“Why do you look so sad? Because you speak to me in words and I look at you with feelings”.- Leo Tolstoy
Since the beginning of time we humans have developed an ingrained belief system that love from another is everything. It’s the dream; the goal. Most pursue it fervently and don’t feel complete without it. Most will search until they find it, and some will settle with what they find.
Love is gloriously beautiful, when both parties are equally invested, and stay equally invested. But the sad truth is, this is not the case for a growing number of people. Perhaps both people feel the distance, the change, the lack. But more commonly one pulls away and the other stands rooted; lost; uncertain; unknowing and unsure of what is coming next.
Being loved, is not the same as deeply loving. Being loved can feel like a warm embrace on a cool afternoon. It can feel like comfort, secure that you have someone, rather than being alone. It can feel safe because you do not have to navigate the world solo. It fits in with family expectations and/or societal views on how things should be. It can stroke the ego, knowing there is someone there that loves you, washing all your self doubts and insecurities away. It can fill your voids, the voids you should be filling yourself. It can make you feel whole, when you were never a half.
But it can be stifling, if you’re there for the love you are receiving rather than the deep love you feel and want to give. Undoubtedly most people do hold a certain love for their partner but is this love because the other person loves you so much or is it because you feel a depth of love in your soul that is unquestionable? Being loved is wonderful, it can feel intoxicating at times, but loving deeply is something else, a profound love that enters your soul. It is not a love born from a fear of being alone. Or fear from disappointing others. Or fear of not fitting in. Or fear of being unloveable. It is not settling. Deeply loving is doing what is in your soul, regardless of what that looks like to anyone else and it is not rooted in any fear.
Being loved is not the same as loving deeply, and, sadly being loved does not mean you will love deeply. If you love deeply the following list will be familiar:
- You see the best version of you emerge. When you are in a relationship where you love deeply, you will be your best self. You will want to continue to be your best self and will want to do whatever inner work is required to continue to grow into an even better version of yourself.
- You will be your most authentic self. You will be comfortable being completely raw and messy. You won’t feel the need to wear a mask and pretend to be someone you are not. Maybe in the beginning as you do the early dance of limerence but once that deep love is felt, you will want everything to be real. No bullsh*t and no pretence.
- There will be honesty and trust. You will be unafraid to speak your truth, all your truth. There’s no hiding part of yourself and you know that if your truth is not understood, then you will be okay alone. It will hurt and there will be pain but the reality is, anything based on lies or untruths is not real and it will ultimately destroy you.
- You will be comfortable having the uncomfortable conversations. You know they may be difficult or challenging but you also know to continue being the best version of you and to be able to grow, they must be done. You understand nothing will grow unless you are willing to face the hard stuff. Unless you are willing to face the truth.
- You will be unconcerned about what others think. Judgement or external opinions won’t influence how you feel, because that deep soul love will transcend any outside f*ckery. It will catapult you into self reflection and an awareness to work on yourself and continue working on yourself.
- And lastly whilst it maybe a frightening prospect that you could lose this person you love so deeply, the most defining thing about loving deeply is you will realise that the love you have for yourself is the greatest gift you will learn and you will be more than okay alone.
I have learnt these lessons, some beautifully and some very painfully. I have been loved and I have loved deeply, sometimes simultaneously and other times it’s been more one sided. Being loved was all the things the fairytales tell us but loving deeply is not a fairytale, it’s real life and that feeling can never be captured because it’s not all rosy. It’s not the date nights and the instagram pics. It’s not faking it until you make it. It’s not the mask wearing facade. It’s not built on a fear of being authentic. It’s not pretending to be who you think others want you to be. It’s the light and the dark.
It’s messy. Deep love is messy. It’s not constantly colouring inside the lines but rather outside the lines and being accepted, no matter how ugly it looks. For if your messy is frowned upon, you need to question if you’re in the right place. I love a perfectly coloured picture, it looks aesthetically pretty, but it’s not the whole story. It’s never the whole story. I want the whole story and I want to share my story, the beautiful and the ugly. That is deeply loving.
I believe if you are loved but you don’t love deeply in return, you are there for the wrong reasons and those reasons are usually driven from fear. It’s probably the saddest thing you will ever do to yourself because in doing this, you will never, ever be the best and most authentic version of yourself. And you will never know where your best version can take you. What a terrible injustice we do to ourselves going through life living a version we think we are supposed to rather than who we truly are.
I have learnt being loved is simply not enough and I must love deeply to be my truest self. And as we grow and change and our partner grows and changes, if that growth and change is not in sync, not in alignment and the feelings change then it’s time to have the tough conversations. There is nothing more heartbreaking than living a lie because you are lying to yourself.
If I don’t love deeply, I choose to be alone, because being loved is not the same as loving.
“I am in love with you. And I thought it was enough, to make us happy. I am in love with you and I thought it was all I needed, to keep me going. I am in love with you and for quite some time I thought this love would fill in all the gaps, that you can’t love back. I am in love with you, but love alone, is not enough“- Nessie Q