When Will I Be Loved?


baby-crying-1024x710Late at night a baby cries out in hunger. The exhausted face of its young mother appears over the top of the crib. She thrusts a bottle of cold milk in the baby’s hands and hurries away. Alone, yearning for the softness and warmth of her mother, the baby greedily drinks the milk while a tiny portion of her soul’s light flickers and fades.

A toddler taking his first steps crashes into a table and breaks a lamp.  “Now look what he’s done,” his father shouts at his mother.  “I paid good money for that lamp,” he yells as he storms out of the room. The confused child sees the hurt and fear in his mother’s eyes and begins to wail.

A third-grader on the playground says to her friend, “Look what I can do!” and executes a dance move she saw on TV.  A sixth-grader nearby rolls her eyes and says scornfully, “Trust me. You’ll never be a dancer. You’re too fat. They have to be skinny and pretty. Like me.” She leaves without seeing the death of innocence on the little girl’s face.

“Can I play?” a boy asks some neighborhood kids. When a baseball rolls his way he tentatively tosses it back. “You throw like a girl,” jeers an older boy. There’s laughter. Someone taunts, “Sissy girl. Sissy girl.” The boy runs home so they won’t see him crying.

“See my muscles, Daddy?” a ten year old girl says, flexing her biceps proudly. Her father looks away and says, “You smell sweaty. Better go take a bath.” “And brush your teeth,” her mother calls after her.  “You won’t catch a husband smelling like that!” As their daughter heads for the bathroom, the pleasure she felt in her strong and healthy body is erased by shame.

girl_journal_writing“I want to be an astronaut,” a 13 year old boy shyly admits after a lesson on astronomy. “It’s time you faced facts kid,” says the discouraged teacher of this unruly class of low achievers. “You’re an average student at best. And I happen to know that the men in your family have never amounted to much.”  The boy feels the place inside that was left empty by the loss of his beautiful dream filling with ugly resentment.

Sitting alone in her room on prom might, an introverted honors student writes in her diary: All my friends have boyfriends. Why don’t I? What’s the matter with me? Am I too serious? Too boring? Will any man ever love me?  Fearing to test her divorced mother’s emotional fragility, she suffers silently.

“When will I be loved?” asked Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers in their 1960 hit song.

I’ve been made blue, I’ve been lied to
When will I be loved
I’ve been turned down, I’ve been pushed around
When will I be loved

When I meet a new girl that I want for mine
She always breaks my heart in two, it happens every time
I’ve been cheated, been mistreated
When will I be loved

When will I be loved? If we’re like that lonely honors student, musically gifted teen-aged boy, or any of these wounded people, we probably believe the answer to that question is, “When I make people love me by showing them the false self they want to see.”

Unfortunately, that’s the wrong answer.  The correct one, the one that leads to a love-filled, self-fulfilled life, is, “When I become the true self I’ve been denying and discard the false self I’ve created.”

The hungry baby deserved her mother’s full attention, but the mother was too wounded by her own inadequate mothering to give it to her.

The toddler’s first steps should have been celebrated with looks of delight, but when he gazed into the mirrors of his harried parents’ faces he saw only anger and fear.

The dancing girl could have been appreciated for her enthusiastic efforts, but the mean girl was too insecure and intimidated by the perfectionistic standards of the adults she knew to feel compassion for someone who clearly fell short of their ideal.

The more experienced kids could have shown the tentative boy how to throw a ball, but in their desire to impress each other and the adult males in their lives they imitated their demeaning and disrespectful attitudes toward girls and less athletic boys.

And so it goes. Many of us cover them up quite well, but all of us, children and adults alike, suffer from secret wounds that make us feel unlovable. And unfortunately, the less lovable we believe we are, the less able we are to love.

When will I be loved?  When I stop showing others a false self, they will see my true self. When I listen to my true self, others will listen to me. When I respect myself, others will respect me. When I love myself, I will be loved. And I will love.


“When Will I Be Loved” was Written by Phil Everly • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Image Credits: Crying Baby, Google Images, quantum books.com. Girl Writing in Journlal, Google Images, Splicetoday.com.

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0 Responses

  1. Ah, Jeanie–so many, many small woundings that we all share and that are, in reality, so huge. And we tuck them into secret, dark places –hide them not only from others, but from ourselves, in the hope that we can somehow erase them. Your article today has touched so many wounds–and opens the door for transparency and healing.

    1. Thanks, Diane. Yes, it’s about opening that door isn’t it. The one covered in cobwebs with rusty hinges and a stuck lock that’s been closed for way too long. Opening it to free its contents is an act of strength and courage that can have positive repercussions far into the future.

  2. Just so very sad. If only we were more aware of how we cause wounding that is introjected into others would we stop? Maybe not, if we still carry the hurt from our own circumstances. ‘If only’ are the saddest two words.
    We have to work at healing our wounding, allow our vulnerabilities to surface, no longer keeping them secret where they fester.
    Thank you Jeannie for such a graphic post.

    1. It is sad. I do think most of us would stop, or at least try to, if we truly and fully felt our own pain. But I think we have to stop denying it and admit to it first.
      Here’s how I see it: It’s like at some early point in our lives the hurting one in us begins to create this inner warrior to hide behind. And with every hurt our warrior grows bigger and tougher and starts going around paying everyone back and putting everyone in his/her place and finding subtle or not-so-subtle ways to hurt those who hurt us until at last the hurting one stands up and says, “Okay, enough. I’m really hurting here and I can’t hide any more.” So it asks the warrior to turn around and help it instead of hurting others. So the warrior gets a new job: to open the prison door and pick up the hurting one and carry it outside to freedom and give it the strength it needs to face the world openly. And when that happens, the warrior becomes one who helps instead of harming others. It becomes a healer.

  3. Beautiful. Thank you. A lifetime of unlearning and vulnerability and embrace, isn’t it? You said: “The correct one, the one that leads to a love-filled, self-fulfilled life, is, “When I become the true self I’ve been denying and discard the false self I’ve created.”” Indeed.
    I met with three old junior high/high school friends last week (we’ve recently reconnected since I moved to within a 5 hour drive of them), and it was painful at times but also cathartic. None of us were the “popular” girls, we were the outsiders who limped into a small circle of kindred spirits, supporting each other during traumatic adolescence. Anyway, one of them was talking of her disgust with those who “dwell on the past.” But, as we continued talking, and teased apart what “dwelling” meant to each of us, we came to mutual understanding of how to dwell with the intention of healing, rather than dwell in the wounding. Such a different energy then!

    1. Hi Darla, Thank you for sharing your beautiful example of the healing way to revisit or “dwell” on past wounds. So often people think it’s a sign of weakness, victimhood, immaturity or self-absorption without realizing there’s also a healthy, healing way.
      Another example of the kind of either/or thinking that is an obstacle to wholeness. I suspect those who believe in the unhealthiness of revisiting past wounds have adopted this attitude as a smokescreen to cover up their own pain and justify their unwillingness to revisit it. Most of us think that if we just use our willpower to forget past hurts they’ll go away. I find it especially beautiful and hopeful that you and your old friends were able to stay with this topic long enough for everyone to see the two ways of interpreting it. What a beautiful example of how to heal a sacred divide!!
      So yes, it takes a lifetime of unlearning and vulnerability and embrace. And no one else can do it for us. Our life, our journey, our job. The one we were made for.
      Blessings to you too,

  4. You’ve described the hunger to be affirmed and loved by the other with images of rejection and disappointment I/we know well. The death of the partner who loved and affirmed me every day challenged my longing for outer love and affirmation. Withdrawal was long and painful but it forced me to turn to the Self for love. One of the main tasks of this widowed life has been to fully love and honor myself. I’m working on it.

    1. Well done, wise woman. You have learned the lessons of loss and descent well and remain open to continued growth. You are an inspiration to all of us.

  5. Oh boy, do I remember that song by the Everly Brothers from 8th grade in school. The lesson about loving myself and not being what others wanted, a “people pleaser” didn’t register until I broke with my ten year partner, and we both went our own way. Rather than enrolling myself in grief, I said to myself, “There’s something I have to learn here.” Simply put, it was to love myself unconditionally and be my own parent and stop with the internal self-criticism. What helped me at the time was reading a book and following a ten week process. The book was “The Presence Process” by Michael Brown who healed himself of Horton’s disease by developing his ten week program and writing that book. It made all the difference in my life. I am now a published writer and following my dream.
    I appreciate your sharing your wisdom on this too. I still wish to keep growing and learning, though I am a lot older now.

    1. Thank you for writing and sharing your story. I know it’s helpful to many readers who’ve struggled with the same issue. Obviously, I have. I have a few years on you, (I was a senior in high school when the Everly brothers popularized this song) and I can assure you, I’m still growing and learning, and wouldn’t have it any other way! Becoming who we were born to be is is a lifelong journey. Blessings.

  6. Perhaps it’s not as simple as “become the true self I’ve been denying” if our true self is, as it often seems to be, a vague outline, with no clear connections between dots. I’ve often felt that I live a role for which no script was provided (at least to me). Perhaps we each need to learn to listen to our own urgings and then ask them, So, How?

    1. Well, yes, you’re right, of course. There’s nothing simple about becoming one’s true self. Which is why I write this blog; to share what I’m learning about this work of a lifetime! 🙂 You speak for all of us when you say you’ve often felt you live a role with no script. The only one anyone lives is the one our culture writes for us until we awaken to our inner urgings and start taking them seriously—as you aptly express with your self-reflective question, “So, How?” I assume the rest of your question would be, “…do I develop and manifest my true self? When I asked myself this question the answer that arrived was, “Record and work with your dreams, for they are the voice of the unseen presence within and your guide to authenticity.” Thanks for writing, Jean. (I like your name. There are so few ‘Jeans’ still around these days.)

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