lovable unlovable presence

Nearing the end of my powerless journey, this is what became my question of the day: whether anyone loves me.

I worried about a few other powerless issues such as how others respond to me, if my web conference at work will be successful, and if other people will do their jobs.

But the question of whether anyone loves me captured nearly all my attention. We really are powerless over whether or not we are loved . . . and by who (that should be “whom” but this is a blog, not a grammar lesson).

Some people choose to love us despite our best efforts to make ourselves unlovable. Other people barely acknowledge our existence no matter what hoops we jump through or mountains we climb for them.

We are powerless over being loved.

What a show-stopper that is. There are absolutely no guarantees in this life that anyone is ever going to love us. I can hear my friends already yelling at me “You gotta define what love is!”

I don’t know that I can. I know how it feels for me when I love another person. There is absolutely nothing I want more for that person except to be happy with themselves, in love with their life, and at peace. Whatever is in my capacity to do for them, I will. I cannot speak of what love is for another person. I cannot define myself in a way to make another person love me.

I can’t even make me love me.

But I do anyway. I came about it the long way home.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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15 Responses to “lovable unlovable presence”

  1. sandiwhite Says:

    Okay, Barbara Beanyhead, I love you. I LOVE YOU! Not like Jonathon does, nor the way January does, but the way a good friend loves a person who is digging under all the rocks, and turning all the pages to be the best she can be. I also admire your tenacity. Love, Sandi

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Wow, thanks, Sandi! I love you, too. You REALLY dig and turn up rocks (literally). I hope all is going well in the garden these days. It’s almost like waiting for a baby to be born and see who he or she is.

  2. Snoopykg2 Says:

    S+.2(-.24 *6(23 (:2 “+,/ 1*) :+1 12 5+_!( *,) “+?2

    Ok now let me type on my Blackberry correctly and turn the light on!

    Sometimes we loose all our love on the long way home, after all the twists,turns,stops,road rage,dead things, and even rough pavement. Kind of like the journey.
    BTW..I absolutely love it when I realize you popped in on my journey….

    Who or whom is my harddest grammer lesson.I could never get that one!!

    Experiancing the laughter,tears,joy and pain can bring on feelings of power and/or powerless.

    Love and hugs…

  3. creativepotager Says:

    Barbara I had to come by to see what you had written after your comment on Jeff’s blog… we did say the same thing! Was there a crack someplace in the universe that linked our thoughts together? How fascinating.

    Your post though… “I know how it feels for me when I love another person. There is absolutely nothing I want more for that person except to be happy with themselves, in love with their life, and at peace. Whatever is in my capacity to do for them, I will.” This is the clarity that came to me in a flash when my sweetie had his stroke… and that clarity has stayed with sharp perfection.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Terrill — I think that we must indeed be falling through that crack together. I had no idea that I was going to write that last line. I wanted to write something about how long it has taken me to accept and love me as I am and that line just sort of fell from my fingertips.

      You have some of the most inspiring photos on your Creative Potager site (http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/). I’ve added you to my blogroll (an oversight!) to remind me to visit more often.

  4. Gil Says:

    Just quietly loving you from a distance. And there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about it…

  5. holessence Says:

    Barbara – The energy in this post is astounding! The hairs are raised up on my arms (and it’s not cold). I love this post. I love the community of people who gather and share from their hearts. And I love you.

    “I can’t even make me love me. But I do anyway. I came about it the long way home.”


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie! I love the community of people I find, too. There is such a gentle openness around the people I met at Gaia and who I continue to correspond with. It is a safe place, a loving place, and I think that might define love the most for me: I feel safe.

  6. holessence Says:

    Barbara – Your definition of love is feeling safe; I like that! Any special plans for the Memorial Day weekend?

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Laurie — I plan to play, rest, play some more, rest a little, and then play a lot! We are going to visit the National Arboretum on Saturday, play tennis on Sunday, and then absolutely nothing on Monday!

  7. ntexas99 Says:

    hi barbara – you aren’t capable of reading my email through osmosis, are you? My sister and I have been exchanging emails these past couple of days about the subject of being unlovable … I quote one passage, “the truth is that I grew up feeling unlovable and disposable and horrified by what they did to me” and another passage that said, “how can that child ever believe their life is worth anything at all, if it wasn’t even worth a parent’s love?”.

    As you know, my mom passed away last year, and my dad died in 2005, and it seems that all of my siblings (including me) are going through various stages of learning new ways to deal with the feelings of unlovability and sorrow and anger that get all tangled up when we try to let our thoughts settle about our own individual relationships with our parents (or other people in our lives who have repeated similar patterns). The unlovability factor seems to be the similar thread that binds us all together in our quest for answers.

    For several of them, this is the first time they have been caught unexpectedly and full force by the residual effects of the earlier damage, and they find themselves floundering and struggling, and looking to me for guidance, (which is ironic, considering that I flounder about quite a bit myself – but they all know I’ve spent a good deal of time and energy and have done much of the work necessary to survive the grossly inaccurate pre-programmed messages left behind by an abusive childhood). But no matter how we slice it and dice it and examine how we have all shaped our lives around the way we grew up, the unlovability factor keeps cropping up in unexpected ways.

    With your permission, I would love to show them your blog post. In fact, I’d like to print it out and send it to each of them, (and keep a copy for myself), if you don’t mind. Your words offer a brilliant and accurate observation about unlovability, and even though I can hear the vulnerability and pain behind your words of wisdom, it is so incredibly inspiring to also hear you say the powerful truth about being “powerless over being loved”. Yes, indeed … that is quite the showstopper!

    Thank you for sharing such a gentle look at the subject of unlovability. I’m so glad you have evolved to the point where you can love you, because I love you, too, and I’d hate to think that you were unable to see the reflection of beauty that we can see through your powerful words. I love your spirit of sharing, and I love your thoughtful choice of phrasing, and I love your courage in letting down your guard and revealing some of your own internal struggle, but maybe most of all, I love that you have chosen to put a voice to what can be salvaged and celebrated in this life. Thank you for using your voice to offer hope.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Nancy — first, of course you can share my blog with everyone and anyone over and over and over. That is what it was meant for. The other part of being powerless over whether or not we are loved is realizing that the people we look to for love have their own definition of what love is. A parent is still a person with all of their flaws and inadequacies. The children of these people grow up feeling responsible for some imagined wrong or worthlessness. When I confront these feelings in myself, I have to stop and check the truth of such responsibility. I was not and still am not responsible for whether or not anyone loves me. What matters is that I love me and I know how to love others. I can love the child in me who was not loved. I cannot undo anything and I don’t even try to sweep anything away. I just love her and respect her to taking such good care of me so that I could grow up. Remember that, Nancy. You did your absolute best to survive a hard life and you succeeded. I love you.

      • ntexas99 Says:

        hi again, barbara — I will share your words about unlovability with my siblings, and take them to heart myself, and I appreciate you taking the time to add the additional comments. Sometimes half the battle is recognizing the inaccurate messages that can permeate our consciousness, and as you said, we have to be diligent about authenticating the truth (or non-truth) behind these messages. I liked what you said, especially, about “I was not and still am not responsible for whether or not anyone loves me. What matters is that I love me and I know how to love others.” Well stated! Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and thanks again for sharing this thought-provoking post.

  8. holessence Says:

    Barbara – that sounds like a recipe for a delicious weekend, enjoy!

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