Yesterday was my birthday. My 39th birthday, to be exact. The online well wishes began before I woke up. Rather subconsciously, I decided I wouldn’t gloss over the them, like I normally do. I made the decision to not only read every message, but acknowledge them and give genuine thanks and appreciation for the more meaningful ones. They came flooding in. I had to stop reading them mid-morning just so I could get some work done. I looked at the ones I missed after work. It was time-consuming to say the least, but I looked at ALL of them, and wrote back to as many as I could. I forced myself to. (Catch that: I forced myself to. It wasn’t easy for me, nor was it a natural inclination.) I made myself take in the reality of the people around me. It was at this point that I realized how often I don’t allow myself to be loved.
Just a couple days earlier, a friend told me that I avoid confrontation, to which I quickly disagreed. Then, he rather factually pointed out past instances that I removed myself from situations instead of seeking a resolution. My logic was simple: people don’t change. Why bring up a character flaw? Why confront people when the end result will be them leaving anyway? It just made sense to give them emotional distance or end the relationship altogether of my own accord. This is flawed thinking. Of course, people change. I’m changing everyday. It’s silly of me to limit the growth of others because of previous experiences. Fear of feeling that rejection made me preemptively exit situations. I had to be reminded that when someone loves you, they can take being corrected. When someone loves you, they’ll work past an emotionally difficult moment. My issue is I’ve loved plenty who didn’t love me back. It felt easier to live with people at a distance than to be that vulnerable, but that strategy only left me feeling lonely and unlovable.
The only time a person in unlovable is when they don’t allow anyone to love them. We build walls to protect ourselves, and in the process, block out the sunlight. We let past hurt color our perception of present opportunities. We shield ourselves, as though we can prevent being hurt again. We can’t. It will eventually happen, no matter what we do, but doesn’t it make sense to fill the time in between with meaningful moments with people who actually love you? People who see you for the amazing wonder you are? These people exist. These people exist around you right now. You just have to be willing to see them. You have to open to receiving them. You have to be vulnerable enough to let them accept you as you are, with no facades or pretense. You have to allow it. You have to allow love to happen to have it in your life.