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  • Liz Lucas

Love is not transactional


The realization that I am loved beyond what I could comprehend came in a sudden crash of emotion. Now, I am not talking romantic love, I am talking other humans caring for me even when they know some of my not so cool traits.

I have had this false narrative going on that love is transactional. If I can provide some sort of thing of value like being a good athlete, doing more than my share of the responsibilities in a group THEN I might be liked or eventually loved. I recognized this story several years ago and ever sense I have been working to rewrite this narrative as I logically understand this is not the case but I didn’t fully understand it until just recently.

Here we are in New Zealand becoming awesome rock climbing badasses and I am having some sort of internal battle. In reflection it was the result of the P.O.P the pile on principle where it is not the single straw that breaks the camels back but the build up of things. There were 3 pressing things going on that I didn’t fully understand until it all just came out.

  1. I am struggling with a shoulder injury that holds me back from my full potential as a rock climber and a hiker (a weighted backpack is painful). AKA physical inadequacy

  2. It was my Grandpa’s birthday, the one who is at the core of my business who died almost 5 years ago. On his birthday I was at one of the most beautiful places just missing him. AKA an emotional day.

  3. I was neglecting my self care and putting my group in the forefront, not sleeping enough, taking on more responsibilities than I needed or wanted in order to “make-up” for what I couldn’t do for the team due to my injury to AKA self-sabotaging

I was about to start climbing, I got on the wall and was struggling and the pile on principle hit full on, I was not able to concentrate and zone in on the wall. I stepped back down to the ground, excused myself from my partner, grabbed my lunch and headed to the river to have a good cry and finally give myself some actual time for myself to sit with the feelings and work through it before heading back to the group.

In this come to Jesus moment it hit me like a pound of bricks, almost took the air out of me. THESE humans of my group love me for who I am PERIOD. I don’t need to do anything special or extra to be appreciated for who I am. They care for me no ifs ands or buts about it, there is no reason I need to “make-up” for my injury, they understand and will help me out, they are there to be the ears if I want to be supported during an emotional day, they don’t care if I can climb the wall, chop wood or carry group food on a hike. They care about me as a human and love my need to leave on time, to be responsible, to be a stickler on the budget, to speak my mind or to question how we do things. These same qualities that have ostracized me in groups in the past are what I am embraced for in this group.

Yes, the beginning stages fall on trust. The more I was able to set my boundaries prior to the program and the more I leaned into and expressed my thoughts and feelings from the beginning it allowed me to get to this point.

So what is the difference? The difference is ME. I have changed, I have allowed these people to embrace me for me, I have broken down the walls a bit to show more vulnerability than every before. I know that my community in Germany cares just the same as these people here but I never allowed them to see me fully vulnerable. I was finally able to let the wall down with these people and allow myself to feel the love of the group, ask for what I need and really know that I don’t need TO DO anything extra to earn their love. My presence is enough. This epiphany came flooding in, I allowed myself to experience all of these emotions sitting by the river, chatting it out with my grandfather who would have been 80 years old.

What a magical and emotional day it was.

Moral of the story: Often it is our own perceptions that hold us back from what we are willing to receive from others. We choose if we are worth being embraced by others or not. Having a clear set of boundaries allows one to lean into situations more and gives ones more freedom to accept support from the people around you. Building this mental skill takes time! However, knowing your tendencies can really help in working through these deep-rooted stories.


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