If you were a child of the ’60s then surely you’ve (and loved) the famous Billy Joel song ‘I love you just the way you are’. And that’s the kind of love I always thought I should look for and offer. It was only recently, through some very hard times, that I realized something different. I have come to appreciate the love that looks past the excuse, “This is me. Love me for who I am.”
Aha. I’ve got your attention haven’t I? Yes, what I’m about to say seems the opposite of our culture of love that tells us we must accept everyone just the way they are.
Love Me For Who I Am Is Crap!
Over the past few years, José had been challenging me about certain changes and decisions I needed to make to be happier and more at peace. I kept resisting, offering all kinds of excuses, telling him he didn’t understand me and finally giving him that wonderful line, “This is who I am. You should be used to it by now.”
To his credit, while not labouring the point, every time I faced an issue because of my inaction and indecisiveness, he presented me with the solution again. He would then reissue the challenge for me to act. It was his constant voice in my ear that finally made me take the drastic measures I did. I can’t tell you how much freedom flowed out of my choice. I wondered why I hadn’t acted sooner. I had no excuses.
By constantly showing me another way of behaving, another set of choices, José challenged me to grow. Isn’t that love?
None of us should be content being exactly as we are, without growth in our life. We must want the people who love us to challenge us to grow.If love is not challenging the other to grow, then it is merely tolerance and disinterest. Click To Tweet
It is important then, that we seek the kind of love that challenges us. We must not want others to ‘love’ all the wonky parts of us that we have the power to change and fix. We must be willing to learn from our significant others (spouses, partners, soulmates, friends).
And as people who love, we must be willing to be gentle ‘teachers’ who challenge our significant others to grow.
With Mother’s Day just over, it would be nice to think of the love of a good mother. Is she satisfied with her child being ‘just the way s/he is’? If she did, imagine the chaos with all of us crawling around (maybe still wearing diapers?) and being babies!Genuine love must certainly be the kind that gently, yet firmly, challenges us to become the best version of ourselves.Click To Tweet
Would love to have your thoughts on this.
PS: Please note I am not talking about anyone with any form of mental illness or depression.
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Billy Joel and his silky voice …. who can forget those words . You’re absolutely right no one really loves you just the way you are and we should take suggestions to improve in the right spirit . We all have scope to change, grow and improve and only our near and dear ones can see and dare to tell us so . And as a mum am I glad my kids have grown and not remained what they were when I first saw them …. and there are also times when I don’t love them just the way they are as I’m sure they feel the same about me !
Ah yes. I agree with you here. Song lyrics and memes just present an oversimplified aspect of certain things. While love should not force you to change as a person, it should help you to improve and grow into the best version of yourself. I do agree, “love me as I am” is oversimplified and not practical, or real! Our partners should encourage us to grow.
It’s a powerful love that accepts and affirms the beloved “as-is,” while always holding them to a higher standard and believing they have the ability to become more and better.
I know what you mean. Many times I also fall in the trap of being who I’m but then if I’m not willing to push my boundaries for my own sake, no one else can do that. VT and I have accepted each other but we also share our lessons and help each other become better versions of ourselves.
I loved how honestly you penned this, Corinne.
All of us think it, but thank you for saying it. Just recently I had to make a decision to be a mean mom. I had to push my daughter, though I knew it hurt her.That push was long overdue but it was because I loved her that I could do it.
It made sense as I read the post, Corinne. ‘Love me for who I am’ made sense to me . But as you explained it the other side is true too. Only don’t push me hard, be gentle.
absolutely, and sadly, agree! seen the whole ‘love me as i am’ even brandished as a weapon to make people accept the person rather than taking it as a growth opportunity.
‘Love Me For Who I Am Is Crap!’ different (for a change) and challenging thought, and I love it! However, the person who loves you should be a little patient as growth is a slow process. 😉
Makes sense, Corinne.
S is the rational and practical one in our relationship. Whenever I sulk or complain, he is the one who talks sense, urges me to see sense but being as impulsive as I am I rarely do. But yes, everytime I have acted on his advice, I have definitely improved and solved my problems. So, I understand where you are coming from.
This is so thoughtful.. Even i used be the kind of love me for who i am type.. Some life lessons of conditional and unconditional love changed my thoughts..
When I read the title I was sure I would contradict to your thought. But after reading this .. I am bit convinced .. I must say its a great piece written
Ah, glad I converted you! Just kidding.
I’m all for self-acceptance and accepting others – but we also need to make space for growth. Thanks for stopping by!
It was a pleasure to read you
…and I swear by each word you’ve written here. P is definitely the rational one. I sometimes wonder how he maintains his cool when I sulk or yell for nothing. I used to hate “accepting” and acknowledging the solutions he gave, but yeah, whenever I did I always felt much better. What a great read, Corinne!
Ah.. I really think loving someone the way they are is utopian. If it did exist we moms won’t push our children to be like the others, we would accept them for their weaknesses. Accept them the way they are. Don’t think it exists..