For fear of not being loved
From the moment that we take our first breath in this world we are cared for. We are nourished and we are unconditionally loved. Absolutely no effort is needed on our part to receive these three simple things in life. At some point in our growth development we come to the realization, that we no longer have a free pass to these things because of our "just being" or our cuteness. When does a child suddenly realize that they must work for someone’s love and attention? When does a child learn that they must act or behave a certain way in order to be loved and accepted?
As we grow, we are always under the impression that love will make us happy. Our beliefs tell us that, this type of person, or that type of person will bring us happiness. What we don't seem to take into account, is that this is an impossibility. No one person can truly make us happy.
It’s been said that people tend to confuse love for need. When a person says I love you to someone, what they are really saying is; I need you. What we are honestly stating from the deepest parts of our soul is; I'll trade you. We will trade compliments for attention. We will provide a roof over someone’s head in exchange for their sexual pleasure. We will exchange house chores for food on our table. In the beginning the trading is always fair. What happens months into the relationship when the trade becomes uneven, unfair or one sided? What happens to the relationship when one or both partners are not holding up to this unspoken part of the trade deal.
Just like life, love is a wonderful illusion. Nowhere, have I heard it described better than by Spiritual teacher Michael Beckwith. Two fish have a relationship because of the ocean. They cannot get water from each other, but they can share the water and swim in it together. Individuals can't really get love from each other, that’s a myth, the fiction, and an illusion. Individuals can however share love, swim and bask in its glory together. In order to experience true love, we must learn to love ourselves unconditionally.
What does loving yourself look like? What is it that so many are missing that makes this task seems so hard to achieve? What would it look like if we had that self-love? What would you be capable of, if the fear of not being loved was not standing in your way?
Our three greatest fears as humans are: fear of abandonment, fear of not being loved and fear of failure. For the most part, the parents I know genuinely love their children and most couples I meet genuinely love each other. Most people I know or meet however have tendencies to hold back love, or not show love for fear that they will not receive it in return. Worse yet is the belief that they are not worthy of receiving love at all.
Some of the saddest words which I have heard recently came from 49-year old Demi Moore when she so honesty was quoted as saying: " I would say what scares me is that I'm going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I'm really not lovable, that I'm not worthy of being loved. That there's something fundamentally wrong with me ... that I wasn't wanted here in the first place.” Another sad example of this, where the words uttered by Kevin Costner at Whitney Houston's memorial service when he addressed her insecurities. Everyone loved and adored her and saw her as an icon. She was the biggest pop star in the world, but wasn't sure if she was good enough. Even though everyone loved her she had trouble loving herself.
I’d like to say that this problem effects woman more often than it affects men. But I don’t believe that statement to be true. I believe that this issue affects both sexes equally. In my opinion, most men just know how to hide it better than woman do. The fear of not being loved is implanted at a very early age and is extremely powerful. The Christian Author E. C. McKenzie said, “The loneliest place in the world is the human heart where love is absent.” To not feel lovable or loved is a wretched feeling, and we numb ourselves with a host of disorders and addictions to avoid the pain.
At some point you must come to terms with the fact that you’re trying to fix a problem that you didn't create! Love never means being a part of someone else, or being what they want you, or need you to be. We are never capable of true love until we see ourselves as an individual. Spiritual growth is never attainable while in victim mode.
Like a recovering alcoholic, learning to love yourself is a battle which many face on a daily bases. Those childhood insecurities of trying to be good, in order to be loved tend to have strong roots into adulthood. The need to be good for parents, good for the church and good for teachers, tends to be very overwhelming on a child's development. Only when adulthood is reached does the realization that their “desire” for “goodness” was insatiable, and can never be quenched. I have witnessed woman and men alike, criticized continuously by spouses for everything they do. No matter how hard they try, it’s never enough, and their spouse is never happy. Nowhere in the wedding vows does it say that it is my job or responsibility to make my spouse happy.
I watch normal human beings controlled by their spouse’s moods. I’ve sat back and watched the yelling and the blaming which once fixed by the opposing spouse restores order in the relationship. The yelling spouse feels better, the receiving spouse feels worse. The happiness of the relationship is always determined on "behaving as expected" and promises of doing better next time. That isn’t love. Being "good enough” should never be a condition for love in any relationship.
Daily I see relationships falling apart at the seams. The lack of self-love carries deep hidden scares and even deeper sorrow. It's that deep sorrow that resides deep in the being which eventually is felt by the other partner in the relationship. Over time it becomes a weight for them as well. A weight which eventually will drag and drown the relationship.
Every day you see them. We know who they are because we can see some of our own pain reflecting in their eyes. We witness the internal fighting, clawing, wishing and hoping. The constant clinging. Silently screaming inside in complete and utter desperation for love. When will they finally realize that it is not love they are looking for? They will never find the things they have been promised, because they don’t exist. The safe place where nothing ugly or hurtful can touch them. Where love is unconditional and no matter what you do, you are loved regardless.
Sometimes you just need to step back and make sense out of the pain. Take a different view and look at life out of a different window. Learn to love yourself. Then, and only then, can you start to view the experience that you had to endure as something positive. Bless those that did not stand by you when you needed them. I'm glad when I am left alone in the dark. It shows me the power of my own strength and forces me to find my own way out. You tend to discover yourself when you lose others. Sometimes we are so engrossed in others that we can't see ourselves. The losing of you was the discovery of me! Learn to celebrate the pain in your life, stop looking for something that doesn’t exist and practice self-love daily. The greatest love of all is easy to achieve, learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all....