Monday, December 12, 2011

Love Never Demands Perfection

My next book of poetry (coming soon), Reflections in Silhouette, is all about the struggle to find, accept, and love one's self in spite of... well, everything life throws at us. It's all about looking deep inside and saying "I don't have to be perfect." It's all about looking at those who demand perfection, even if they don't realize it, and saying "This is what I've got to offer. You don't have to like me. Someone will love me for who I am. Even if no one else does, I love me. And that's a start." It's also about recognizing those in our lives, who really do accept us "as is" and who genuinely think our best is perfect enough. Those people are truly rare.

Whenever someone makes us feel like we need to change to be with them, or we need to "fix" things about ourselves to be acceptable, that person isn't loving us as we are. That person doesn't think our best is enough. Whenever someone doesn't support our growth and our own desires to be our best selves, that person isn't loving us. The person is loving an image he or she has created of us.

Sadly, we do this to ourselves as well. We look at other people and try to makes ourselves what we think they want. We try to fit the image we think they have of us. Everyone loses when we do this. We become inauthentic. Then we build lives and relationships build on deceptions we don't even realize we're committing. When we deceive ourselves into believing someone else knows better who we should be, we deny our own truths. When we deny our own truths, we blind ourselves to the reality we live. When we deny our own truths, we cease to truly live and settle for simply existing.

The scariest thing is that we often deceive ourselves into thinking we're happy when adapt to meet someone else's image of us. We believe that because the other person or persons seem to like us better, perhaps even love us, we are better and therefore happier. This type of inauthentic happiness is actually intoxicating and can become resemble a drug. We become addicted to seeing the look of approval in the other person's eyes, and we may even begin to think that approval is love.

Approval and love are not the same thing. Love accepts us even when we're not perfect. Approval only wants us when we do what's acceptable to the person granting approval. That is a setup for inequality in a relationship. When you take back your power by embracing your true self again, you will find the approval will likely disappear and the love you attributed to the approval will also dissipate.

Being one's self may lead to a lack of approval from others, but if it costs you someone's love, even your own, it wasn't love to begin with. It may have been infatuation or perhaps even genuine concern. But love never demands perfection because love realizes perfection is only a dream.

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