When Love Hurts


It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone. — Anonymous

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. — William Somerset Maugham

I have spent the majority of the past 25 years trying to forget someone I loved very much.  It hasn’t worked.  I married (and tried to love) someone else, continued on with life, and really just “existed” through much of that time.  I spent many hours wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t forget “him”.  Many people have survived loving someone they had to say “goodbye” too without really wanting to, and they seemed to survive just fine.  Why couldn’t I do the same?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. We can’t always choose whom our hearts are drawn to.

There is a physiological response going on that we may have no control over.  Our hearts are drawn to certain people.  If these people bring joy to our lives, give us a sense of being valued and appreciated, and/or elicit favorable memories, we may have a more difficult time letting them go.  When an event occurs in our life that creates a chasm in the relationship, it can be devastating.  If communication breaks down to the point of little to no response, the devastation can often be magnified.  Human nature is such that we want (need) to know what is causing the rift.  WHY won’t this person respond?  What have I done to warrant a lack of response?  How can I rectify the situation?  When there continues to be a lack of response to our questions, the wondering becomes unbearable. Apparently there is such a thing as lovesickness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovesickness). Who knew?

This is where valuable lesson #2 comes in …

  1. We CAN control our thoughts.

It may be difficult to comprehend sometimes, but it is possible.  Sometimes the worst enemy we encounter in life is located right smack dab in the territory between our two ears:  our mind.  There is a fascinating world being explored out there pertaining to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.  We can formulate new thought patterns.  We can form new neuronal pathways in our minds.  We can change our thinking.

This is a problem I have seriously struggled with for some time.  Events in my life over the past three decades have taught me learned behaviors that need to be changed.  The metamorphosis in my thinking was gradual, so gradual I didn’t realize it was happening.  Not until I moved back to the part of the country where I grew up (after having been away for 15 years), did it start to become noticeable.  I could never understand where my children came up with some of the ideas they had about my likes and dislikes until I was able to step back and see that I really hadn’t given them an opportunity to know me at all … not the real me.  The person they saw was not who I was, it was who I became.  Sounds weird, right?  However, if you’ve lived it, you know exactly what I am saying.

After wondering why I have spent the greater part of a decade feeling so extremely alone, it finally dawned on me that I was no longer allowing people to get close.  I had shut down.  I had sheltered myself from love … from giving it and from receiving it … to the point that I was no longer projecting outwardly what I (thought) I was feeling inside.  I was coming across very negatively on the outside.

My feelings of rejection weren’t coming from other people; they were coming from inside my head. I had convinced myself that I had become incapable of loving and, therefore, (in my mind) I was incapable of being loved. The interesting thing about that thought process is that the more you feel incapable of being loved, the more you isolate yourself and become self-absorbed.

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  1. We CAN choose to respond differently.

My saving grace has come in the answer to prayer. I asked God to send me a friend, and He sent me someone who is helping me to see the kind, warm, caring person I used to be … the one who disappeared many years ago, the one who has been buried under a mound of abandonment, guilt, and shame. I am learning, through my interactions with this angel from God that I am not as awful a person as I thought I was. I’m okay … quirky at times, but okay. I am worth loving. I am worth spending time with. I am worth getting to know. And those feelings have generated a rebirth within me that make me want to reach out and get to know others and let them get to know me … the REAL me, not the one they think they currently know. As I become more comfortable in my own (new) skin, I will once again let my humor shine through. I won’t care so much what people think of me, for I will find that as long as I like myself, others will like me too (and, if they don’t, they weren’t meant to be in my life anyway).

I no longer want to be a people pleaser. I want to be a God pleaser. I want to fulfill my purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to matter. I want to succeed at something. I want to continue to learn new things. In order to do that, I am going to spend more time with my Father. I am going to speak affirmations over myself that remind me Whose I am and how much I am loved. I am going to be grateful for the new friends He brings into my life, and I am going to be a light to others who feel the pain of being rejected and alone.

As we say goodbye to 2015 and embark on a new year, let’s let some old mindsets go. Let’s embrace who we really are and use it to create wonder and beauty in the world around us. The future is looking brighter!

Let your light shine …

Lori Lynn

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Want Social Media … I Want Friends!


When I was in 6th grade, I suffered a temporary bout of ostracism from every kid in my class with the exception of one girl, who was a bit of an outcast herself. The details of this sordid event escape me. I’m sure I did something to raise someone’s ire or the green horns of jealousy; but whatever the cause, the repercussions have been profound. Decades later, the effects are still felt. Pretty much every experience I encounter gets processed through the lens of rejection.

Although the ostracizing event blew over that summer and I went on to have many friends throughout junior high, high school, and college, I have found, as an adult, that I still frequently feel like an outcast.

I have a significant number of friends on Facebook (not thousands, because I’m very selective about whom I friend), but here’s the thing … I could have hundreds more if not for the cloudy vision of life I see through my cataracts of rejection, which cause the recurring tape in my head to say, “No one likes you, so they won’t want to be your friend.”) I realize this is faulty thinking. The friends I do have would assure me it just isn’t true. Nonetheless, my faulty thinking affects the outcome of my daily living.

Why do I care how many friends I have? If I really think about it, I don’t. I mean, in the big huge scheme of things, what really matters more … that other people like me or that I like myself? I mean, if I have thousands of friends on Facebook (or any other social media platform for that matter) but I don’t like myself, am I really happy?

We live in a technology-driven, ADHD world of nonconnection … plugged in and tuned out. I firmly believe it’s time to unplug and tune in … tune in with some real flesh and blood friends who truly care and are there when we need them.

I don’t want thousands of friends on Facebook. I want real friends … a dozen flesh and blood comrades in arms who will call me up periodically and invite me to do things with them. “Hey, Lori Lynn, Chris Botti is going to be in town. Want to go see him?” “Hey, Lori Lynn, I feel the need to go Christmas shopping in Chicago. Want to go?” “Hey, Lori Lynn, I’m contemplating signing up for a mission trip to India. You game?” To each of these, I would answer a resounding, “YES, definitely!”

I’m tired of being lonely. I’m tired of not having anyone to connect with in the flesh, so here’s what I’m planning to do for starters:

  • Contact a handful of high school friends, whom I haven’t seen in years, and invite them to my home for an evening of fun;
  • Start a weekly Bible study in my home to connect with a number of people I’ve met at various churches in my area;
  • Initiate new friendships by beginning a monthly book club.

I’m not a terribly social person … I tend to be an introvert … but I’m an introvert who needs to know I belong … that I matter to someone. I need to know there is someone out there who understands me or, if they don’t, are honest enough to say, “Ya know, I have no idea what you’re going through right now, but I’m here for you. How can I help?” Unfortunately, I don’t have many of those people in my life at this point; and I think what is so depressing about that is the fact that I was brought up to be that kind of person (which I was until the majority of people I encountered in life were more than happy to receive my help but weren’t able to reciprocate when I was the one needing help). Constantly meeting other people’s needs while your own continue to go unmet leads to burnout rather quickly.

A huge contributing factor to why my marriage ended after 22 years had to do with so much of this. My husband and I never went out with other couples; we rarely went out period. I longed to connect with another human being; my husband was content connecting to a computer or TV screen.

God designed us as relational beings … first and foremost to be in relationship with Him, yes, but also to be in relationship with others. It’s why He gave Eve to Adam. We need one another. We need encouragement when times are tough. We need hugs when we are hurting. We need companionship when we are lonely. A cyber hug just won’t do!

Lori Lynn

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Dear LORD … Thank you for loving me and being my friend. I know You are always there for me and listen intently when I talk to You. You know my heart and the loneliness I feel. So today, LORD, I come before You and lay my loneliness at Your feet. I pray that You would send friends into my life … new friends as well as old … friends to laugh with, hands to hold, and arms to embrace me. I pray that they would be a support and encouragement to me, and I pray that I might be the same for them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Rejection


The one thing everybody’s looking for is unconditional love. We all need somebody to love us just the way we are – Joyce Meyer

There are days that just lend themselves to moments of reflection… when we look back over our lives and see things that maybe weren’t quite so obvious at the time or that, when taken together, impact us in such a way that we realize our perception of things may be a bit skewed.  There may be a moment that has such a significant impact on us that it forever changes how we view ourselves and those around us.  For me, that moment happened when I was in the sixth grade.

Everyone in my grade signed an “I-Hate-Lori Lynn” petition–everyone, that is, except for one other girl who was also an outcast at the time.  I was devastated.  Even though everything pretty much blew over by the end of that summer and I was friends with everyone again in seventh grade, it had a profound effect on me.  It has caused me to spend the majority of my life thinking people don’t like me.  I have spent a large majority of time thinking there is something wrong with me.  I have often felt that I’m not good enough.  It is only now that I am getting older that I realize it doesn’t matter so much, because we are all flawed in some way.  The older I get, the more I realize almost everyone deals with low self-esteem or insecurity at some point in their life.  Despite that realization, I still have moments of sadness and loneliness that stem from that root of rejection.

Rejection causes us to act weird.  We may try too hard to make or maintain friendships.  We may be afraid to speak up, too timid to make a suggestion or give our opinion on something.  We may fall into a pit of despair.  We see everything we’re “not” instead of the beautiful creation that we are.  I heard Joyce Meyer say once that it is proven that at any given point in time, there are always going to be 10% of people who will not like you.  Instead of lamenting that statistic, I have learned to view it in a different light.  I now say to myself, “Well, too bad for that person.  It’s their loss!”

The father of the man I dated before I met my husband absolutely hated me (more rejection).  I never quite understood why, as he never had an opportunity to get to know me very well.  He had formed some preconceived idea of me and refused to get to know me better to see whether or not his preconception was accurate.  That bothered me for years, especially since I really wanted to marry his son.  I always thought I wasn’t good enough for this very well-to-do family.  I thought the flaw was in me.  I found out later that the man was an atheist.  When I found that out, my first thought was, “Good grief, no wonder he didn’t like me!”  What I find really amazing is how God was using my encounter with that man to change me on the inside.  A few years ago, when that man was dying, I felt so compelled to pray for him.  God laid on my heart this intensity to pray that I had never felt before.  As much as I disliked that man here on earth, because I saw him as a barrier to my having a permanent relationship with his son, I nonetheless sure hope I see him once I enter the pearly gates of heaven.  I am hoping that for a few minutes before he breathed his last bit of air here on earth that he had an encounter with the Lord that forever changed his place in eternity; and how awesome would that be if my prayers made an impact on his final dwelling place.

Any time we enter into a relationship with someone, we risk potential rejection.  We have to ask ourselves, is it worth the risk.  Is my desire to know this person more important than the potential risk of rejection?  What do I have to lose?  What do I have to gain?

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to lay myself bare before someone I had been in a relationship with in my 20’s, a relationship that ended too soon due to a rash decision on my part.  This was a person I loved deeply, and I had never completely worked through my feelings for him.  I was able to express my feelings and give him the opportunity to do the same.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t in the same place I was, and there was nothing for him to say.  I’m not sure if I was looking for closure or if I was looking for love, but it didn’t take long for the old feelings of rejection to surface.  I realize now that the feelings I thought were there on a mutual level probably were never there to begin with; and I guess more than anything that makes me sad.  Whereas I often long for what was, I am realizing perhaps the majority of it was just in my mind.  Reality can really bite sometimes.

I tried explaining to my husband when he was home this past week that part of what I long for is to matter.  I want to matter to someone.  I want to matter to the world around me.  I want to help people and make a difference in their lives.  I wonder sometimes if perhaps I’m my own worst enemy.  Have I let the rejection in my past prevent me from taking hold of the love of those around me?  Do I have a tendency to reject myself and, due to a fear of more rejection from others, beat them to the draw so to speak by projecting rejection onto myself before they can do it?

We can let rejection define who we are, or we can ask God to open our eyes to Truth.  It may be that there is something we need to change about ourselves, because our behavior is abrasive or repulsive to those around us.  That conviction is necessary in order to make a change.  On the other hand, it may be that there is something in the other person’s past that causes them to see us inaccurately.  Then the problem isn’t with us; it’s with the other person.  The best thing we can do in that case is pray (continue to be kind and considerate in the meantime).

I am learning that if a relationship is part of God’s plan for my life, it will come to pass.  I am also learning that it isn’t so important what other people think about me; what’s important is what I think about myself and what God thinks about me.  After all, I am blessed to be chosen by the King.

Wrapped in His embrace…

Lori Lynn

Dear LORD, when I am feeling rejected, help me remember that I am chosen by You.  Remind me again that You love me.  Wrap me in a holy hug and warm me with an extra measure of Your Spirit’s presence.  I love you, LORD.  Amen.

 

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