“Quantum physics tells us that nothing that is observed is unaffected by the observer. That statement, from science, holds an enormous and powerful insight. It means that everyone sees a different truths, because everyone is creating what they see.” ~Neale Donald Walsch
I am waiting to get my car serviced and i am listening to Sade songs, and i must confess: I am obsessed with Sade.
I’m also a huge fan of her music…and I believe in love.
To get a glimpse into the many faces of love, we can look to Sade’s music, specifically to some of her deeply moving lyrics. There’s a resonance that is quintessentially Sade; she’s deep, sincere and soulful.
Over the years, I’ve gleaned many nuggets of truth about life and love through Sade’s music. These are a few things I’ve learned about love from my most favorite lines in her songs.
“I want to cook you a soup that warms your soul.” ~ King of Sorrow
Love is nourishing. Deep down, we all want a love that touches the very depth of our soul. We also yearn to give a part of us that will touch the hearts of our partner/lover/friend. To nourish is to share a part of ourselves with our beloved in a way that says, “Let my love feed your soul.”
“When you’re on the outside baby and you can’t get in, I will show you you’re so much better than you know. And when you’re lost, and you’re alone, and you can’t get back again, I will find you, darling and I’ll bring you home.” ~ By Your Side
Love is a guiding light. When we forget who we are, love is the gentle reminder that we are bigger than our troubles. It’s the light that leads us back to the deeper truth within.
“If someone has to lose, I don’t want to play.” ~ Somebody Already Broke My Heart
Love is fair. In the game of love, many of us play not to lose instead of playing to win. No one has to lose if both parties are clear on what they desire to experience in the relationship. Love can be win/win. Honesty, clarity is important, than you do not hurt other, and yourself will not get hurt. Lets not make love a game… it is not fair to play with feelings…
“I suppose I could just walk away. Will I disappoint my future if I stay?” ~ King of Sorrow
Love is an active choice. We often overlook the present and future cost of staying in a relationship that has run its course. We can choose to love our future selves by honoring where we are now. Not making a choice is still making a choice, so choosing to move your life forward requires a commitment to making powerful decisions for yourself and your life.
“If I tell you how I feel, will you keep bringing out the best in me?” ~The Sweetest Taboo
Love is vulnerable. Being vulnerable is like dancing naked in the rain. For a relationship to flourish we must be willing to tell the truth about our shortcomings and our mistakes; those things that make us human. It’s about being able to take ownership for those things we don’t necessarily like about ourselves. Being transparent cultivates trust and openness, which creates a deeper and more meaningful relationship. If we holding back, and not allowing another in our soul, it will destroy love in another and will lead nowhere. It is the hardest choice to be vulnerable in relationship, but that is love when you hope that person will love you enough not to break you.
“We have seen some suffering baby. It has not always been perfect. Darling we know it, whatever may come, we can get through it, as if it’s just begun.” ~ All About Our Love
Love is supportive. Just as the seasons pass, there will be peaks and valleys in all of our relationships. Loved ones will get sick, some will pass on, the economy will change and so will our life circumstances. Being supportive is more than just lending an ear; it’s opening ourselves up in all of our capacities whether it be financial, emotional or spiritual support. It’s extending ourselves in a way that cultivates well-being and healing.
“You forgive those who have trespassed against you. You know tenderness comes from pain.” ~ It’s Only Love That Gets You Through
Love is healing. Forgiveness is the catalyst to healing our pain. Holding on to grudges or past hurts allows wounds to stay open, and forgiveness can end the emotional suffering we put ourselves through. Forgiveness is that pathway to peace of mind and peace of heart.
“In my heart, your love has found the safest hiding place…. Your love’s in a sacred place.” ~ The Safest Place
Love is a sanctuary. When we feel battered and broken, we can find comfort and healing in the presence of a dear friend or our beloved. We can hold the space for our loved ones to get through difficult times. When we do this, we deepen our love and compassion for one another.
“Call on me baby, if there’s anything I can do for you. Please call on me baby, help me to see you through.” ~ Still In Love With You (Thin Lizzy Cover)
Love is complete. When a relationship ends, it doesn’t have to end with both parties feeling depleted or diminished in any way. We can speak to the deeper truth of our humanity and end things peacefully. We can speak our truth(s) and stay true to our higher selves; completing the relationship in integrity.
“Your kisses ring—round and round and round my head, touching the very part of me—it’s making my soul sing.” ~ Your Love Is King
Love is freeing. As ever expanding beings, we all have a deep desire to be fully self expressed, whether we’re in love or not. When we’re free, we free up those around us. When we have souls singing together, it invites us to dance with life…and who doesn’t want to be a part of that?
What’s your favorite Sade song and what does it mean to you?
Yes, love is painful. But as C. S. Lewis suggests, we can respond to any relationship with either a closed, hellish heart, or an open, heavenly heart. If you keep your heart open, that same pain can become a purifying pain, a strengthening pain. If we choose forgiveness over bitterness, that pain can heal instead of hurt. Instead of a pain that divides, it can be a pain that binds
Here is some rules that I came up with using my past life experience…
1. When it arrives, cherish it.
2. Whatever you accept, you will get
3. Understand that love is a mirror—it will show us who we are if we allow it to.
4. Only we can make ourselves happy, it is not the other person’s responsibility.
5. Don’t say words with the intent to hurt.
6. Accept and forgive easily.
7. Don’t be scared to disagree, it is healthy.
8. Never be too busy for each other.
9. Do not punish.
10. Accept honest criticism, it is good for us.
11. Admit when you are wrong, quickly.
12. Support each other when the going gets tough.
13. Live in the moment—be present.
14. Leave the past where it belongs.
15. Leave drama out of it.
16) Don’t try to control
17. Allow a small amount of jealousy.
18. Don’t use comparisons.
19. Celebrate differences.
20. Communicate openly and honestly.
21. Listen very carefully.
22. Don’t judge.
23. Don’t manipulate to get results.
24. Learn and grow.
25. Don’t try to change each other.
26. Don’t condemn each other’s family and friends.
27. Lines, flaws and imperfections are beautiful.
28. Trust your instincts, but don’t be paranoid.
29. Don’t compromise your morals and values and don’t expect them to either.
30. Instead of power, aim for balance.
31. Space is needed to breathe and to grow.
32. Accept that you are both unique—never compare.
33. Have fun, laugh and play—a lot.
34. Be each other’s best friend.
35. Don’t play mind games.
36. Do not carelessly throw away love.
37. Don’t waste energy with negative thoughts.
38. Compliment often.
39. Discover each other.
40. Be attentive and understand what’s not said.
41. Do at least one romantic and thoughtful thing every day.
42. Take picnics and sleep under the stars.
43. Don’t just speak about it, show love.
44. Walk together, cook together, bathe together, read together.
45. Do not be afraid, love requires surrender.
46. Be loyal and faithful.
48. Be grateful.
49. Fluidity is good, accept change.
50. Don’t sleep on a fight.
51. Don’t cling to it, know when to let go.
52. Discover what turns you both on and explore it.
53. Make love, but also f*ck (regularly).
54. Give and receive without measure.
55. Never gamble with what you can’t afford to lose.
Love feels unsafe.
To the little girl within me, love is unsafe.
To her, love means hurt.
Love means pain, trauma, inconsistency, insanity, and conditions.
Love was fucked up, twisted, and tied so deep into their self-hatred, that it came out wrapped in violence, rather than gentleness and warmth. Bitterness, rather than compassion and understanding. Jealousy and resentment, rather than supportive holding and cheerleading.
The love wasn’t hers, it was theirs—it had the potential to change any moment. And generally, it did. No matter how hard my inner girl or inner teen tried, things stayed the same.
Why—and how—would they be any different, now?
I remember the first time I got told about unconditional love, about years ago:
“You don’t have to do anything for someone to love you?”
I laughed, thinking it was a joke.
When I realized it wasn’t, I felt a sudden sorrow—a deep grief—for myself.
How did I not know this?
My relationship with love had been ‘wrong’ my whole life.
An innately wise part of myself always understood unconditional love existed—as a kid, I remember watching other parents and children, knowing somewhere deep inside that what I experienced at home wasn’t the only way. Somehow I knew, beneath my wounding and fear, that things wouldn’t always be this way.
What I was experiencing was only a chapter, or two, of my Love Story.
As I’ve begun healing my youth and early adulthood, my relationship with love—towards myself and others—is rapidly changing.
I’m learning what love actually is.
But I’m in the messy stage.
My defenses, fears, past hurts, and insecurities, feel more tender and in-my-face, than ever—I can’t step round, look past, or dive through my wounding, anymore.
My need to feel safe, feels more important than any other need I have, so it governs almost everything I do.
I struggle to trust people. To believe or trust the love and time they give me, and that they—or it—won’t disappear, feels terrifying, and almost impossible, even though part of me knows it isn’t, and it won’t.
I worry that love I receive will also disappear when the person really sees me and witnesses my imperfections, so I make sure I only share the imperfections I feel safe sharing. Even though I love others for, and with, theirs, and that mine just make me human.
I notice there’s always a desire to rip apart any love or support given, by finding reasons or supposed ‘proof’ that the love wasn’t really genuine—“they were just saying that…they probably felt like they had to”—even though this habit only brings hurt, and I know it’s generally not true. And even if it is, or they were, it’s not my place to take it on.
I take risks, show myself, and share my needs or vulnerabilities—or my authentic rawness and openness—and then freak-out by reading into people’s every move or every word. I close up, building an imaginary “wall”, or disappear for a few days/weeks, convinced I was ‘too much’. Sometimes I find myself laughing, because the theories my inner critic comes up with in these moments are so well thought out, convincing, and hilarious. Other times I find myself unable to laugh or find solid ground beneath the fear and self-judgment, worrying that what I’m believing, is definitely true.
My fear of abandonment feel so great, and so sensitive, that I avoid situations in which there is potential for abandonment—I end up avoiding and declining a lot. Sometimes the fear, or potential risk, of not feeling safe, is one I want—or feel able to—work with and compassionately notice. Other times it isn’t. This part of my relationship with love and trust and people, breaks my heart the most.
I feel like I stranger to myself and my previous life. I almost constantly feel slightly, or completely, disconnected or alone. Even though I’m not.
I let a friend in, become close, and then freak-out with fear of the close connection, and fear that I will be really seen. Sometimes I stay but keep a certain distance, to ensure I feel safe. Other times, I’ve fled out of fear they wouldn’t love me if they continued to get to know me.
I don’t value my love enough—I don’t value that my love is a gift itself.
Every time someone still shows up despite me not having ‘done’ anything, or regardless of whether I believed I was loveable the last time we hung out, or whether I’d shown my imperfections, or how many other times they’ve showed up before, a little piece of my unconditional love puzzle is put into place.
As I continue to discover just how twisted my Love Story has been until now, I continue to notice how deeply this impacts the way I love myself—the way I parent myself.I’m almost constantly noticing or realizing something different, something new.
Couple months back it suddenly hit me that I was only loving myself when I was doing or achieving things. I hadn’t realized that that part of the relationship I have with being able to be loved by others, was also the relationship I have towards being able to love myself.
I wrote this note to myself and stuck it on the wall, with the desire to love myself regardless of whether I’m doing or not doing.
I can love myself just for being.
I’m trying to trust that as this new kind of love—unconditional love—, as well as the forgiveness and acceptance it brings, begins to ripple inside myself, it’ll begin to ripple through the beliefs I have about others love for me, too—that they can love me for just being, also.
And that the people around me have been loving me this way regardless of whether I’ve been able to see it and believe it, or not.
I often feel frustrated with my process—the way that my fear and wounding has such a strong hold, and it feels like it’s taking so fucking long to ease or shift—because I long to feel able to be connected and held, rather than scared and un-seen.
When I look closely, though, things are so far from where they once were. And in my heart, I know this messiness and my wounding being so vividly here, is the beginning of truly healing.
And that can’t help but excite me and leave my worry gently soothed.
I have a vein to pick with you, as I’m feeling pretty insecure and unsafe about a few things.
As you know I cut you out of my life for years because your desires were too big for me to handle and I was not strong enough to support and manifest them.
However after a painful game of tug of war, your strength eventually outweighed mine.
I surrendered respectfully and we re-connected. I listened to your every wish and did what you asked, as much as it broke my ego from every direction. I became your servant and your organizer and everyone thought I was mad for the choices I made.
I left my relationship, my career, I moved, I travelled.
I shocked everyone! I felt love again, true passion. I found my creativity, I found myself.
Things have been great. Now you want change again? You’re teasing me with dreams of far away places as I close my eyes to rest. You whisper in my ear as I’m waking up. You want me to uproot and explore again.
Why? Don’t you think about the future? Do you even have a plan?
If you are all about love, then why do you make me do things that hurt?
Why do you draw me towards people and then ask me to let go? Don’t you realize this breaks their heart? And mine too? It breaks you!
Why do you inflict so much pain on yourself?
Heart, sometimes I wish you were content with clothes, cooking and children like the other women. Don’t you realize people think we’re lost, reckless, crazy?
Heart, you’re too wild for me. But I promised I’d always listen to you. Please just tell me everything is going to be okay.
I know it seemed like my desires were too much for you to handle, but they were never too big, you just allowed fear to make the final decision every time until we eventually disconnected.
You see Head, all I see from down here are opportunities to experience love and to grow. This requires change, movement. Either we’re moving deeper into something, or moving on from something.
I’m here to push you out of your comfort zone.
The pain is the cracking open as I become vulnerable, expand to my absolute limits of love, learn to accept love in, or let it achingly pour out.
Love is constantly connecting us to and moving us on from people and experiences. Some connections last a lifetime, others last only a moment. It’s painful to accept that some things don’t last forever.
There is beauty in this pain.
Let other people think we are lost. The truth is, their hearts may be just as wild, they just haven’t been brave enough to really listen. The laws of the heart are too divine for us to understand, they are beyond time and space, they exist only in the moment, they don’t need a plan, they are the plan.
If we continue to be fearless and move with the flow of love, I promise you—everything is going to be okay.
(ref. Annalise McLean)
One of my most favorite shows is Big Bang Theory. Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper is truly amazing character. Development of his love-life with Amy is fascinating to me, and i have been searching to get a copy of their 31 page Relationship Agreement for quite some time, but so far there is no actual copy of such agreement being published (which i think many people would like to read such publication if producers decide to publish it 🙂 ) the only way is to speculate and use quotes from the show to combine certain parts of agreement, like Section four: “Booboos and ouchies”, which states that Amy must help Sheldon when he has a small injury, like a splinter.
Section five: “Handholding”, which states that “Handholding is only allowed under the following circumstances: A, either party is in danger of falling off of a cliff, precipice or ledge. B, either party is deserving of a hearty handshake after winning a nobel prize. C, moral support during flu shots.”
HOWEVER, that relationship agreement is really the result of Sheldon’s paranoia about personal touching, egomania and his difficulty to emotionally bond with others.
What is really needed is a relationship agreement for modern people which outlines how a couple should treat each other and various expectations of how an ideal relationship should work.
So i found online on http://nerdovore.blogspot.com/ 31 Section Relationship Agreement for the Modern Couple, which written in a fun way 🙂 Key to any successful relationship is the COMMUNICATION, so why not a Relashionship Agreement that is basically discussing openly expectations of each other and exploring boundaries of the relationship.
Section One: Communication
Communication is highly encouraged, but each partner should always be aware that space and privacy is sometimes required in instances where one partner needs to work, is feeling creativity, needs to think and so forth. Partners should refrain from calling, texting or emailing constantly and should make an effort to give the other person space after the initial “honeymoon” part of the relationship is over.
Section Two: Hugging
Hugging shall occur whenever saying hello and goodbye, when one partner is feeling sad or depressed or in grief, or when a celebratory hug is expected.
Section Three: Kissing
Kissing should occur within the first two dates. After that it is a free-for-all, although sometimes kissing will be refrained during an illness or infection.
Section Four: Booboos and Ouchies
Each partner shall be responsible for helping the other when injured, sick or infected. Exceptions: Zombie infection means the other partner is responsible for decapitating the infected zombie. Other exceptions include alien metamorphosis, mutations which threaten the safety of mankind, becoming a vampire and demonic possession.
Section Five: Handholding
Handholding should occur whenever a couple is walking together outside, watching a scary or romantic movie, feeling romantic or cuddling. Handholding may also occur when one or both partners are feeling troubled or grieving.
Section Six: Sex
Sex should occur by the 3rd date, no later. Three dates = Sex. Afterwards sex should occur on an at least weekly basis, more often if a couple is a committed relationship and are living together. Variety and kink is up to the couple to discuss and decide.
Section Seven: Birth Control
There are three standard methods of birth control. Choose at least one. A. The Pill; B. Condoms; C. The male pulling out before he gets close. Contraceptive methods should be discussed and agreed upon before intercourse begins.
Section Eight: Having Children
Having children should be discussed and agreed upon by both partners before any deliberate efforts to have children is made. Once the decision to have children has been agreed upon ignore Section Seven.
Section Nine: Existing Children
If one or both of the partners already has a child or children both partners have the responsibility to: A. Treat the children with care and respect; B. Properly discipline their children for misbehaviour; C. Take steps to insure the child or children are happy with the relationship (this does not include bribery, but instead should include emotional bonding).
Section Ten: Moving In Together
If a couple has been together for 3 or more months and if both partners have been sleeping together routinely the subject of moving in together should be broached. If both partners agree they should proceed to either: A. Move into one of their existing homes; B. Find a new home and both move in to the new place.
Section Eleven: Household Chores
Dividing up household chores should be openly discussed and decided upon. Its best to make a list and a schedule. Once the agreement is made each partner is responsible for their own chores and also the manner in which they do it. The other partner should refrain from nagging or complaining about the quality or quantity of how well or how often the other partner achieves their chores. ie. Dishes do not have to be up to “Aunt Edna’s Spotless Standards” and partners should smile and bear it when eating food that is slightly burnt or “doesn’t taste spicy enough”.
Section Twelve: Cleanliness
Clean up after yourself. If you made the mess, you clean it up. Exceptions: If in the list of household chores one partner has agreed to make supper if the other partner agreed to wash the dishes, then ignore this section.
Section Thirteen: Personal Hygiene
Each partner is responsible for bathing at least once per day, washing their hands before and after meals, and brushing their teeth after meals, before sex and before bedtime. Exceptions: Quickies or when personal hygiene products are unavailable.
Section Fourteen: Cheating
Cheating will not be tolerated. Cheating = The End of the Relationship. Fini. Final. Done and over. If you cheated, confess and end the relationship. On rare occasions the couple may decide to stay together because they truly love each other and it is more complicated than mere infidelity, but otherwise cheating is an instant relationship breaker.
Section Fifteen: Lies
Little lies are okay. Such as lying about not giving the other partner a surprise birthday party. Big lies that ruin the relationship will not be tolerated. ie. “What do you mean you lied about not still loving your ex and that you’ve been hanging out with them lately?”
Section Sixteen: Relationship Shenanigans
Playing mental mind games, two-timing, giving the Silent Treatment and other shenanigans are all signs that you are immature and not ready for a committed relationship. Little kids give the Silent Treatment. If you can’t communicate openly and honestly then the relationship is over.
Section Seventeen: Discussing Marriage
Discussing marriage on a serious level should only occur AFTER the couple is living together or has been in a serious long term relationship for over 6 months. Mentioning marriage while discussing relationships or someone else’s wedding doesn’t count. A marriage discussion will consist of spontaneously bringing the topic up and directly the discuss the possibility of both partners getting “hooked up permanently”.
Section Eighteen: Relationship Hiccups
Arguments happen. Get over them. Don’t keep bringing old arguments up again and again. Once the initial argument is done, regardless of whether it ended with an agreement at least come to an understanding that the other person does NOT have to agree with you. Forgive. Forget. Move on.
Section Nineteen: Relationship Interference
If family members, friends, etc. are trying to interfere in your relationship ask yourself the following: Is your partner genuinely nice? Do they treat you well? Have they ever physically harmed you? Does your friend or family member concerned you are in an abusive relationship? If so, take their advice and leave. If however you are being treated well and have no suffered any physical violence then your relationship is fine and your friend / family member is just sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong.
Section Twenty: Being Virtuous
Both partners agree to focus on being nice, humble, generous to each other (within reason), to not steal or lie from the other, to not abuse the relationship in any way, shape or form, to practice self-control, be diligent and steadfast to their partner, be loyal and patient, and to pursue honesty and respect for each other.
Section Twenty-One: Lust
The only lust in a loving relationship should be for each other.
Section Twenty-Two: Insults
Both partners agree to not insult each other deliberately. If they do they should apoligize for their insults. Unintentional insults should be easy to forgive. Intentional insults should be discussed and forgiven within a reasonable time frame (holding it over the other person is Relationship Shenanigans).
Section Twenty-Three: Domestic Abuse
If one partner physically abuses the other (or a child) the relationship is over. Done. Leave as soon as possible and call the police. Even if you don’t press charges, at least get it recorded in case it ever happens again to you or someone else.
Section Twenty-Four: Showing you Care
When one partner does something nice or special for you then you should show appreciation. Hugs, kisses, thank you cards, quickies, doing something nice for them in return are all acceptable means of showing you care.
Section Twenty-Five: Addictions
If one partner has an addiction (to anything) which is threatening the health of the relationship then the other partner is obligated to express concern, discuss the problem and if necessary do an intervention by getting friends and family involved. Patience and diligence is required and the addicted partner needs to make a serious effort to combat their addiction. If the addiction reaches a point wherein the relationship is falling apart both partners should consider ending it immediately.
Section Twenty-Six: Long Distance Travel
If one of the partners is going to be traveling or living farther away for long periods of time a deliberate effort needs to made by both partners to keep the flow of communication going. Daily emails, regular phone calls, Skype and other ways are communicating are all available. Failure to do so can lead to mistrust, miscommunication and sour the relationship.
Section Twenty-Seven: Humour
Both partners agree to have a sense of humour and not go overboard with sarcasm. It is one thing to be sarcastic and another to be outright insulting, bitter and even bully the other person by going too far. Even the most patient people with a sense of humour cannot be expected to endure constant insults and put-downs.
Section Twenty-Eight: Marriage
Marriage should be no different than the relationship with one exception: You can’t just call it quits on short notice. Even if you encounter difficulties you are expected to try and work through them. Exceptions to this are: Domestic violence, abuse, addictions, cheating and huge lies.
Section Twenty-Nine: Break Ups / Divorce
Whenever possible try to break up in person. Breaking up via the phone, email or even text message seems cowardly but sometimes it is the only way if the breaker feels extremely umcomfortable meeting and breaking up in person. In the case of divorce you MUST do this in person (possible with a lawyer or police present in the event you are worried about domestic violence).
Section Thirty: After the Break Up
Try to be civil to each other. Being bitter isn’t going to make you happy. Forgive and forget. It may take you awhile to stop feeling bitter, but try to remember that the feeling will go away given time and the sooner it goes away the sooner you won’t remember their middle name.
Section Thirty-One: Getting Back Together
Hey, it can happen, but don’t count your chickens until they hatch. Ask them how they are doing. If they respond positively and ask about seeing you again / mention thinking about you lately that is your cue to ask them out. If they don’t mention anything like that then they’re just not interested.
This statue i saw during my San Francisco trip, in some small art gallery near Pier39.
Somehow this statue had an interesting effect on me. Very rarely i meet pieces of art that touch my soul. For example, Da Vinci “Mona Lisa” was a complete disappointment to me… i guess i would have to agree, that the point of art is to “comfort disturbed and to disturb the comfortable…”
The emotions in this statue are incredible. Yes, many visual art forms with families, couples and babies are “cute”, but they never really touched my heart, they all were missing something for me, and i never considered them “cute”, but this particular statue somehow is different to me, it feels different…
This particular art piece, radiates pure and unconditional love in my opinion. And not because there is mother and a baby, but the way a male figure barely touches the female, at the same time having the look in his face that any woman wants to be looked like at, pure love.
We all, looking for one thing in life, love.
But not just anyone can allow love in…
“If we listen to our intellect,
we’d never have a love affair.
We’d never have friendship.
We’d never go into business,
because we’d be too cynical.
Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got
to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down”
~ Annie Dillard
In the depths of our souls we all yearn for love and connection with others.
That yearning reflects a basic, even biological, human need. Infants thrive physically only when they feel deeply loved and cherished. As adults, we experience wrenching, soul-level loneliness when we don’t have love and meaningful connection in our lives, yet all too frequently we don’t have these things.
Not with our parents or siblings, not with a mate, not even with a best friend.
We all intuitively know that the highest experience in life is the sharing of love. However, we often confuse the idea of sharing love with the idea of getting love.
We try to get love when we feel empty inside and can share love only when we learn to first fill ourselves with love. We cannot share that which we do not have within. The wounded part of us seeks constantly to get love and avoid pain, resulting in an inability to share love.
The Fears that Underlie the Fears of Intimacy and Commitment
Why are love, connection and intimacy so elusive?
We sit enraptured at movies that depict two people experiencing the delight of falling in love. We thrill at their discovery of each other, their laughter, their uninhibited joy.
We love to read stories about deep friendship, about people committed to truly caring about each other over the long haul.
And we yearn for these experiences in our own lives.
Yet when we have a chance to have love, the story is a little different.
This is because, as much as we want love, we often want to avoid that which we fear even more. We don’t feel safe enough in ourselves to risk loving another.
Two major fears get in our way and undermine our wonderful new connection with someone, or even prevent that connection from ever occurring:
• Fear of rejection: the loss of another’s love through anger, emotional withdrawal, physical withdrawal or death.
• Fear of engulfment: the loss of self through being controlled, consumed, invaded, suffocated, dominated and swallowed up by another.
These fears stem from childhood experiences and from defining our worth externally through others’ approval, rather than internally through spiritual eyes of truth.
We will be unable to share our love to the fullest extent until we heal these fears of loss of others and of loss of self. We will be unable to create the safe relationship space in which to share love and a safe world in which to live until we learn how to create safety within.
Until these fears are healed, we will react defensively whenever they are triggered.
What do you do when your fears of rejection are activated? Do you withdraw, comply, get angry, mean or sarcastic? Do you defend, explain or teach?
Most of us have learned many controlling behaviors to protect ourselves from experiencing our fears. However when we react in our different defensive ways, the result will be the same—our reactive behavior will trigger our partner’s own fears of rejection or engulfment.
Now both of us are acting out of fear.
Together we have created an unsafe relationship space where love and intimacy will gradually erode. And that is why in my opinion so many unhappily married, or later divorced people.
The Unsafe Relationship Space
What do I mean by the term “relationship space”? How is a “relationship space” different from a “relationship”?
A relationship space is the environment in which the relationship is occurring. It is the energy created by the two people involved.
I think of this environment, this relationship space, as an actual entity that both people are responsible for creating.
It can be a safe relationship space, which is open, warm and inviting, or it can be an unsafe relationship space, which is hard, dark, unforgiving and full of fear.
The kind of environment in which our relationship takes place is crucial to its success—or failure.
Many of us have spent much time in unsafe relationship spaces. In fact, some of us have never experienced a safe relationship space because many, if not most of us, have not learned to stay open when our fears of being rejected or controlled are triggered.
If, when these fears are activated, we focus on who is at fault or who started it, we perpetuate an unsafe relationship space. Blaming another for our fears (and for our own reactive, unloving behavior) makes the relationship space more unsafe than ever.
Both people in the relationship end up feeling badly, each of us believing that our pain is the result of the other person’s behavior.
We feel victimized, helpless, stuck and disconnected from our partner. We desperately want the other person to see what they are doing that (we think) is causing our pain.
We think that if the other person only understands this, they will change—and we exhaust ourselves trying to figure out how to make them understand.
Over time, being in an unsafe relationship space creates distance between the people involved. When we have not created a safe space in which to speak our complete, heartfelt truth about ourselves, the joy between us gradually dies.
And the more we hold back our innermost feelings and experiences, the shallower our connection becomes.
Our intimacy crumbles.
In friendships, marriages and work relationships, our joy, aliveness and creativity get lost as we each give up parts of ourselves in an attempt to feel safe.
In romantic relationships, passion dries up. Superficiality, boredom, fighting and apathy take its place.
We try valiantly to figure out what went wrong. But too often we ask, “What am I doing wrong?” or “What are you doing wrong?” rather than inquiring into the health of the relationship space itself.
Only when we look at the relationship space will we see what we are each doing to create the unsafe space. The dual fears of losing the other through rejection and losing ourselves through being swallowed up by the other are the underlying cause of our unloving, reactive behavior.
These fears are deeply rooted. They cannot be healed or overcome by getting someone else’s love.
Creating a Safe Relationship Space
The way out of the unsafe relationship system is for each person to develop a strong loving adult self, capable of handling the fears of rejection and engulfment without protecting. This means learning to not take rejection personally and learning to set loving limits.
The key to doing this is learning how to create a safe inner space where we can work with and overcome our fears of rejection and engulfment. This is a process, not an event—a compassionate process of learning to love ourselves rather than abandon ourselves.
Only when you have achieved inner safety can you create a safe relationship space.
You can gradually learned to stop attacking or withdrawing and take loving care of yourself whenever your fears surface. You can learn to create inner safety when you feel threatened, rather than trying to get others to make you feel safe from your fears.
Any two people who are willing to learn to create their own inner sense of safety can also learn to create a safe relationship space where their intimacy and passion will flourish and their love will endure ❤
I can teach you how to love me.
If you take the time and truly want to know. I can teach you what each of my head tilts mean. I can teach you all the secrets of my body. I can teach you how to handle me when i am moody, how to console me when i am crying, what to say when i act strange or distant around you.
I can show you my wicked smile, the one that only comes out sometimes, the one i put on only when the root at the base of me and all the darkness of the world come prancing up on my spine when i have to let it wiggle and scream because without that it would consume me, as i become the immediate channel for something great and deep and wide and appalling.
I can teach you why and how it hurts when i don’t get attention. I can teach you, that sometimes i will push you away, but inside i will slowly die because i do not want that, and i regret every moment and secretly hope you will not listen and will not go… that in reality i want you to hold me tight and lift me in your arms, and never let me go… i want you to fight for me…
I can teach you how while i have claws, i have choice about when i use them, i can teach you how to declaw me faster and better each time.I can teach you how to preempt my tantrums, how to make it safe for me to come out and play, how to bring forth my love like shining beacon of depth and warmth and delight and freedom.
I can teach you what to do when i reach for you – or maybe you already know. Maybe there are things you already know about me, about how to be with me, just from the way i move or sit or stand or share or the way i light up or shut down.
I can teach you these things, offer them up like so many pebbles, worn and smooth and pure, because i found them and ground them away down into their essence, made them soft by my own tears and trauma. I can bring them to you like a secret offering, fetching from depth of my soul and my anguish, inspired and transpired by the innocence with witch a child places total trust and responsibility in the hands of people who don’t and can’t know everything right all the time.
I learned these things, in fact, to teach you.
When it was hard and i wanted to stop and i wanted it to stop and i wanted to make it stop, when i wanted to arrest the humiliation or destroy the awakening or hold onto the hate or shutter the screams or beat my fists across walls or cover my ears and board up my eyes and silence my mouth forever, i thought of …
The only thing i need from you, the only gift i need you to give me, the only rendition and chorus i require, is for you to ask…
I need you to ask.