Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day.

There was a time in my life when I thought I knew what love was.  I grew up being conditioned to believe that love was all ‘give & take’; that it was a 50/50 thing … trouble is, someone is always giving more, or less, than the other expects; someone’s 50 percent differs from another person’s idea of 50 percent.  Growing up, I believed that love was always weighed on a scale according to deed and cost – and to do that effectively you have to keep record of who did what and when so that it all balances out in the end.  It was actually exhausting.

It wasn’t until I was 26 years old that I learned what a ridiculous model of love this was.  So ridiculous!  How can anyone possibly keep track of who is doing more, or less, loving than their counterpart?

I was 26 years old when I met my husband and also when I met God.  It’s also when I learned what real love was.  It was nothing like I thought it was.  When I read what love was {below} – I was astounded, hurt, heartbroken … yet, enlightened!  Set free from lies I believed.

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The love I grew up with was not this.  The love I grew up with had conditions attached to it.  Love had to be earned – the only thing was – with my mother – there was nothing I could ever do to actually earn it.  It was always out of reach and if I screwed up or displeased her in some way, on came the silent treatment and a definite ‘no love for you.’  I always thought it was my fault that she couldn’t love me.  I believed that I wasn’t good enough – at anything – I wasn’t even good enough at being the me she wanted me to be.  I tried to be who she wanted me to be so she’d love me.  It didn’t work.  Nothing worked.

Growing up, love was not kind or patient.  It dishonoured – by humiliating and degrading.  My mother’s love was self-seeking, she only did love gestures if it fulfilled her or served her  somehow – if she got something in return for it.  She got angry at anything I did that she didn’t like or didn’t approve of – which was almost everything.  And ‘keeping a record of wrongs‘ – this she was amazingly good at!  She seemed to delight in evil – she sure delighted in me being in pain – especially emotional pain.  Truth was of no interest to her.  And she never protected me, although sometimes she’d appear to be so, so as to not appear ‘unloving.’

So, I grew up not knowing what love really was and therefore did not believe I was loveable – at all.  I believed I was just put up with – tolerated.  I  was conditioned to believe I was not only unloveable, but worthless as well – and that thinking went insanely deep.

Not knowing what love is can really mess us up, not only us but also the relationships we’re in.  It was my husband and God who showed me that I was loveable, that I had worth, value!!  However, it still took many years for me to actually wholeheartedly believe it.  When you believe a lie for so long – it seeps to the core and changes who we are, who we could have been. It takes time to undo that.

It took a good many years to tear down those core lies as well as learn to love myself in the same way God loves me.  It’s only recently that I have finally come to where I can say I truly love myself the way God intended.  I now have a love for myself where I am taking better care of myself, where I stick up for myself and where I can truly and freely love others without wondering if they are going to like me or not.  It’s very freeing.

Knowing what real love is is such an amazing blessing – my hope is that this Valentine’s Day, you will find real love, true love – even if it is a healthy love for your own self.  After all, God’s Word says that we are to love our neighbours as we do ourselves (Galatians 5:14) – which I have come to believe that learning to love others maybe, just maybe, begins with loving ourselves first (as in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.)

Love is a verb – its more than mere affection, it is an action word, not an expectation word.  It’s both parties giving to the other person with all they have – 100 percent!!

Choose to love and be loved with all you are!  You are loveable, valuable and so worthy of love!  Every soul is!

~ Saoirse Quill

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