I look in the mirror most days, and frankly, I don’t like what I see. Feel free to call me shallow because I’m not focusing on my “inner beauty”, but I’ve never felt comfortable in any realm that exists where someone can look at me and think, “That’s a good looking guy right there.” I just don’t see it and never have. At best, I get excited when taking a picture where I don’t look “half-bad.”
Well, we all carry insecurities, everyone one of us, don’t we? Whether we flaunt them or hide them, we try our best to distract people from seeing them. Some people are good at hiding them in plain sight. I’m not one of those people. So here I am, looking at this aging face in front of me. Imperfect skin, imperfect teeth and a perfectly round belly. Any hint of good looks that may have existed in my youth are now hidden behind a weary face, full of odd spots and lines. I look at what I see and feel utterly unlovable.
Have you felt it too?
Then, there are those days, when I AM alone with my thoughts, and I begin to consider my “inner beauty.” On those days, I feel even less loveable. Most of us have these thoughts and personal demons we wrestle with that will never be revealed, even unto death. We all have those thoughts that would make people gasp and never look at us the same way again. This is why we’re so surprised when someone who has an obvious outer beauty about them, takes their life or harms themselves in some way. We see beauty and think, “The world must be their oyster!” We envy them to some degree, wishing we could be skinnier, taller, have squarer jawlines or reasonably sized necks. (Forgive me for being honest about myself). We can’t image them struggling with some kind of inner turmoil. We can’t believe that they don’t have something internally beautiful that equals their looks. I guess even the lovely looking people feel unlovable. Life is funny that way.
I know people will object to some of my thoughts here, talk about their independence, self-love, and whatever else you want to tell people about how, “You don’t need anybody but yourself!” I certainly can’t prove it untrue. But, I’ve been around enough people who wear masks(first in line), including masks of “independence” and “self-love”, to know everyone has a desire to be loved and thought of as loveable by someone else. We want someone to see something about us that makes us huggable and kissable. We want people to send us notes and hold our hands and lean on us, and I mean literally lean on us, like on a couch, watching a movie. We want someone to invest in us for no other reason than because it’s us, the real us. The sometimes, broken, sad, not having it all together, us.
Once that aspect of us, the broken us-the falling apart us-the “yes, I do have fear” us-rears its ugly head, we are going beyond the reciprocal surface relationship of, “you treat me well and I’ll treat you well.” We are going beyond the, “you love me and I’ll love you back.” Once that happens, everything shifts, because the imperfect part of us is making itself known. I know none of us think we are “perfect”, but we all hide the worst of our crap away most of the time. Then it comes out, as it always, eventually happens. When it does, look out! If you reading this and you’re shaking your head “no” the whole time? Well, I’m only going to believe it twice as much for you. I’m kind of a jerk that way.
Here’s the crux of the meanderings of my mind today. In light of all these things, it is a blessing to have someone love us when we are unlovable. Doubly true, when we are honest about how often we really do feel unlovable. It is a gift for someone to know us-the real us-the us that does not love well and is full of flaws and still be loved by someone. When someone loves you with that kind of love, it’s hard to accept personally, because you know your flaws so intimately, inside and out. It’s easy to believe someone loves us in a “give and take” fashion, but to love us when we sometimes feel completely devoid of good feelings, thoughts and actions? Who does that? Most turn tail and run nowadays. That’s my experience many times from the desk that sits five feet away from a Divorce Judge’s bench.
To be honest and real? We are full of flaws. A mess of emotional baggage gathered from a lifetime of experiences. If we have been hurt by anyone and we all have, we also have to be honest and recognize the other “bullet hole” in our foot is self-inflicted. That is to say, there are a variety of reasons we are “a mess.” For whatever reason, we all find surprise and amazement, even if only quietly to ourselves, when someone loves us. Yes, to be loved by someone despite ourselves is something incredibly special. It doesn’t necessarily make all the ugliness you feel wash away. It may actually make you more acutely away of your condition, which in turn makes the unconditional love shown to you all the more amazing.
When someone loves you like that, with all your flaws intact, they are loving you like you have no flaws. They are loving you like the flaws have been washed away. They are loving you like they took the most luxurious and expensive robe and draped it over you. They are loving you like you are the most deserving person in the world of it, even if you’re not. They are not loving you because you’ve done anything great to earn it, but are giving it to you like someone who needs to be loved desperately, purely and unconditionally. We all need someone to love us like that. To love us desperately, unconditionally, flaws and all.
I need it.
and Someone does…