thank you for making me thankful all over again!

  2. Stephanie, I'm so sorry this happened to you. There is a lot of ugly in this world and when it works its way in, like with your story, it can be so devastating. You are so brave to share your story, and praise God you're learning, healing and being loved.

    I know a 16 year old girl who had a boy that threatened suicide if she withheld sex. It's so sad and sick that someone would be so manipulative.


  3. We are all on our own learning path to learn to love, to learn to give, even to learn to receive. I think anybody who thinks or does not have the comprehension that everyday is a gift and a day to praise, to teach and to learn is has not grown enough to understand what life is about.
    Life throws us woes and even in the darkest hour if you have Jesus in your heart then there is something there to worth shining forward for. God love you. HE LOVES YOU! You are special and it is my prayer that you learn the meaning of that. It's because of who you are inside and that he picked you. And I am greatful for that because even if I don't post, I read your blog and it helps me to understand my own life more, to be more thankful, to love others more.
    God loves you and you are special.
    I am overwhelmed when I think how that makes me feel. When I get up in the morning I praise God for my day. I ask him to help me learn, teach, and be the best example I can (though I am not always). I am overwhelmed that he picked me, that he gave me enough knowledge to know I am loved and in my darkest hour I am thankful because he loves me.
    HE LOVES YOU! What a great feeling! Say it to yourself everyday because you are giving affirmation to what you know in your heart is true.

  4. Hi Stephanie, my first boyfriend was so cruel to me, we dated 17-22. Off and on he would leave me but kept me on a string n used me. He never had anything nice to say n i just took it. I too just wanted to be with someone. I didnt get much love at home. Its daughting that i read this post today. After 12 years since the last time I saw him i ran into him and God has done such miracles in my life but all the horrible feelings came back, its as if i am 17 again. I dont understand.
    Thank You for ur openess Jo

  5. First of all, thank all of you for the wonderful, sweet encouraging comments :)

    And, Jo, sometimes it's nice to know are reactions are "normal". Rexperiencing those feelings was such a normal reactions when you saw him. That was a huge "trigger". The important thing is that you do not shame yourself for re-experiencing feelings and emotions like that. They are a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances. And I am so glad to hear that God has done such amazing miracles in your life, keep your focus on that! What satan intended for harm, God will use for good!!!

  6. Hi Eileen, I can so relate to what you said about your ex and why you were with him. Although my mom didn't pass away she was abusive and I chose my ex hoping he would love me because I so needed that from a person. Unfortunately he was also abusive and as a result I was beaten (mentally emotionally) instead of loved and treasured as I had hoped. It took me a while to realize only Jesus could give me the love I needed and craved. And now I'm on the road to healing I will post my web site soon if anyone is interested.


  7. Deb,
    So glad you are on the road to healing. God leads each of us there in His own perfect timing. I look forward to getting to know you more as you walk the journey. It's a tough one, but SO worth it. He loves you so much girl, crazy love, love that is for YOU!!!!