In a previous blog I explain how I conceptualize love as an energy that we can all tap into and choose for ourselves, instead of a thing that we can give and receive. This makes sense from a global perspective because someone can love you and yet you do not feel loved. If you have not yet read that blog, check it out under the title “What Is Love When It Is Not Codependent?"
Being loved is cognitive; it is a concept and a truth. Once you accept that "you are fundamentally loved" is a universal truth, accessing and feeling into that truth is one way of feeling loved. In this way, feeling loved is an inside job, it is a YOU thing. Only you can decide to feel loved, and you do that by remembering that you are loved. No amount of external love will make you feel loved. Occasionally we buy into the idea that we need someone else’s permission to feel love, and that is why we feel loved most when we are being loved by someone else, but we can feel love (or not feel love) all on our own too.
Being loved by the universe is not quite what we mean when we say we want to feel loved, is it? Knowing you are loved by the fabric of the universe and accessing that as a felt sense of love is amazing and healing. It helps us set the foundation of self-love we need to enter into a secure relationship with another person, but it does not take into account how we expect other people to act when we are being loved by them. It does not help us communicate the expectations of how we want and need to receive love as an expression.
When someone loves us, we expect them to act and express a certain way, but that is not always what happens. It is possible love someone and not want to be in a relationship with them. It is possible to love someone and do terrible hurtful things to them. It is possible to love someone and suffocate their self-expression away. What we want most in a relationship is not to be loved, rather it is to feel loved explicitly by someone that we have an expectation of love with.
Feeling loved is comprised of a whole complex subset of expressions. Here are things that make us feel loved:
Love without a clear and consistent expression of value, consideration, appreciation, respect, commitment and desire does not make us feel loved. Without these things, love can feel like a set of expectations, like being take advantage of, used, or manipulated.
Being loved is not enough. You are fundamentally loved regardless. You do not need someone else to love you. Feeling loved, however, is vital to your relational health. Feeling loved from the people whom you have love expectations with is what keeps us reaching out and connecting. The desire to feel loved from our people and our community is what moves us toward connection.
Having an expectation of people in your life is not a bad thing, but not explicitly communicating these expectations can be. We are not taught how to love and we are not taught now to make our loved ones feel loved. The list of things that make us feel loved can be understood as values. Communicating these values to the people you are expecting these things from can be very clarifying for both parties involved. Send them this blog to get the conversation started.