Right Down To It

Random Tuesday evening, and I am sitting here in my local coffee shop, and the deep corners of my thoughts seem to speak louder than usual, so I thought it was time we had one of those "let's get right down to it” conversations. 

So here goes......Am I really loved?

I could pick a hundred other topics to write on, but it's this thing…this needing to feel love deep in your bones...that everything else seems to revolve around. And today, it is what rattles in my head the loudest.

No matter what situation has come up this week, somewhere inside, has been the need to know you are loved. The grocery store line where the lady had tears in her eyes watching another couple, the people fighting in the car next to me at the stoplight, the lady at the restaurant who, after I commented how I loved her purple hair, remarked how bad she needed to hear that, the homeless man here in the coffee shop, and yes...even in my own living room it creeps in. And before my friends who read this wonder if I have finally lost my mind, or if I suddenly forgot they exist, I am blessed to have many people around me who love me, yet that thought still creeps in, and I am going to wander out on the limb of vulnerability and assume I am not the only one finding this thought rolling through.

In my short 40 years of human observation, the one thing I have seen that humans seek more than any other thing is feeling loved.


I am sure a few might ask what about the importance of seeking things such as a well-paying job, money, fame, or even the basics of food on the table? To me, it seems if love and compassion are truly present, needs are met...and yes, even food on the table. And even our desires for things like fame or success often tie back to that love thing.

So what about food, isn't it a little hard to just love bread onto the table? Of course I am not saying that love alone will feed you, but I have a few friends who have lived in what we would consider third world situations, and I have always heard stories of how they were still able to feed everyone a basic meal. Not a four-course meal, but the basics, simply because villages work together, looking out for one another, and they share whatever they have. Call it engaged no-strings-attached love.

Money? Well not saying we can totally operate without that either, but at the core it seems, in our American culture at least, that the incessant quest for more and more of the green stuff often goes back to some unfulfilled need to prove our value. Deciding who deserves the most love has been simplified for us into dollar signs and somewhere money becomes a pacifier for filling that empty love space in our hearts. A few years ago I realized that the constant need to have new stuff seemed to take more and more trips to fill. I had racked up many a credit card filling that space inside, but it never worked for long. However, the credit card companies sure "loved" me. Ultimately, it was after a vacation where I was totally content in my heart, that I realized the urge to shop was not as strong when I was content. As I thought about that more, I realized that something was not right deep inside.  Being honest, I was stuck in a relationship that instead of fostering growth was taking a toll on my heart and shopping was never going to be a permanent fill, yet we continue to try and find ways to fill this sense of not feeling good enough or loved. No assumptions that you will resonate with my story, but money is a pacifier for many and our credit card addiction as a nation would testify to that. 

So in my head, I still come back to the need to be loved. Deeply loved.

I'm in a new relationship, and at times, it is a battle in this head of mine not to define some of (or on other days - copious amounts of) my self-worth by the actions of this one person. I also just moved out of state and finding friends is taking a while. And don't even get me started on the scars divorce leaves, even if it was mutually agreed upon. Add to that the death of two people very close to me in the past year, and yeah, looking for that affirmation. Am I really loved?? 

Don't get me wrong, I am not seeking pity, but if you and I were to sit down and get right down to it, we all have these scars that leave us wondering if we are really loved.

The trick is that we often spend hours looking for that need to be filled from outside sources.  In our search, society has brilliantly conditioned us overtime to think that money, fame, status, physical attractiveness, and even the number of likes we get on a social media post are all excellent ways to evaluate love and our value. Honestly, sometimes it feels like there is almost no way to retract my belief in this system. Isn’t that just the way it works, and what's wrong with having money, fame, or looking good? Well, a lot I am finding.

I am not sure of how to totally fix the needing to be loved thing, and as I arrive at the end of this page, doubt dances about in the edges, but I do know there is one thing we can do....live. Boldly. Our value, ultimately and brilliantly, does not and SHOULD NOT arrive from any outside source. We have to first love ourselves so unabashedly that others wonder where the energy comes from. That type of love arrives from living out our unique inner being, leaning into our own gifts, and heeding that calling that says you are meant for more. 

~Heidi Rickard, Creative Director for The Authenticity Project.