Being a mother of three, one with ADHD and two from child welfare, and a spouse to an introverted, quietly humble, lets-not-talk-about-it, law enforcement officer, I see things a little different when it comes to expression.
You may relate.
We come from many areas that impact this: traumatized family; hardworking spouse; closed off loved ones; struggling, mentally and emotionally, relatives; busy friends; distracted co-workers; demanding life.
I used to feel lonely and lost. I am a person that seeks affirmation and is fueled by it.
I often didn’t feel loved, because I was literal about love. I interpreted love as defined: Love is as a noun “an intense feeling of deep affection.” As a verb it is a “feeling a deep romantic or attachment to someone.”
I was setting myself up for disappointment because love, as noted in the dictionary in both forms, is a feeling. Feelings are impacted by interpretation. Interpretation is impacted by a behavior. So, with my family-crew of chaos, I became fulfilled when I discovered how loved I truly was as shown in their behaviors. I discovered:
I am loved when they give me a hug.
I am loved with they choose me as their go-to for tears.
I am loved when they share their vulnerable, touchy, feeling words.
I am loved when the house isn’t spotless but rather used and savored.
I am loved when my spouse cares for the kids I value the most when I am there and when I am gone.
I am loved when my family says, “we miss you,” or a child throws a fit when we have to leave (even if I am running late!)
I am loved when my spouse comes to a social event with me even though he is a rock-hard introvert.
I am loved when a cuddle is whined for even when it was supposed to have been bedtime.
I am loved when I get that random text from someone who is thinking of me enough to ask, inquire, or respond.
I am loved when people seem to laugh at my jokes….even if it is just in joy for the fact I think it is funny.
I am loved when they eat the dinner I made with a joyous heart; the one that is late, crusted, black, or cheap.
I am loved when they roll their eyes at my self-inflicted and social critics.
I am loved when we go swimming and all my children see is “mommy” there—no matter what I wear.
I am loved when they click the brew button just to make an extra coffee for me and join me with their own version or hot chocolate.
I am loved when my baby says “I luv eww” though it can’t really be understood.
I am loved when my parents inquire about my holiday plans.
I am loved when my other half is gone, sometimes for hours on end, to work to provide for me and them.
I am loved when he gets home and listens to my long, elaborate debriefing without judgment or rush for me to hear of his day.
I am loved when they join me in singing gratitude to God even when singing is my worst skill.
I am loved when the kiddo asks me to play cars with him, for hours, and hours and hours and…
I am loved when my child asks my advice on a friend, a job, or a future.
I am loved when I say “I look awful today,” but I’m my only critic.
I am loved when I show them love and even when I don’t.
Yes, I am loved!
(FYI, so are you!)
*Amber Jewell is a social worker who works to breathe hope into the life of others.
She appreciates responses, comments and shares.
Follow her at ambermjewell.com and facebook: @jewell.amberm.