We live in a world where we say “there are plenty more fish in the sea;” where we console ourselves over lost love by imagining another person is out there and that our perfect mate is our choice. We just have to find the “right” one and often these days we have a list of requirements: tall, slim, happy, positive, makes me laugh, kindness, takes care of me, nice eyes, long legs, large breasts, intelligent, sexy, a good cook and so the list goes on.
In the process of looking for a good match, we make mistakes and kiss many “frogs” before we find out prince or princess. This is the same whether straight or gay. We keep looking for that other half to fulfil our lives, that person who will make us happy and whom we can share our lives with and yet we don’t want to admit there is maybe just one other half. The truth is we are told there is not just one special person, that there are many who we could match with and we just look for that best match. A few people believe in finding “The One”, but are often mocked about this. Our ideas about love and relationships is very confused and contradictory.
In the western world, at least, our ears are constantly filled with songs of broken hearts and lost love. The other side of the coin is the number of programmes about dating, finding dates, and even weddings. We are certainly looking, but in fact many of us are pretty confused about the whole thing. I recently watched a few episodes of a programme in the in the UK called first dates. I felt it was a bit of escapism, but I also think inside I am also trying to work out this love/relationship stuff, just like the rest of you. Before the dates they are the participants what they are looking for and in so many people I notice the first things people list are physical, even down the type of teeth, the next most common thing is “fun,” “make me laugh” and “be positive and happy.” ( to me this indicates how afraid we are of each other’s sadness) .For women the other frequent request is be a gentleman and be big/strong; keep me safe and take care of me. There is very little mentioned about personality, qualities, ethics, morals, or much of any real depth. It may possibly be there, but they don’t say it.
Between the lines there is a lot of disappointment, confusion and hurt about love and relationships as well as a huge amount of fears about not being loved and accepted and safe. I too have these emotions, but what I have realised lately is that I have never felt truly seen or loved for myself. I always had this feeling that any mistake I made I would be punished and rejected. My belief is that to be loved I had to be perfect.
Then it hit me that the other side of this was that I had never allowed myself to be truly seen and that I didn’t even love or know myself so how could expect anyone else to love the real me. I don’t even know the real me, myself yet. I learnt early on in my childhood, like many of us, that to receive “love” I had to become the person that was acceptable to my parents and other adults around me. I had to be “good girl” or “helper” or “servant” or any other role that fitted their beliefs about me. I don’t remember my mother ever asking what dreams I had or what I would like to be. I just remember if I showed an emotion she didn’t like or expressed something she didn’t understand or want to hear or was too busy to listen too I was shut down, screamed at or ignored. So to not get punished or yelled at or ignored or rejected by my parents I became what they wanted and the feeling I have now is that “I” fragmented across the universe somewhere; went into hiding and quickly formed a facade that helped me survive, but in the long-term was and is deeply painful and got the point until recently where I really believe my facade is me.
This is the truth for most of us in one form or another and so we grow into adulthood with roles. For men is could be provider; strong; capable; husband; lover ( who knows what he’s doing) or “DIY-er, for example. For women there are many roles: carer; mother; nurturer; helper; virgin; sexy; sister; friend; multi-tasker and these days we are often expected to be able to and expected to be all of them plus have a career. It is pretty exhausting. But which one or any of them is us, the real us?
We can’t find love, I haven’t found love because I haven’t found me, and I haven’t found love because I haven’t even understood love. When I watched that dating programme I saw clearly, what Jesus has been teaching, that most relationships are based on co-dependency and we think that is love. We think that someone who fulfils all our needs or more truthfully, the “holes” in us is someone who loves us and we love someone if we fulfil all their needs: it is an emotionally addictive bartering system.The trouble with having a list of wants is that we are often never satisfied and is based on someone or both people sacrificing themselves or parts of themselves.
I can look back on all my relationships and see in each one I became who they wanted me to be. I fitted into their life, rather than discover what I wanted and when their were times I started to seek something for myself the relationship would start to break down: the bartering system started to shatter. In this process, I compromised myself in so many ways: self-love, sexually, ethically and morally. Over time, my disappointments and hurts and pain got deeper and my demands to them got greater. I tried to have control over everything and I got angry and more in addiction. My fear and sadness got greater and the things I did and the things I wanted partners to do to stop me feeling my sadness and fear got darker.
Co-dependency is a sticky, thick, ugly thing. It is all about facade and it may feel “comfortable” or “safe” because it helps us avoid painful emotions, but is does not lead us to love. How can we be intimate when we are not being our true selves? We are being a lie and living a lie. I feel very sad about the lie I have lived for so long and because it has been lived for so long there is a lot of lies/facade to break down and a lot of unlovingness to myself and others to face.
So how to do we change it? How do I change it? For me, apart from a lot of self-reflection and increasing my longing to understand and know the truth I have also been trying to learn about love; the real truth about love – God’s truth about love. It isn’t easy and I find myself confused at times, fighting between old belief systems, the world’s belief systems, versus what Jesus and Mary are teaching. The facts are there though – look at the world – if we knew love, it would not be as it is. If we knew about love, we would not be so obsessed with our version of romantic love that seems to go wrong constantly. We are not being honest that we just don’t know. The fact is I think we just have to start again – look at the whole thing again.
Something else has hit me in recent years and listening to Divine Truth is the idea that I have a soulmate – THE other half of my soul: the perfect partner for me, created for me by God. Yep, despite free will, it seems that we don’t have a choice in who our soulmate is! That is pretty confronting if you compare it with the world’s view. We can of course reject our soulmate and try to defy what God created for us, but for me it is a fact I can’t ignore. I am not sure if I have accepted it 100%, but I do know that I can’t just look at any man anymore. As those of you who have followed my blog you will know I have suspicion who my soul mate is, but because of all my emotional injuries I really don’t know for sure and to be honest, not even sure how I could have attracted him into my life even temporarily. I have some deep emotions to heal around gender and sexuality and other things.
But, logically, it makes sense that to know the other half of me, I need to start knowing who I am. If I want to be intimate with my other half, I have to find that intimacy with myself: fearlessly and I have to start challenging my beliefs about love because they sure haven’t worked so far. The “love” I have known has been conditional and in God’s eyes that isn’t love. Jesus teaches, love is a gift: unconditionally and in my heart I don’t know that yet.
I have been reading a book called “Loveability: how to love and to be loved” by Robert Holden and he talks about our deep fear that we are unloveable and it has led to our obsession with falling in love. This obsession is about being loved rather than being loving, indicating that fear of unloveablity. He says we need to stop falling and start thinking what real love is. This is what Jesus has been saying for 2000 years – what is real love and indicating that real love is demonstrated constantly by God in so many ways in our lives.
In the book, unconditional love is summarised and is very similar to what Jesus teaches so I like what was written:
- “Love is not an act… not an audition.” Jesus says that love and truth go hand in hand so you can not love or be loved if you are in facade.
- “Love is not a bargain.. it is not a currency you buy things with…Love does not make deals. Love does not say, ‘I will give you love, but first you must give me something else.” This is the bartering system I was talking about and most of us are in these type of relationships ( any type of relationship). I love this quote by Hafiz, “Even after all this time, The sun never says to the earth: “you owe me!”
- “Love is not idolatry… when you don’t feel equal you give yourself away and take on a role.. they block intimacy. They conceal dishonesty.” I have done this many times – made myself smaller, less important than the other. If you make someone else higher than you, you live in fear and suffering: this is not love. It is a lack of self-love at the very least.
- “Love is not special…. such as, “I’ve been saving all my love for you.” You are making someone into your “holy cow,” Robert Holden says, and use them to “milk as much love as possible.” Love is not exclusive for one person, the goal is to love everyone. When you love you can love anyone ( though of course soulmate love or love with God with is different – though I will admit I am struggling with this one).
- “Love is not selfish..Love is full of desire. You are intent on knowing the whole person… drop the mask and stop hiding. ” This makes me feel that Love is brave and open: it flies and dances. I have felt lust and infatuation – both feel addictive and selfish – it is all about what you can get.
I think hearing that Love is a gift has been one of the most important things I have heard. It really made me think about my demands, my fears and truly how loving or not I have been over the years. From this point, I can ask myself: do I really love this person freely, without condition? Am I willing to gift my love without expectation or demand? Then if I feel any demand or expectation I know in that moment I am not loving them.
Also, do I really want to know them? Do I really want them to know me? Am I prepared to be vulnerable and open and humble to the errors and fears in me? This is intimacy – being prepared to be completely vulnerable and it scares the crap out of me and yet I am also curious. I have tried the other way and it has brought me much unhappiness, and suffering.
We need to be prepared to see the mountain of evidence that we know little about love and that’s okay. Just be honest about where we are at and build a desire to know the truth. When I was a child I had this feeling, among all the chaos around me, that if they just loved more things would be better: that love would be the answer. When we are kids we do know much more than the adults around us often. I grew up sadly, feeling my heart had been very badly battered and bruised – but it wasn’t and isn’t love that does that. It is not-love that does that. So to find love, to know love, we need to look at the not-love in the world: the not-love in ourselves, our false beliefs, our neediness, our fear, our grief.
We can’t change things we are lying about – because a lie isn’t a reality: it is a lie. Only the truth can create change, because it is truth and logically truth is real. For me, my personal truth is too impacted by emotional baggage at the moments so I look for a greater truth – a higher truth and only God has that. That is what makes God, God – she knows more than us – about love and about what is true. Jesus says to learn about love we have to learn about Love from someone who obviously knows more about love than us. Weirdly, we often try to learn from others around us who know as little or less than we do: we all scramble around in the dark together. So stop scrambling and look for someone who carries the torch. Only they can show us the way: the ones who carry the light: there are a few on earth, but a more guaranteed source in God. Praying for the faith to really know that in my heart – what a day that will be!
@2017 Maxine x