Is love like a muscle? When we don’t use it, does it weaken? Do we lose the ability to love and be loved in return?
This thought struck me over the holidays. I had gone to stay with my mother’s parents for a nice long visit since my family doesn’t really have a “home base” anymore. On Christmas Eve, a particularly challenging day for me, I found myself in the comfort of my grandma’s loving arms and I felt like I was in a foreign place.
What made this so strange? Since losing my mom, have I forgotten what nurturing love feels like? I realize that no one’s love can replace the love she had for me, but how do I deal with that reality?
Last year I wrote a blog about strength and now I sit here and question if this strength has now become a stumbling block for my life. Has it prevented me from feeling love in other areas of my life beyond that nurturing parental love? Or has the lack of the love I most desire forced me to build up my strength as a defense mechanism? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.
That night at my grandma’s house, when her love seemed so strange to me, it brought on another feeling. Relief. For someone who wants to be strong, I have to admit that I will gladly welcome the moment when I can give my pillar of strength persona a break. Let’s face it, it feels good to be loved.
What about fear? The fear of becoming accustomed to that relief, just to have it disappear. Abandoned. I sometimes worry that these fears have caused me to make quick decisions in order to preserve my sense of strength. There have been times when others have gotten too close and I didn’t just back away slowly, I sprinted. I might have been preserved, but the others were left to deal with the results of my reckless and hasty decisions. The damage these decisions cause can be extensive and leave you to wonder if relationships can ever be restored or if you cost yourself a future.
Part of loving others and letting them love you is denying a portion of yourself. I will admit I believe my strength has made me selfish. I cling to this selfish strength in order to maintain my balance in life. However, thinking about it now, how balanced is a selfish lifestyle?
I doubt I’m the only one with this issue. We all have our own stumbling blocks when it comes to connecting with and loving others. But my question is, are you ok with this? I know it is difficult to change and you often can’t do it alone. I encourage you to take that first step, have that conversation with yourself or someone close to you! Remember, stumbling blocks won’t move on their own.