Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

Self-Concept Thursday!

By January 27th, 20219 Comments
Self-Concept Thursday!

Is Your Love Love?

by Leandra of

So much of our worlds are inherited. Often times, what we think about ourselves, about others, how we behave and cope with emotional stress, our expectations as it relates to career, love, and life in general, and so much more are all passed down to us from the people we interact with and from what we read or hear. Children are perfect little recorders of their environments. They pick up the vocabulary, the dialect, and all the subtleties of the human behavior surrounding them. Because of that, the emotional space a child grows up in plays a major role in how they experience and demonstrate their emotions throughout life.

My last relationship was my first adult relationship, and I went into it stumbling, wanting this love, yet very fearful. Much of the time we were together, instead of placing my trust in my partner and what we were building, I was afraid to really open myself up and let him in, let him know where I’d been and what I battled with. In being dishonest with myself, I was dishonest with him. I thought I knew how to love, but I didn’t. The reality was that I didn’t know how to love myself, so I didn’t know how to love him and I felt sort of inept the whole time we were together. Why couldn’t I open up? Why couldn’t I articulate my feelings? Why was I so afraid to be vulnerable and discuss my emotions? Why couldn’t I treat him the way he deserved to be treated?
One word: dysfunction. I was dysfunctional.
My journey has brought me back home for a little while and as uncomfortable as being here has been for me, I understand the importance of this return, especially as it relates to understanding my dysfunction. In true “there’s got to be something wrong with me” fashion, I initially owned it, as though I taught it to myself how to be dysfunctional. But I didn’t; like so many others in the world, I inherited it.
Why must we be the change we wish to see in the world? Because we don’t even recognize who all is watching and learning from us, and we don’t know exactly what they’re learning. I inherited my parents’ emotional limitations. Keeping everything bottled in was a norm. So were explosive reactions, yelling, not communicating at all, making a scene of being upset yet unwilling to discuss why, being hurtful because we were hurt. It was a mess. And only now as I unfurl all this emotional junk do I understand how I can never have a healthy relationship with these behavioral patterns.
We’ve all heard that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Unfortunately, for some reason, many people believe they’re like dogs and that their personalities, after a certain point, become static. That is only true for the person who accepts it as true. In reality, we always have the power to change. Growing pains seem to keep so many stagnant, despite the rewards being worth the challenges several times over.
Continuous self-analysis is a permanent part of growth. Whatever doesn’t grow is dead. Open yourself up to more life by constantly analyzing yourself and seeing where you can grow and improve weaknesses. The way you love will be how you teach your children to love. The way you love yourself is the way you will love others. The solution to almost everything in the world is more self-love. The more you love yourself, the deeper your capacity to honestly love others. The more love others feel, the more they learn how to return it and do; it’s cyclical. Let’s be conscious to pass on love, not dysfunction.


  • Anonymous says:

    Strong, powerful, wonderfully put,.. are some of the terms that come to mind as I think back over the words you used to invite us in to share your feelings and experiences..for which I feel privileged,.. seldom have I witnessed a woman saying that perhaps it was her to blame for a relationship not going as well as it should have.. Well I'm pleased to commend you on your personal growth, because it takes a lot of strength and inner resolve to admit that you had the chance to do better but didn't for some reason.. Well I am personally inspired. You move me to want to listen more to what a woman is saying about her feelings when she is able to open up and share.. now I know more of how important it is to just listen to her.. So thanks for being so real,. your beautiful.. John T.

  • Nicole says:

    Leandra…this was a great peice of writing. Being honest about where we are and moving forward is so important. Hopefully I can encourage you in the journey.

    I am now married to the man of my dreams, but before and even during our dating relationship, I struggled with the same issues you describe. It wasn't until I proceeded in spite of the fear that I could have the relationship I so craved.

    I resolved before meeting Mr. R to act counter to "the voice" no matter what. I resolved that I was done acting the way I thought I should and would be honest with my partner. How could I expect a man to really know, love and accept me when I didn't?

    For example, there came a time pretty early in our relationship when I came clean and told Mr. R., "When I close my eyes and see my dream scenerio, it's just you and me; not you, me and the 2 other chicks you are dating." It wasn't an ultimatum or an accusation. It was a fact. I knew I could not proceed further than where we were as long as I wasn't the only one.

    I braced myself to be crushed if he still wanted to play the field and even though I thought I was shaking all over, I knew I wouldn't cheat myself by not being honest about where I was. I put it out there and let it go. Within the month, without protest or fanfare, he told the others he was taken and I had my wish.

    5 years later he still quotes that conversation as a game changer for him. And because we both try to operate in honesty, we both have a partner we KNOW we can depend on even in the face of large obsticles like cancer (current hurdle we are jumping).

    Keep up the good work. You won't be sorry.

  • leandra says:

    Brandi, "I am not a woman that should be dysfunctional!" No you're not! 🙂 Dysfunction is so commonplace, it often goes unrecognized. But identification is the beginning to a new start. So cheers to us all!

    Simone, hi! Thank you! Feeling spirits isn't weird at all…it's a gift. Thank you for connecting with my openness! It always feels quite vulnerable putting my innermost thoughts and struggles out "there", but I know that there's a purpose and value in it. I'm not alone. None of us are, and the more open we are about what we're really dealing with, the better our chances of overcoming, I believe. I hope. 🙂

    Thank you all for reading and commenting. We'll get there. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    So true, beautifully stated, and very honest. Thank you!

  • Anonymous says:

    So beautiful. Lessons that everyone, men and women, need to internalize. Please continue to share your thoughts and life lessons!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for writing about this. I feel I am living this dysfunctional journey at this very moment. Your article is very inspirational. I'm ready to make some changes in my life so I can be open to loving others and most importantly having self love for myself. This is right on time for me. Thank you for sharing!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    This should be in Essence somewhere. This is raw and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous says:

    Ms. Leandra…

    From the moment we met at the awesome Maxwell concert…I felt your spirit (sounds weird I know). You are beautiful inside and out and you have a true talent for writing. I just want to thank you for being so open and honest…you words are powerful. "Whatever doesn't grow is dead"….***bookmarking that***

    ~Simone "the younger fraternal twin"

  • Brandi - BnNappy says:

    You've just taught me a valuable lesson… I want to love people and myself, the way that I want to teach my children to love. I am not a woman that I should be dysfunctional!! Because God is love, He has promised me Love, and Love conquers all things… I refuse to settle for anything less than what God has promised me! Today, I start a journey of self love that I may show and teach others how to love. Thank you for the inspiration today. I most graciously appreciate it.

Leave a Reply