…life started to happen along with fear (and lots of it) which gave birth to lies, rejection, abandonment, sorrow, anger, violence, guilt, shame, loneliness, insecurity, control, greed, envy, vanity, lust, disconnection… you get the picture. Pandora’s box became rampant. Amidst all of this chaos we learned to adopt some of these mechanisms to avoid pain. We learned to give love only when we were sure (or thought we were) we’d receive it back, otherwise we’d be terrified of being hurt if love was not returned. When this happened (at least in our perception) we gradually shut down and reinforced our belief.
We learned to control situations and people to avoid pain and disconnection. We created an image of how people should treat us (love us) and if they skewed that vision we would feel anger, resentment and shame thinking that we didn’t ‘meet the standards’… ‘that we’re not enough’ which becomes our visceral chant and most painful predicament. And so we disconnect. We use numbness at best and violence at worst as our swords to avoid pain, never truly finding joy and peace thus, creating holes in our heart paired with anger and frustration.
The feelings of rejection and abandonment as the aftermath of all this tainted learning process creates more holes and cracks in our once whole heart, which we so desperately need to fill and so the delusion begins…
We search for love anywhere we can find it, by any means, at any costs and sometimes as a result of this we’re stuck believing that love is temporary and conditional, which is in fact the total opposite. We become needy and codependent on people, things and/or situations in our desperate attempt to fill the holes in our heart. The problem arises when these people, situations and things fail to provide the love that we want (or think we need) we become offended, irritable and resentful. We become prisoners of a roller coaster of emotions which ultimately leave us depleted and frustrated and always wanting more. More often than not, we turn to what I call ‘fast love’: excess or lack of nourishment, accumulating money, vices, illegitimate sex, workaholism, validation, admiration, perfectionism, body image, etc. just to discover (like the term implies) the temporary thrill these provide.
We need to notice that our real pain comes from the fear of giving to others the love we want from them. We are petrified of rejection first and foremost because it makes us believe that we are not worthy of love.
What we fail to realize is that we have the power within ourselves to fill the holes in our heart. We need to give ourselves the love and respect we so desperately want from others. We need to unlearn the mechanisms that we previously internalized when we started to receive conditional love from others and acknowledge the conditional love we give others as a result. In order to do this we need to summon the highest power within us – God. We need His guidance and support in this lifelong journey we so fiercely need to embark on. This transition from conditional to unconditional love is the only way of living the abundant life God intended us to live. But He requires us to want it above all else.
Even if others earnestly tried to love us with all their might, they wouldn’t be able to fill our void completely, if our heart is not filled first. Because we only accept from others the love we think we deserve.
Real love begins with self-love. When we learn to fill the holes and cracks in our heart with self provided love, we become less likely to expect others to do it for us. We seldom become interested in looking for love in things and situations that we know won’t provide the kind of love we’re looking for. We won’t be needy, therefore we won’t be resentful, angry, bitter or feel lonely when others fail to reciprocate our love. Our hearts will be filled with love, thus immune to fear which will lead us to provide unconditional love to others. We will set others free from the burden of making us happy, thus loving them in an unselfish way.
When this happens we’re ready to discover the meaning of pure joy and are able to understand the verse in Acts 20:35 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ We can’t give to others what we don’t have ourselves. If we have a heart filled with holes we will provide love with the purpose of expecting it in return. When our hearts are whole we become capable to provide selfless love (expecting nothing in return) just for the sheer joy of feeling it ourselves and benefiting those who receive it. This kind of love sets others free as opposed of binding them to cater our needs, desires and expectations. We will be capable of loving fearlessly knowing that if we don’t receive it in return it’s OK. Not everybody is ready to receive or accept unconditional love because most likely they lack it themselves. It has nothing to do with us or our self-worth.
Now getting from point A to point B is the journey of a lifetime. It is time to pack our bags and start the pilgrimage from our heads to our hearts. But cross a dessert we must. Which is to stop living the cheap illusion that our comfort zones provide. Vacations are over once we decide to take the plunge. This process requires to delve in the dark places of our souls to find and heal our underlying wounds. But we are not alone. Our highest self – God will accompany us in this process. He will guide us, enlighten us, wipe our tears, give us courage when there is none, provide rest, etc. All we need to do is want it badly enough through commitment, patience and knowledge. Educating ourselves through reading is cornerstone. I suggest the Bible and other literature that supports it. It also requires us to relinquish our desire for ‘fast love’ because it will lead us astray.
Self-knowledge, awareness, prayer, reading, meditation, alone time, being creative through any artistic talent, sharing our findings and practicing real love with others… Yikes! Are some of the ways to pursue our goal.
Every time we are rejected, abandoned or mistreated is an excellent opportunity to put into practice our new found knowledge. Like I said vacations are over.
The verse in Mark 12:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is a fact because you can only love others as you love yourself. Which means if you have trouble loving others, you should check in with your self-love. Even selfish people who assume that they love themselves more than others are wrong because selfishness is a product of fear and fear is the absence of love.
Whenever opportunities arise, specially painful ones, I practice a visualization technique to illustrate my train of thought. Every time I find myself unloved by others (this can take many forms) I think of my heart as being whole (even though I know in my heart of hearts it still needs plastering) and repeat to myself that I have all the love I need. That people’s lack of love has nothing to do with me. That most likely they need my unconditional love to learn how it’s done. And move on. I believe that by doing this it will only be a matter of time until unconditional love will be the only way to love ourselves and others.
This is the love we need.