Let me say at the outset that I really hate that song! Also, it will be my earworm for the next God knows how long!
Secondly, I come to my first point. What is love?
This morning on Twitter, there was a small discussion about insecurities and being liked. It struck a chord with many of us who chipped in with our views that we are in the same boat.
So, it got me thinking about this particular insecurity and that so many of us can relate to this feeling. It is about being liked. It is about seeking the approval of others. It is about belonging. It is about seeing ourselves through what we believe to be a critical gaze. It is all of these things.
It is about LOVE.
It is about ACCEPTANCE.
What is love?
Baby, don’t hurt me.
None of us want to be hurt. We all want to be loved and accepted.
Some of us struggle with finding love and acceptance where it is to be found. We look for it in strange places. Often it takes us down dark alleys as we chase that elusive hope that we will find what we seek in some unexplored corner. We peer into the darkness looking for a hidden smile of approval lurking in the shadows. We don’t necessarily see that we’ve wandered away from the light of the love that was around us in the first place. We don’t see the dangers that have slowly enveloped us as we strayed from that well-lit path.
“Don’t be so melodramatic!” I hear you say. Ok. Let me explain.
When we go chasing shadows we lose sight of the fact that the real love and acceptance has to come from within. I think this might be one of those things that introverts have got a better handle on than us extroverts. Introverts find their energy from within whereas we extroverts are energised from external sources. Yes, I realise that’s a gross oversimplification of the difference but it kinda speaks to the point, somewhat.
If we look outside of ourselves for sources of energy, it stands to reason that we also go externally for other things. Like love. Like acceptance.
“Look at moy! Look at moy!” we yell in our Kath and Kim voices. We draw attention to ourselves. There may well be an expectation that when we call out or make a show of ourselves that others will be impressed and lavish their attention on us. Is that love? Or have we just made ourselves little more than dancing monkeys while the organ grinder plays that same old tune?
Let me take this down a more personal line…
My regular followers on Twitter and Instagram in particular will know that I’m fond of the selfie. (I’ve spoken previously of the selfie in the context of finding love and acceptance). What’s the attraction? Well, I could say it is a casual capturing of a look I might be sporting at a particular time. But the reality is probably a lot darker. For me, I might be feeling the blues and I really just need someone to “like” a picture or respond with even a tiny compliment to perk me up and give me that little bit of externally sourced energy I need to get out of the pit I’m in. Really, I’m saying “love me because right now I don’t really love myself”. However, the opposite seems to be the message conveyed in the selfie. It can say “I think I’m amazing!” or “Look at how well put together I am!” In my mind it never says those things. My internal monologue is far more likely to have lines like “Please tell me I’m pretty because I feel really ugly today. Have I convinced you that I’m not that bad at painting on my mask?” This might not describe every selfie I’ve ever taken but it probably sits at the heart of most of them.
I think if I published the selfies that I take which portray me as I see myself I would get your pity and that’s not something I want. Pity puts me back in the pit and I really just want a hand out. I want the voice that says, “Hey Fi, you look good. Go you!” When I get those “likes” and complimentary comments I get the message that someone thinks I’m worth something and I’m liked, loved and accepted. It’s not necessarily the message the sender intended but that’s sometimes how it is heard. For what it’s worth, it does uplift the spirit if even for a moment.
If I think logically about it I know it’s not love. It’s a little pat on the back and probably nothing more. But even that can feel nice and a lot of them can make you feel like you’re crowd-surfing.
I know deep down that feelings of love and acceptance have to come from deep down. My challenge is to find a part of myself that doesn’t make me recoil in fear and loathing. I need to find positive things that really sustain me. How can the world accept me, like me or love me if I can’t accept, like, love or even tolerate myself?
I could go on at even greater length regarding the dark places I’ve gone in my hunt for love and acceptance but I think I’ve given enough of myself for now. Buy me a drink one day and I’ll tell you some stories!
So to wrap this all up…
What is love? I don’t know but I do know it might just involve sharing pieces of ourselves with the world and asking the world “Baby, don’t hurt me.”