Sometime lead singer/drummer of the Eagles Don Henley came out with a song in the 80s called “Not Enough Love in the World”. Back then, and many times since, I have felt this is has been somewhat a “theme” on my personal soundtrack.
“For you girl, there’s just not enough love in the world.”
I have always needed a ton of attention. Maybe it had something to do with my Daddy spoiling me utterly rotten and the basic void of attention I got from my mom and sister, but attention always equaled love. Oddly enough, because of what happened when I was four, attention is often a double-edged sword.
Here’s how it works:
I want attention, but if someone gave it to me it’d scare me to death with implied expectations. Even if there were no expectations, I’d turn myself inside out trying to go above and beyond what I *thought* was expected, just so that I would not lose the attention.
This was especially dangerous during those teen years when predators could smell my desperation just like blood in the water.
“I know people hurt you so bad, they don’t know the damage they can do, and it makes me so sad…”
Attention has often walked hand in hand with danger, while neglect – though lonely – was safer. Even though it hurt to think I wasn’t good enough to be loved, which was always the implication. This is particularly true with the opposite sex. When a guy is into a girl, the first clue is the amount of attention that he will pay her.
Ironically, even if I’m not “looking” for anything, male attention has always kind of been my ultimate goal. It validates me (i.e. my dad), and makes me feel “normal” (whatever the hell that even means).
The problem is the fatter you are the less attention you’re going to get from the opposite sex. Whether that is our own insecurities that puts up an invisible (and sometimes quite visible) wall that screams “KEEP OUT”, or just their inability to get around their *own* insecurities that they need beautiful people to validate *them* – we can never be sure. It simply becomes the ultimate catch .22.
So I’m very, VERY often dipping my toe in the pool to test the temperature only to run like the wind the other direction at the least little provocation. I want attention, so I will try in my very fearful ways to get it. This often means settling to go out into the world as the Fat Friend many hot girls seem to have so we can live on the fringes of life rather than be in its direct path.
Only as the fat friend you usually don’t get much attention. It’s an endless test that nobody is equipped to pass. This means I pinball in between all sorts of emotions at any given time, feeling like a complete and total whackadoodle.
It’s so fun to be me.
“But a time will come around when we need to settle down, got to get of this merry-go-round…”
The key, of course, lies in the boundaries we set (or in my case, the lack thereof). We set the rules for our own relationships. There are certain “rules of engagement” that we all have in place, that say “here’s what I’m willing to give, and here’s what I expect in return.”
It feels so selfish to say you have any expectations at all, because “true” friends supposedly don’t.
Truth is, however, we all do.
If you’re my friend I expect you to be honest, to be loyal, to be kind – and if you cross any of those lines then it jeopardizes that friendship.
You can’t give of yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, nor someone you can’t trust.
These are expectations.
And they’re perfectly reasonable.
When your self esteem, like mine, is nil – it’s especially challenging to establish these rules of engagement and to understand that these expectations are not only reasonable but necessary. Otherwise you have no boundaries and others will recognize this lack of respect and take total advantage.
The balancing act comes when you have people in your life who come with certain complications. They’ve made it fairly clear you can’t expect from them what you expect from others. It’s not that they’re out to hurt you, but maybe their life is constructed in such a way they just don’t have the time to babysit you or hold your hand while you figure things out.
They trust you have the strength to make it through, and will be waiting there on the other side when you’re done.
Just because they don’t love you the way you think that they should doesn’t mean they don’t love you as much as they are able to.
For me this has meant re-evaluating whether or not I can stay in these friendships, if it’s true to my authentic self.
I’m a giver. I’m loyal. I am high output, low maintenance, which makes me quite popular with those who prefer half-assed friendships… which ironically work well for me as I fluctuate somewhere between martyr and spoiled brat. I will stay in relationships for years despite whether or not I get what I want from them, and I generally never do. Mostly because whether they give it to me or not, it’ll never be enough.
“I was either standing in your shadow or blocking your light. Though I kept on trying I could not make it right…”
One of the last chapters I read on Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway talked about relationships and when they were more destructive than good. I know I’ve had to make some changes in this area, but I’ve had a hard time figuring out when I’m being realistic about relationships and when I’m settling for second-class treatment because that’s all I feel I deserve.
I had hoped this pilgrimage out west would have given me more clarity on the subject, but I’m still doing a lot of heavy lifting with all the tunneling and unearthing I’ve had to do.
But it has given me the opportunity to re-prioritize people in my life. I think that has been very healthy overall. I came out here with some expectations; some were met, some were exceeded and some were abandoned.
In the end I’ve begun to realize who I am is beyond what I get. It isn’t easy breaking old habits and dealing with all the neglect/abandonment/rejection issues that come from my own sense of entitlement from past patterns of relationships… but it’s quite necessary.
Oh darlin’, this is still a shady little town
And sometimes it’s so hard to smile-
For the world, for the camera-
And still have something left
You don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody
Just take good care of yourself
So I’mma be me. It’s all I can be. And hopefully, sometime very soon, the love I give to myself will just have to be enough.
Don Henley – Not Enough Love In The Worl
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