Love Notes and the Narcissist

love noteI stepped out of the shower this morning, head full of what to make for dinner; are they on track for home schooling; did I figure the taxes correctly; gotta order some firewood ….    And I found this on the bathroom floor — a love note from Jenny.  Sweet words sung to the tune of  ‘Clementine’.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Mark used to write me notes.  He wrote a lot of letters to me.   For obvious reasons, I can’t bring myself to look at them now.  But I remember they were quite wordy, windy, and showy.  I hadn’t ever received love letters before.  What did I know?  There’s the classic examples of love letters that you can find in literature.  To me, that’s a lot like the Latin Lover with the rose clenched between his teeth.  No thanks.  When I think back on Mark’s letters, I remember thinking that there was a lot of stuff about Mark in them.  It wasn’t so much about how fabulous I was, it was about how fabulous he was.  Maybe he saw the necessity, even then, in trying to convince me.

And he kept track of my responses to his letters.  He wouldn’t write to me, until he’d received a response to his most recent letter.  He was definitely keeping score.  At the time, I thought that there must be some sort of protocol for love-letter writing.  I know, now, that love isn’t about keeping score, it’s about giving freely with heartfelt intentions.  A genuine expression of love ought to be as innocent as a note from a child.  When Jenny penned that little note this morning, I’m positive she wasn’t thinking, “Okay, I’ll write this to mommy, but I sure hope she writes one back to me.”  That was not her motivation for writing the note.  She loves me, and wanted to tell me.  There’s no agenda.

But love is also about some measure of reciprocity.  It’s also about loving yourself, and realizing that you deserve love.  It’s not stomping your foot, demanding acknowledgment or recognition.  It is giving freely without expectation of return.  And love is also about respecting yourself enough to move on to something healthier when you keep giving, and getting nothing back.

When was the last time you wrote someone a love note?  Write a note to someone — maybe even to yourself.  It’s not as silly as it sounds.  It’s sending good words out there, that you deserve.  You can make it flowery, if you like that sorta thing.  Or make it straightforward and to-the-point.  Just don’t sit around waiting for a response.  That ruins the genuine intent of the whole thing.  And if your choice comes down to writing to yourself, or the narcissist in your life, please write to yourself.

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