When Love Does Not Show Up


Have you ever been in a situation where the expectation was love and then love didn’t happen? For example, you are in a blossoming new-ish relationship and you get to that point, everyone knows what I am talking about, the point where you feel it, you feel ready to put your heart on the line and say it, I Love You. It is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. It is this super electric moment when you are waiting, hoping, praying that the other person feels the same way, that they will say it back! I love you too.

Sometimes they don’t though right? Sometimes you are the only love that shows up. Then you are left with the fall out. The feelings of rejection, the not-good-enoughs, embarrassment.. All of it.

I was thinking about that this week as I had to show up for myself in a moment like this.

I love my mother AND sometimes she makes me feel small and unloved. That is my painful truth. Todd was out of town this week so my parents and I decided to spend a little extra time together. It was great at first.. My mom and I had fun girl talk, my dad and I talked about social work and politics. It was all going so well until it wasn’t anymore.

The end result of the “until it wasn’t anymore” was my mother leaving me with my I Love You hanging in the air by itself as she left my house.

It is one thing to feel that kind of rejection from a possible romantic partner, it is a whole other thing when it is your mother not saying it back, and really not acknowledging your existence in general. We, as a society, and then me personally, have ideas about how mothers are supposed to be right? I think of mothers and I think of unconditional love first and foremost and the truth is, my mother, and all mothers, are human beings. Unconditional love is an ideal but it is not always what you get, or what you feel anyway.

So there I was left in the wake of this emotional destruction. I was the only Love that showed up and I had to sit with that. I had to pick up all my little shattered pieces, who felt rejected and not-good-enough, and hold them in my lap and love them.

I think when people talk about self-love they think about not needing validation from society or other people.. I can tell you that when I first started down this path I did not understand that sometimes I was going to have to show up and love myself because my mother forgot to, or couldn’t, or worse.. didn’t want to.

I did it though. She left, my I Love You still hanging lonely in the air unnoticed, and I showed up for myself in that moment and told each one of those hurty pieces I loved them and that they were deserving of love.

This maybe one of the greatest lessons of my life. It is a not an easy one and it does not always feel good though. If I am having to show up for myself in a moment it is usually because something is not going right and I have the potential to be hurt, that is never a nice place to be in. That is life though, it is painful, and  joy, and scary, and beautiful, and I show up for myself in all of those places.



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