I remember being young.
Young enough that there was still an aging Ziggy t-shirt hanging on my clothes line and possible scabs on my knees. (I should point out I am really klutzy so there was scabby limbs way past the average age.) My guess would be around 13.
At the time, I had an lovely and odd friendship with a neighbor boy who was three years older than me. It is strange looking back at how that friendship shaped many parts of me. He was the first boy I felt completely comfortable with, even at a VERY awkward age. He was goofy in the best way possible and knew everything under the sun about pop culture. He would construct the best mix tapes known to man. One part cool top 40 (Belinda Carlisle, Julian Lennon), one part retro (Beatles, Queen) and one part weird (Laurie Anderson, obscure David Bowie).
Most of our young and “figuring out the world” discussions happened on my front porch swing with summer around us in the form of fireflies and crickets. We would swing back and forth talking until the wee hours of the night…about 10:30 p.m. One night, we stumbled on the subject of crushes, dating and eventually love. Something that seemed so confusing and far away. Yet fascinating and almost within reach to our hopeful minds.
After some discussion, I remember creating probably my first theory about love. Young, naive and simplified to the very basic level. In the quiet of the night I said:
“I think it really comes down to people wanting to feel special. That love is about making one other person feel special all of the time.”
Pretty simple, right?
Honestly, I had forgotten about that talk after all of these years until I was coaching a client this week and something similar spilled out of my mouth. Feeling dejavu-y after the session, I started to think why that felt so familiar. Those summer soaked nights and that particular conversation flooded into my mind.
I have been thinking about it ever since.
I am not sure if 13-year-old Kira was a relationship prodigy or maybe just her uncomplicated child-like thoughts were closer to the truth than so much of the over-analyzing that we do as adults. Because, adult Life Coach Kira can’t help but notice how unspecial we make each other feel nowadays when it comes to dating and relationships.
Terrified of failure and rejection, we hold onto our love tightly, like a child clutching a balloon that they have lost before. Pretending that love is a scarcity with only a tiny bit to go around. Worried if we give it to the wrong person we have somehow wasted it or have less to give. Painstakingly making sure that someone has to live up to crazy, unrealistic standards for us to take the time out of our busy lives to make them feel special.
Many times, we find ourselves never truly committing ourselves to the person. Waiting for the perfect situation or the other shoe to drop. When we do finally commit we are quietly looking around to upgrade. To see if someone else can make us LOOK more important or special to hide how we really feel about ourselves. Prioritizing how their life looks on the outside rather than finding someone who has the ability to truly love us and make us FEEL special. We are only looking for REAL mutual admiration societies, people!
Sometimes, even when we make them feel special in the beginning, when we prioritize the shallower part of people, we are disappointed when the real person shows up. We berate and shame them for who they really are. Although they were there the whole time, we made up a story of who they were or who we could change them into. Then we blame love for letting us down. I can promise you that love had absolutely nothing to do with that situation.
That was the stupid stinkin’ fear.
Fear of being alone. Fear that we are not good enough the way we are so we need to get someone who makes us look better. Fear that we are not truly loveable so we never show who we are for someone else to love.
Reminder for you. Whatever starts from fear will never end in love.
I think that there are many, many reasons for break-ups and divorces but I feel like a big part is that people just stopped making the other person feel special. They stopped asking them the important questions. They stopped taking interest in who they are and what they dream about. If we can’t make our significant other feel special or they don’t think we are special, what are we frickin’ doing here???? What is the whole point?
So, here are my uncomplicated questions for you today about love.
When was the last time you just showed up as completely you and made someone feel really, really special? Leaving the worries behind.
When have you approached someone with a child-like curiosity and collected their stories like fireflies? Gone slow enough to get to know all of them and just embrace them for exactly who they are?
What does special feel like to you?
Have you cleared away the baggage enough to feel it?