Latching on to a word: Unlovable

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My therapist stopped me today at some point and said she wanted to go back to something I’d said earlier. I’d said that I felt like I was unlovable when recounting a situation. She said she thought that was important and proceeded to direct the rest of the session and my homework around unlovable. After talking for awhile, I wasn’t sure she was pulling on the right thread but she reiterated how important she thought this concept was and I somewhat reluctantly agreed, figuring she knows more about these things than I do. (Not that kind of doctor.)

I got to thinking about it so, of course, I looked up unlovable. Not attracting or deserving of love.  Eh. Not sure we’re on the right track here still. The moment I was talking about was one in which I would describe, in part, feeling unlovable, but it was only a small part and not a common feeling – at least in the way I think of what unlovable means.

To me unlovable means unable to be loved. I’m not that. I’ve never thought I was that. Not even for a second. In fact, it’s the fact that I feel I am fortunate to be found lovable by lots of people. As offensive as it may be to some, my affair validated that I was clearly able to attract love and that I was – despite my covert, inner doubts – deserving of love. The means of getting that validation and love is another discussion. However, for the sake of this discussion, even when I was kid and got every direct attempt to convey that I was bad or unlovable, I rejected the notion. Sure, I’ve had my share of guilt and shame [pleeeezzzz gurl…] but feeling unlovable (in a terminal sense) is not an issue. 

It might be easier to say that I’ve revised what I think is the real definition of love by stating what it’s not. The new definition includes loving myself which I equate to self-care (vs. selfish behavior). Love is not anger, fear, rage, anxiety, stress, obligation, guilt, shame, abuse, neglect, rejection, or abandonment. [Ya, I know. But this is new to me ok…bear with me on this…I’m growing up here.]

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