Being Loved For Yourself


“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or more correctly, being loved in spite of yourself.” Victor Hugo

How many of us spend our lives being who we are not? Being who others think we should be? Living up to other people’s expectations of who we should be?  It took me a long time to realize that is who I was – that person everyone else in my life expected me to be. The good daughter … the good wife … the perfect mother .. the exemplary employee … the nurturer, the fixer, the one always there to take care of whatever crisis was at hand ..  and Itty Bitty was, to put it mildly … exhausted and  confused and sad.  I was adored by everyone who’s expectations I so willingly met and at the same time feeling victimized ~ feeling that everyone took advantage of me.  I had no time for me, for what I wanted to do or be.

And then one night, somewhere around 1990, caught in a vortex of demands, I found myself sitting in the corner of our home entry hall, sobbing … A 40-ish year old woman crumpled in the corner feeling sorry for herself.  And that’s when the epiphany finally hit me …

NO ONE WAS DOING IT TO ME, I WAS DOING IT TO MYSELF …

In my quest to be perfect – the ultimate multitasker – I had completely forgotten, or pushed aside, the most important component of all .. ME! And I had forgotten that it was okay to say one very important huge word … NO! …  I started immediately … not to everything, of course, but to things I knew in my heart I really did not have to do – that others were capable of doing or calling on others to do for them.

I stopped letting my parents put me in the middle of their marriage/relationship issues.  They were both equally surprised … but understood eventually.

I stopped trying to do everything for my family and stopped feeling guilty if everything didn’t get done immediately.  If they needed something done that quickly and could do it themselves, they did … the kids whined … the husband grumped … but eventually the realized I was more relaxed and had more time to spend with them.

I started leaving work after 9 hours (who needs to work 10-12 hour days?) – actually delegating tasks to my staff – and stopped feeling that the place would fall apart if I wasn’t there … or that I was in jeopardy of losing my job (farthest thing from the truth) if I wasn’t always there.

Of course, I didn’t shirk away from my true responsibilities – I just stopped thinking I had to do it all.  And as the years went by, my husband passed away (and the grief subsided), and the kids moved on from home … and I was alone for, literally the first time in my life, I let me come fully out.

The happy, little bit hippy, music loving, nature celebrating, playful, silly, sensuous, professional, smart, authoritative, like it or not, me.  And I found that all those people who I was afraid of not meeting their expectations still loved me!  In fact …. they loved me more for who I really was …. and it amazed me.

Sometimes it’s just hard to let go of the fear of failure, the fear of disappointing others, the fear of not achieving what we think we should.  And the reality is … sometimes we will fail … we will disappoint others … we will not achieve all we think we should … and it’s okay …

And to love ourselves in spite of ourselves …

Namaste … I honor you … for who you really are!

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Author: The Itty Bitty Boomer

Real life as it happens behnd the picket fence.

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