Friday, December 10, 2010

What makes you feel loved? Besides gifts of cash and comments about your smokin' hot body?

I was having a conversation with a friend and I found myself trying to explain the difference between "knowing" I am loved (like..."I know my therapist loves me because she doesn't cancel my sessions and only occasionally suggests that I might try coming only once per week and see how it goes") and "feeling" loved ("You know I can sometimes have a potty-mouth and use more toilet paper than anyone you have ever known or heard of, but you still love me").

It got me thinking. The differences aren't simply shades of intellectual understanding. I can actually pin-point behaviors and actions that, when someone points them in my direction, make me FEEL loved. This is mostly g-rated, so please don't treat this as an exhaustive list:

Some things that make me feel loved:

-Having some of my "responsibilities" lifted off my sore shoulders and taken care of for me. Stuff like, "No, no, no...STOP RIGHT THERE...drop that sponge and remove yourself from this kitchen IMMEDIATELY. And get the hell out of here and take this glass of Muscato wine with you! Acutally, take the bottle! And when I come in the studio to check on you, half that bottle better be gone, young lady!" That's just an example, of course.

-Back/neck rubs. I have a lot of discomfort and carry tension there. I'm a 33-year-old woman with one of those ugly blue heating pads lying around my house like old people have. This is serious. I'm contemplating the purchase of Epsom Salts.

-When someone says, "This reminded me of you," especially when it's something I didn't know anyone else knew I liked/would appreciate. A beautiful diamond necklace. Anything from the "Victorian Trading Co." catalog, especially that one thing on page 10. The entire season of The Office on DVD. A case of that nectar of the gods, Peppermint Mocha Coffee Mate creamer.That kind of thing.
-Compliments. Stuff like, "You're the hottest woman in the whole world" or "I'm aghast at the sheer genius of your deep, pentrating and fucking-awesome prose." You know...simple, sincere stuff, from the heart. (o.k. I guess it's not totally a g-rated list...sorry)
-Little reminders someone is thinking about me...a simple text, an email, link to a special song on youtube, notes, large cash gifts, etc.
-Surprises. Not like a surprise party! I don't like those. In fact, I might run out crying if you try to give me one. But a pre-planned evening that I don't know about, a surprise trip, a gift I don't know about or a dress picked out with me in mind (maybe at, say...Black and White Market...if anyone wants to know).
But know what all that means to me?

-The other person wants to know me and when they find something new about me, they mirror it back to me verbally (feeling SEEN).
-The other person knows all of me, including my mistakes, and they look past them to the real me they know me to be (in practice: they don't define me by my mistakes)

-They "rush toward me," leaving the "half-way point" way behind, even when I am in so much pain that all I can do is curl up in a ball. They "come and get me."

-They delight in my personal growth. They don't freak out when I change. They want for me to be an authentic person MORE than they want me to make them feel a certain way or agree with them.

-When I am in pain or experiencing some other strong emotion, the other person is visibly "moved" and can't help but respond and/or take action. This means I don't feel like my feelings (pain, passion, sadness, joy, etc.) happen in a vacuum. I am SEEN, and because I am SEEN, the other is MOVED. And they make sure I know it.
So how about you? What makes you feel loved?


Lorna said...

After maybe your 4th tweet about this post today I finally clicked through, and I'm glad I did! I relate to most of the same things that make you feel loved. I also think these describe a lot of the ways I *show* love (well, except for the cleaning your kitchen part). One thing I love to do is give people things that remind me of them when I see them, or know they are interested in them. Thanks for the reminder. Lorna

Cheryl Ensom Dack said...

Thanks for visiting, Lorna. I like giving gifts like that, too. :)

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