You can only be loved to the degree that you love.
You can only love to the degree you love yourself.
If I could give intimate love an image, I would see zillions of gold fibres in an elaborate matrix. Each of these fibres would have emerged from a shared experience – first kiss, first fight, sex, joint decisions – in other words, every experience you have had together has formed a bond that creates a strong but invisible connection that never leaves you.
This matrix is complex in that it interconnects with all of the matrices of all previous relationships. There are fibres that have lost their luster, fibres that are frayed, and fibres that are tangles and knotted. These damages are experienced as emotional pain – fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, anger, shame and guilt.
Becoming consciously aware of who you are and how you are ‘gold-fibered’ is required for a healthy relationship with yourself. Your relationship with yourself needs to be one of compassion, patience, acceptance and love. While this is a lifetime process, just being in the process prepares you for healthy relationships with others. Otherwise you will spend valuable time trying to get your partner to untangle threads that are unseen and unknown to both of you. In other words, you may struggle to get your unmet needs met so that you can feel loved. That is not the purpose of love. The purpose of love is to join together to heal and become the best version of yourself and assist your loved one to do the same.
In my book, Growing Home – A Lifetime Process of Self-Awareness and Transformation, I describe what I see as the difference between love and a Desperate Need for Connection (DNC).
Most of our romantic and intimate relationships have a component of DNC, which leads to co-dependence and struggle. DNC behaviours are based on hurt, fear, anger, impatience, frustration and judgment. The root of this experience is in your earliest formations within your family of origin. Most of us have damaged matrices from those times.
To move from a DNC experience into a process of learning how to love in a mature and healthy way requires time, patience, courage and insight. Discovering and healing the tangles and frays that exist within you will bring you an experience of love that you may never have known.
As your awareness increases you will have the capacity to learn how to love yourself. This will help you to untangle many of those gold fibres that have been hurting you for so long.
Think of your partner and remember a time when you were arguing. Close your eyes and imagine it is happening right now. Observe what happens within you. Does the argument have something to do with requiring the other person to be responsible for what you want or need? - To see things your way? - To do things your way? - To care about your feelings more than there own? – To treat you a certain way? If so, you are practicing DNC not love.
Whatever we do, think or focus on gets stronger. You do not want DNC stronger because the stronger it gets the more you will hurt and the more damage you do to your own gold fibres and the fibres of your loved ones.
Focus on love of self and love of others. I invite you to read my book to help you get started. In the meantime:
Practice being loving and compassionate with yourself, no matter what and choose gratitude to help you to be mindful of what really matters to you.
Love is deep and permeates your whole being and then radiates to everyone around you. You will love it!
Susan Prosser lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband and is blessed to have her children and her grandchildren close by. She is an Adlerian psychotherapist and Kundalini Yoga teacher and is on the faculty of the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Toronto. A lifelong parent and relationship educator, she is passionate about sharing the understanding she has gained from her years of experience.