In the spirit of writing about love, as we all know, love is not always about romance. Eros is not the only type of love that exists and when I said that for the month of August I would write love stories, I meant every word. Today, I am writing about a friend who made me feel loved. I remember an incident that happened over 4 years ago and it made me pause and smile today. It was such a special moment for me…Enjoy!
I remember a group of us were sat down, talking, laughing, you know, catching up and someone said something to the effect of, “Chidi is so hard to understand” and everyone in the group nodded and agreed. A conversation started about how I was ‘soooo‘ difficult (roll eyes here) and so this and so that – all negative by the way. I sat there, quiet. Listening. I will be honest. A part of me agreed and was even proud of the fact that I was not “so easy”. I had done well. I had kept people out.
This lady, spoke up and destroyed every negative that was spoken about me. She said, “no. What do you mean? What are you people talking about. Chidi is not complicated at all. She does this because of A/B/C and this is how she does it. She is not that complicated“. The group was silent for a short while and she shrugged and went back to what she was doing. I cannot tell you what happened with the group afterwards because she had grabbed my entire attention. I kept staring at her. Out of everyone in the group, I had known her for the shortest time. Yet! She had taken time to watch and understand me. I had never felt so seen…I kept staring at this woman and even though outwardly I said nothing but in that moment, I felt so loved. I was seen. She saw me, as I was, no labels, no weird attachments, no preconceived notions, no judgments based on gossip, just me. I actually cried after I left the group. I kept wondering how she could see so plainly what everyone else was unable to see.
Some of these people I had known for more than a decade yet, they happily chose to believe what most people said about me. That, instead of the actual truth had become gospel. These opinions had become fact, so much so that even though I knew it was incorrect, a part of me had begun to accept it and almost pridefully uphold it like a trophy. I had even started to perform the labels they had given me. The quiet part of me refuted the initial statement but I was too tired to start arguing. I remained quiet – it was easier. I was happy for them to believe what they wanted. That was their prerogative.
I remembered that moment today and it made me pause and smile. It always reminds me to stop accepting rubbish and while this does not mean that I will start defending my personality when people get it wrong – I will not. I really cannot be bothered. I will do what I usually do, I will laugh, shake my head and say nothing (unless I really feel the need to correct a perception or I feel led to). What that moment taught me was to be careful about the things that I think about myself. It taught me to make sure that other people’s opinions does not become my own. It taught me that accepting lazy opinions and being grateful for them was not okay.
She taught me that people putting in as much effort as I did to get to know me was the standard not the goal. She had not known me that long and she had me worked out, at least the part that was being discussed. She taught me that people taking the time to listen and learn from and about me should be the norm. It made me feel empowered and I will be honest, it changed me.
Prior to that day, I did not ask questions about opinions or thoughts I heard. I just accepted most of the nonsense. If more than one person said it, it had to be true right? Wrong! I did not question the stupid ideas people had, my frame of mind was, ‘so many people could not be wrong‘ even though what they were selling as fact hurt me and something inside of me wholly disagreed. Yet, I pushed my voice down and accepted, even celebrated this fictitious character one person had conjured and everyone agreed with…until she gave me permission to pause and question.
I always wonder how God sees us and how we see ourselves. Surely He sees us more clearly than we could ever see ourselves and knows us to such a depth, we ourselves cannot reach. I had started praying to see myself as God sees me and I tell you the truth, my view of myself since I started praying in this way has changed drastically. I know I may never fully understand or see myself as God sees me but I am definitely taking the time to understand and love myself. I am starting to understand me as God created me. I am embracing the gifts He has given me, understanding my strengths and personality traits. I am appreciating the weird and entirely different parts of my personality and I am grateful! I remember thinking about myself recently and thinking to myself, how much I like myself – wait for it – WITHOUT APOLOGY! It felt great! This is not to glory in myself but in appreciation for how far God has brought me.
Now, I am not saying she started the journey, no. God did that. He definitely did use her to provoke me to pause and question that description of myself. She loved me awake and I will always be grateful for that.
Allow me love you in the same way…let me ask you. What lie have you believed?
Who has conned you into believing the following and what do you need to do to pause and wake up?
1. You are hard work
2. You are hard to love
…because the truth is, you REALLY are not!
Stop allowing people to lie to you. For the fact they may not be willing to put in the work to get to know you, love you, treat you well and meet your expectations, does not mean that you are the one with the issues.
You are already loved.
‘Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself’. – Jeremiah 31:3 NLT
Hear the singular voice that agrees with your spirit about who you are. Hear and understand who God has created you to be. Ask Him Who you are and leave human opinions alone.
Rush into the love of God and soak yourself in it. The warmth is comforting and rejuvenating. He may use people like this lady or choose to make you understand in some other way but when He does, please, pause. Listen to that wise voice and then decide which way you want to continue in.
This is one of my many stories of love which has been shared with me. I hope it encourages and reminds you that you are treasured. You are loved and that you should never settle (in any way) for anything less – in any relationship be it platonic or something else.
Love and Blessings,