I didn’t realize until recently how wrong I have been about love.

While I knew love was supposed to be unconditional, and there is a whole passage in the Bible about how love is patient, kind, it is not easily angered, nor keeps record of wrongs and many other things…

That isn’t what I really believed in for me.  For someone to love me, I had to earn it, not just once, but continuously. I believed that I wasn’t good enough to accepted for who I am.  No one would love me for me.  After a while, if I wasn’t the perfect friend, then they would either yell at me, ignore me (until I behaved again) or just disappear.

After all, that’s just my life.

Yes, I would have told anyone else this was an unacceptable point of view.  Yes, I would have told someone else that they should not allow people to treat them like this.  But for me, this was acceptable, and I know it is for others.  So I hope some of the issues from my past help others.

Why Am I Not Lovable?

Miranda the Tempest by John William Waterhouse

Miranda the Tempest by John William Waterhouse

Sadly one of my first memories is that something is wrong with me.

I don’t remember a time that I believed anyone would love me just for being me.

I learned that we don’t talk to this relative or that relative anymore. They did things, or didn’t do things, and we no longer like them. It was easy to see who the favorites were or weren’t.   My brother and I weren’t Granny’s favorites, and my cousin made certain we knew it and that she was.

On the side of the family, my grandfather married soon after my grandmother died.  The woman my grandfather married didn’t like anything to do with my grandmother, which included my parents and my brother and I.  She threw away my grandmother’s things.

Doing something bad would mean getting yelled at then being ignored.  Good grades mean possibly a book, or ice cream or some time with the parents. If I wasn’t good enough then that activity would be taken away.

In school I was regularly told I was weird, dressed like a boy, nerdy and weird. If I dressed more girly guys would like me.  If I wasn’t so shy maybe people would like me. If I weren’t such a goody two shoes maybe I’d get invited to a party. If I did this or that… maybe people would like me.

Looking for Love in the Wrong Places

And as a young adult, I filled my life with people who reinforced these ideas that I would be abandoned, rejected or ignored because I didn’t do things as others wanted. Being me, or not doing what they wanted would mean punishment in some form or fashion.

Work would switch my day off last minute, or cut my clients.  The ex-husband would ignore me.

An earlier post was Confession 3: I am mad at God.  I had been a youth minister.  I was trying to turn my life around.  I was seeking God.  I was divorced, quit a job I loved because I could no longer take the abuse the boss dished out.  And I thought I could make a difference in the world, yet I learned the church didn’t want people like me.

So I accepted this.  No one, not even God would love me for who I am.  I allowed people to push me and force me to do more and more for them so they would “keep loving me.” But I was starting to run empty.  I couldn’t keep giving to everyone.  My bank account was gone.  My heart was worn out.  My energy was being sucked out of me.

The turning point came the week my grandmother died.  My “best friend” insisted that I needed to help her with her children and when her children left for the week.   Since I told her my grandmother died and my family needed help more I was being selfish so she ignored me for long enough that I realized how little she actually loved me.

And a few months later I broke up with my boyfriend and a few other friends because I realized they only loved me if I did what they wanted or said.  I was the one who compromised my time, which restaurant we’d go to, when we went out (or didn’t). And I realized compromise is supposed to be by both parties and doesn’t withhold love or attention to get their way.

Lesson Learned:

Love is not something that will be taken away just because.  Love is not something you can earn.  Love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.   1 Corinthians 13 4-7