Here we go.
I’m putting it out there.
I’m just going to stand tall, embrace the awkward vulnerability and make this one simple request.
A small courageous favor.
Will you please leave a comment?
You see, I’m a verbal/written word affirmation kind of gal.
Not only am I bent to affirm others but boy, oh, boy – do I ever need affirmation myself.
My lovely Jake. He’s had to learn the hard way.
Too numerous to recount, I’ve gone to him time and time again, especially in those early years of marriage and shared with him what words I needed for him to speak into me.
“Can you please tell me you love me?” I asked.
“I need for you to tell me how awesome I am today.”
“Can you please tell me how beautiful I look?”
“I need for you to tell me why you made the choice to marry me.”
Throughout those seedling years he would look at me strangely. Giving me eyes that spoke, “You know these things, you don’t need for me to tell you them.”
But I didn’t.
And I did.
So I summoned up the courage to counter his stare and shared my need for his words to fill my often empty vase of self-worthiness.
At one point he asked in response to an affirmation request, “Doesn’t it lessen the message if you ask for me to tell you these things?”
I knew he loved me during those early years of marriage. I knew he appreciated me. I knew he believed I was beautiful and I knew he was so very glad he chose me. He demonstrated all these things and more throughout those years as we were learning how to love one another.
But I couldn’t read his mind and he could’t read mine.
And for as much as I sought to embrace his demonstration of love I needed to teach him to meet me half way and begin to verbalize his feelings for me.
We are in a relationship. And isn’t that what relationships are all about? Both giving and receiving. Balancing the scales of hospitality for both self and others?
You see, I know my affirmation as a person cannot be found in others or in what others say or, in reflection to our days of early marriage, what is not verbally shared or stated.
My worth is grounded in self-compassion, self-worth, a belief that I am worthy of the love of God simply as is.
I know this. Now.
I sense this difference now as I notice how differently I experience affirmation (in the very depths of my bones) than I did during those first years of marriage when I was starving for Jake’s sweet verbal maple syrup.
Let me explain: During those years my thoughts circled with self-corrupting talk, “He hasn’t shared with me he loves me today. He must regret he married me. He brought home flowers but there is not a note attached to be found. This is token. This is not from his heart.” I recognized his efforts but easily spoke myself out of my worthiness to receive them.
Then I realized we were in a relationship.
A relationship that takes communication and honor to uphold.
A relationship that I was summoned to speak responsibility and patience and love into.
A relationship that I needed to invest trust and “best-intentions” into.
A relationship that, if I was committed to, was going to either nurture or suffocate this spirit I have responsibility over.
I chose to believe in the power of communication in our relationship and as a result, began to ask Jake for more verbal affirmation.
Now? This man is an affirming rock star. And I? I soak every God-given syllable in.
Along the way I too have learned. I’ve learned to trust him in his intentions, not assume the worst, grow thicker skin and a softer, stronger heart.
I’ve also learned that communication, a healthy dialogue, is what opens the doors to a continued refusal for isolation. A belief that we are not alone nor are we crazy. Okay, maybe a little crazy.
I’ve learned that as I continue to speak and, as a wise woman once shared, trust in the process, together we will learn from one another.
As we begin to use our voices, we will to see that many of us think, struggle, believe and seek just as we do.
We begin to discover that others are walking along the same unfamiliar corridors and just need a friendly face to affirm them in their presence through the many passages of life.
Will you be a familiar face? May I be one for you?
Let’s affirm one another! Let’s dialog, communicate, share, respond, request.
No words are too small, no message too menial.
Your struggles, thoughts, beliefs are beautiful.
Just as they are.
So will you share them with us? Will you be our familiar face?
We all need to hear from you.