The phrase just jumped out at me. I was reading a blog on the Lisaescott.com website yesterday afternoon and I saw the line and realised it was for me. I totally believe, at some fundamental level, that love is something earned, not something just given. And. Holy fuck. I have just spent 47 years believing this and never actually realised that before. Although I only believe it when it comes to me - I believe that I have to earn love. I give it away freely. But I believe I have to work to earn it. Like I can only receive love in exchange for something.
I guess it's what they call a FOO issue - a Family Of Origin problem. My Narcissistic mother would have taught me somehow that love is handed out under certain conditions and those criteria need meeting before 'love' is given. Or something.
I'm trying to think through how that relates to how hard I seem to be working to win the love of the various boys I'm chatting to. I've thought about that part before - I'm thinking so hard about how they need me to be for them, that I don't often ask myself whether I actually want them to be with me. Whether they are, in fact, making me feel the way I want to feel. I think I may very well be chasing that elusive and conditional love thing and constantly trying to figure out what that might be.
Which is why my Bush Man experience came as such as surprise to me the other day. He just wanted me. I didn't do anything to try to 'reel him in' He was there. And he just really enjoyed me for who I was in that moment. He wasn't gushy and effusive. Or swaggery. I DIDN'T WORK HARD. He came to me. I loved it.
Is that the recipe?
I read SUCH an interesting article via Facebook the other day - the New York Times - To Fall in Love with Anyone Do This. Wow! Read the full article, AND the links to the questions. Simply put, scientists have been able to make people fall in love in a laboratory (some even GOT MARRIED), by simply putting them through a series of 36 questions they ask and answer for each other. The questions are designed to deepen intimacy and reveal vulnerable thoughts and feelings. Then at the end of the questions the couple is to stare deeply into each others' eyes for 4 minutes. That's it. Questions plus staring!
I am a person who wades into those intimate conversations quickly and fearlessly with everyone. I have been very successful in Sales over the years because I quickly build a connected rapport with the people I meet. I know they feel I 'get them' really fast. I think it's my superpower. But now that I come to think of it, a lot of it is about me raising the intimacy bar fast - I ask them similar questions about themselves. I respond with intimate revelations of my own. We soon connect in a way that makes us feel like partners on a journey rather than supplier and client. And many people in my team follow a similar course - we create intimacy with our clients.
So I'm good at that. But it can have a dysfunctional layer too. In 'dating' contexts, I'm out there, sharing myself freely. Opening myself up to whoever I'm with. This makes me Narc fodder. They LOVE being with people like me - who work our asses off for the scraps of love we're handed in return. Very little makes us happy - we have to earn it after all!
Couple that with the fact that I somehow feel the need to 'earn' the love I'm going to hopefully get, and I'm a complete maniacal love giving machine. I guess I could be coming on much too strong for many people's tastes. I've definitely seen Berlin, Mark and Stellenbosch Boy back off when I suddenly get too open - they are unable to naturally respond with reciprocal intimacy. I find that quite hurtful actually... I put myself out there, in a vulnerable way, and experience a pulling away, a rejection, in return. I feel a bit lost after one of those - I try to rationalise that it was me - I was too much. I need to tone myself down a bit. I need to be less of me. But that's crap, isn't it. I mean, really, surely I should be allowed to just be me and loved for that. Those who can't should really move on, or I should move on.
I should move on. But I don't. I'm still hoping one of them will step in and love me, I guess. Which is probably a magical thinking fantasy that isn't going to happen.
So then? Be open to possibilities for now, I guess.
And keep holding myself safe through it all.