The Huddle #40: PS I Love You
Well folks, 2020 has been… unimpressive, to say the least. As one unamused Billie Eilish sang tonight, “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” The good news? We’re in this together, and I’ve got some ideas on how we can turn this thing around.
Recently, my brother told me about this thing called The Happiness Curve. Basically, scientists have figured out that people’s happiness tends to dip in our mid thirties or so, once we realize we’re not actually going to be a millionaire, or be the professional athlete we’d once dreamed of becoming. We’re just ordinary people doing our laundry, watching Netflix, working, sleeping, drinking pinot noir, and repeating. However, scientists also learned that human happiness grows exponentially once we hit our mid-fifties, a time when most of us have enough life experiences to realize what’s really important. Turns out, all the cliches are true: life isn’t measured in ambition. It doesn’t matter what college you went to or which companies you’ve invested in. The only thing that truly matters, with one hundred percent certainty, is our relationships. That’s right, Rent fans. Measure your life in love.
Super cute, right? But what does this actually look like? Sure, I could tell you to invest more time and energy into your relationships, or to give love even when it’s hard or inconvenient, but what I’m more interested in is not the giving part, but the receiving.
If you’re like me, receiving love is hard. You might shy away from compliments or deflect when you’re offered some words of affirmation. Personally, as I’ve been grieving over the past few weeks, the outpouring of love has left me both incredibly moved and incredibly overwhelmed. Not wanting to let any of it go to waste, I’ve had to train myself to pause, breathe, and really let the love pour in, whether it’s been a text message, a handwritten card, or a quick “I’m thinking about you,” in the hallway.
On a deeper level, I’ve realized that if I’m not careful, it’s easy for me to dissect the love that’s offered to me- do I deserve this? Do they mean it? Is this conditional- is your support contingent on my grief fitting into a box that feels approachable to you? My inner critic, that nasty little B, can’t help but drag the giver down with me. But judging the love I’m given is like standing in the sun and staring back at the shadows. Girl, you are showered in sunshine! Look up!
In my yoga classes, I often remind you to approach my class the same way I read my horoscope. It’s a buffet- take what you like/want/need, and leave the rest. Can we apply that same idea to our relationships? Even when the love we’re offered seems conditional, we still have the option to receive it unconditionally. That friend who only wants to see you when it works for their schedule- when you see them, and they hug you and sit with you and love on you, can you receive their offering? When your boss, who is generally the worst, finally acknowledges your hard work, can you internalize that without allowing bitterness to seep in? And when your partner surprises you on Valentines Day even though you hate Valentine’s Day, can you let them adore you? Because let’s remember. You deserve it. You deserve it all.
P.S. I love you.