How I Feel About How I Show Love
I am extremely good at being extremely hard on myself.
This can drive close friends and family crazy.
The good news is, I’m getting better at noticing when I’m doing it to myself. I’m also getting better at noticing when I’m getting snappy with loved ones as a result of being hard on myself.
For example: I often show love for my husband by cooking for him. Or baking for him. Or cleaning for him and otherwise doing household chores he’s completely capable of so he can relax when he gets home. I think, in part, I do it because it’s good to do things to help out and I like them done a certain way, so… it lessens arguments. I also do these things because my mom (and dad, sometimes) did them – an example was set. Also, I must admit I love the good feedback of compliments and gratitude. (This tastes good, sweetheart, thank you! The kitchen looks great! You worked really hard! Would you please make me X dessert soon?)
But. I also slowly start to resent it when good feedback doesn’t occur, or if the occasional turnabout doesn’t occur. And since I set up a sequence where I’m the one who does those things, it’s a jerk move to resent something when I haven’t communicated that I’d like a break in doing the things. (I think I missed the communication part between mom and dad, so in my head, partners just notice when the other person needs a break. And yeah, sometimes, but in real life it’s better if we communicate.) Now, luckily, doing a thing that sort of drives me crazy (scheduling the dinner menu for the week) has a nice side effect of being able to communicate that certain days might be more ripe for him to cook or us to go out to eat. It’s also better for budgeting for grocery items.
The thing is, I love that I can bake a consistently decent pumpkin pie. Even the one pumpkin pie I made in the last couple years that didn’t taste good had a perfect consistency. (Bad can of pumpkin. Didn’t taste like anything. Taught me to ALWAYS taste the pumpkin puree before I add anything else.) I love that Terry’s face dissolved into a big grin and I hear a woah-ho-ho! when he walks into the house to the smell of that or apple pie or molasses cookies. I don’t love that I get tired of doing it, and thus don’t want to. I don’t love that it adds to my waistline (and honestly, probably his).
So it’s complicated.
I have a similar love/hate with a very clean house. It doesn’t last long, will need redone quickly, and is a pointless exercise in those regards. But. Someone besides me can find things if they’re in their place (not everyone’s brain can handle organized chaos), it’s less anxiety-making to walk/live in a decluttered place, and it’s healthier for the cats.
I suspect everyone has things about the way they show love/caring for others they love and they hate. I don’t think it’s individual to me. But lately, when I really wish it was easier to lose weight and eat healthy – but comfort food is so reassuring after long stressful days, I really hate how I express love via food the most. And I blame myself for being stupid enough to express love that way, because in the end, I hate myself for being heavy.
What about you?