Knowing you’re loved and feeling loved are not identical.
What feels like love to you?
If your spouse tells you that your haircut isn’t flattering, does that feel like love?
If after a long night with a wide-awake baby, your friend tells you that you aren’t a good friend because you canceled your coffee date, does that feel like love?
You can know someone loves you, even when they are distant or cruel or telling you hard truths. It won’t feel like love but their love can be cognitively accepted. We go to therapy to understand that the love offered missed the mark emotionally, but we can accept that it was real.
But to FEEL loved? That’s something else. When you feel loved, you don’t need therapy to tell you that what is being expressed is love. It takes no work to feel it. That kind of love is a balm, a pleasurable experience—it delivers:
- and trust.
The best news?
To show love is easy. It requires no flowers or candy.
Your child is giving you clues to their inner world every day. Sometimes we’re exhausted by the acts of love and service we offer freely—washing clothes, tying their shoes, making them delicious food. Even as those are loving, for a child to feel loved, they need something else.
They want a kind, listening ear—a person who will hold space for their:
- and wishes.
Kids feel loved when they feel free to be known as themselves.
The challenge, of course, is not running ahead to solutions or worries of your own. It’s a shift to get behind your child’s eyes to see the reasonableness of their point of view. It doesn’t have to be the right point of view—just that given all that the child knows today, this is how they see what they see.
This means sitting on the tendency to have words. Let’s get quieter and kinder and more spacious and more attentive. Let’s work on doing less and loving more.
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!