How do you know if someone loves you?

Question posed to guests at Wellspring invoked personal reflection and deep conversation

Written by Courtney Mabie, women’s case manager

Earlier this month, I posted this question to the women at Wellspring— “How do you know if someone loves you?”

After leaving the question open for a few days, I read over the answers the guests provided. Through reading, two things became ever more apparent to me.

First, the female guests we serve have gone through very traumatic experiences, and now carry a tainted perspective with them. Secondly, every positive interaction with a staff member or volunteer alike helps the guests reframe their skewed perspectives.

The first answer I picked out of the jar said, “How do you know someone loves you?? I’m dying to find out…”.

More than half the answers to follow had something similar written in a lot more words. Some answers only connected intimacy to love, while some correlated abuse to love. After reading through these answers, I decided to have a very open conversation about this question. Through that conversation we could all resonate on one thing — their perspective on love is deeply intertwined and clouded with hurt and betrayal.

This could have happened after experiencing assault, physical abuse, or emotional trauma in relationships with people who they were meant to trust or thought would love them back. Our conversation then turned to how we can reframe the trauma responses surrounding love. One way, arguably one of the most important, is positive, healthy relationships in their lives. Whether that relationship is with a significant other, family member, friend, mentor, or community member, having positive experiences heals the heart.

That brings me to my second point — every interaction guests have with staff or volunteers can help provide that positive experience they long for. St John’s Ministries provides so much more than a place to sleep or a hot meal. When interacting with a guest, remember it could leave a lasting, positive, and healing memory. These connections help guests to switch from a mindset of betrayal to one of love.

Another answer submitted said, “They look at your soul and personality before looking on the outside. They give you time and effort.”

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