“Give everything. Expect nothing.”
This statement is beautiful in the same way it was beautiful that my brother’s childhood dream was to travel back in time to kill large dinosaurs for their meat and feed all the hungry people in the world for free. It’s sweet. It would be lovely. It comes from a kind heart. But it is impossible.
Until about four months ago, I thought it was possible. I thought I was the special snowflake who could transcend humanity and be able to love without needing or expecting anything. Something changed and I finally saw why it’s pure naïveté and in some ways an act of hubris to even dream of being able to achieve that.
But Armelle, you were giving past your limits!
Yeah. I was subconsciously dissatisfied so I didn’t stop pushing myself.
I cannot show love completely and endlessly, despite my deep-rooted wishes that I could. You cannot either.
If you put effort into something, you will psychologically expect something back. It may not be an equal and opposite reaction, but your brain will look for a response. You will want gratitude, recognition, or even just an internal sense of validation. If no one says anything about your gift, you will either choose to self-congratulate or doubt you gave anything of worth at all.
You deny that you want anything back because you feel undeserving of reciprocation. Your friends get frustrated with these displays with low self-esteem, but are subconsciously trained (by you!) to not put a lot of effort into your friendship. You assume your martyrdom will be rewarding in and of itself, but find yourself crying alone and to those same friends about feeling unloved. You then hate yourself for feeling unloved when you’re such a beautiful fountain of love for other people, etc etc.
Please read the following statements out loud:
“I am a human being with innate feelings, desires, and needs. I have limitations, even in the areas I am most passionate about. By accepting the love of others, I will give them chances to feel the same joy I feel when I love someone else. I am not an indestructible robot-shaman of perfect love.”
Please do yourself and everyone who loves you a favor and don’t set yourself up to beat yourself up over your good intentions.
My personal 6
Henson keys to being a loving person in a healthy way:
- Know yourself, your specific limitations, and your specific needs
- Take care of yourself, respect your specific limitations, and intentionally strive to fulfill your specific needs
- Be open to the similarities and differences of others
- Be vulnerable with yourself
- Be vulnerable with others
- Never stop learning about humanity, including your own
I don’t have to “give everything”. I’m naturally loving as it is. I am enough and I do not have to martyr myself in the name of altruism to give something to every person I come across. Don’t get caught in that cycle, ladies & gents. If you won’t take my word for it, take Ru’s.
Can I get an amen?