Loving vs. Serving vs. People Pleasing


Dear Brooke,
First, a giant THANK YOU for giving of your self and your wisdom in this amazing program. I am putting my all into it, and really loving this work.

Between day 18 and day 19’s work on my husband, and yesterday’s podcast on how to be a good mate and that workbook assignment, I feel like my mind is exploding (which must be a good thing, right…) But I feel so confused.
Yesterday I wrote that “I guess I don’t show up knowing that my loveability is 100%… I fear rejection, and (mis)interpret his actions/words to MEAN something negative about myself. Yes, I try to get him to love me more by being as perfect as I can, not wanting to cry/emote too much, feeling shame when I do, etc. I try to be more like him, calm and capable and hardworking, but it is because I feel that I need to prove myself as worthy to him, to live up to his (unstated) ideals. It works until it doesn’t.”
HO. LY. SHIT.
I often think that I love him no matter what, but that there is something wrong with me, that he doesn’t love me. (Despite evidence to the contrary!)
Finding these thoughts, and seeing it as a pattern throughout our ten years of marriage, is rather huge!

With that in mind, in today’s work on how I want to feel, act, show up, and give to this person, I wrote “I want to show up willingly, honestly, and authentically, not from a place of fear or trying to prove myself worthy of him.”
I see him as amazing, and love him unconditionally.
My problem is not in loving him for who he is, but believing that he loves me for who I am. (and they are probably related?). I see now that I’ve always had a manual for myself, and how I should be as a “good wife”, and a good person. And it is long and intense! I’m a perfectionist, and thought that when I make mistakes or get weepy or don’t look pretty enough, or whatever, that I’m not deserving of his love. I didn’t realize that I was thinking it, but now it seems obvious.

Moving forward, trying not to beat myself up…

I had so much trouble with the workbook assignment after listening to the podcast. When you talk about putting effort into loving them, and showing up as who you want to be, I am hearing this as “I should do better. I should be better. I should try harder…I’m not good enough.” I know that your answer will be to do models on these thoughts, and believe me I do and I will!

In response to “when you love someone, what exactly does that mean to you?” I kept coming up with ways of SERVING them. Doing things for them. Trying to make them happy. In my mind, that is all totally tangled. Like, I wrote for what I want to offer my husband, what I want to give him, that “I want to provide him with healthy food, clean clothes, and a peaceful pleasant home.” This is service, and meeting his needs, and I believe that we naturally do that when we love people, especially our children.
But I think part of me, maybe from religious upbringing, equates love to active service. Maybe it is?
I’m just not sure that that is what you would recommend, seeing love as service? some of which is necessary, and some of which is an attempt to please?
Couldn’t that become a slippery slope to never doing it right and never doing enough, and wanting to please, self sacrifice, overworking, and so on?

Up until now, my loving actions towards my husband, although I do authentically love him, were with the subconscious intent of trying to get him to love me enough. Which I never fully believe.

I see my work is cut out for me. Thank you in advance for your response, and feel free to edit shorter if you want!
Anna