So much of your ability to give or receive love is based on how you were nurtured or not when you arrived in this world. It’s easy to get caught up in blame or rage if your parents were unable to love you well, but so many people struggle with that. Look around if you need evidence. It’s not personal if your parents couldn’t love you without measure, but it’s also the most personal thing in the world, because now it’s your work to heal. A child can’t understand that, a child is only able to process his or her own experience, and take it to heart. If mom or dad doesn’t love me, there must be something wrong with me. I must be bad. Maybe if I try harder to be good…and so it goes. That kind of thinking can become a way of life. Love is conditional, and if I’m not receiving it in a way that feels good, I need to work harder, or be different, thinner, smarter. Or I need to make more money or drive a different car. Or something. When the reality is, everyone is worthy of love. People who have a difficult time expressing it are the same people who don’t understand what that looks like and they don’t understand because they haven’t had the experience themselves. It’s a vicious cycle.
I get emails from people who’ve been abused and neglected, people who were told they were worthless or a mistake, people who grew up hearing they were stupid and would never amount to anything. I get messages from people who lost a parent early in life, or were abandoned by their mothers or fathers. People whose siblings suffered from drug addiction or mental health issues that lead to all kinds of problems for the whole family, and one email from a man who lost his mom and sister in a car crash that only he survived, at eight years old. This life can really break your heart.
When you come out of neglect or abuse, it’s very common to seek it out in your adult life because it feels familiar, and because you are very likely trying to rewrite your history and walk away with your happy ending. If you’re allowing yourself to be abused, if you’re participating in the crushing of your own light, there’s no way you’re going to heal. If you’re allowing someone to make you feel you aren’t good enough, don’t measure up, aren’t quite cutting it, then you’re participating in your own destruction. You’re the co-creator of your own suffering. If you want to find peace, you won’t find it in a house of shame.
It’s my personal belief that the natural state of human beings is love. We come into this world needing each other. We need to be held and fed and cared for, we need to be dressed and snuggled and we need to feel we have an impact on the world around us. We need to know if we cry, someone will care, and someone will come. But if you don’t have that experience, then what you learn is that the world is cold and lonely, and no one cares and you don’t matter and you have to fight for everything you get in this life. Can you imagine if everything you knew was based on what two people told you? What if those two people were really damaged, or totally bonkers, or gripped by rage, or in a world of darkness and pain? What if those two people didn’t know about love or light or laughter or joy? What if they couldn’t recognize a miracle even if it was right under their noses? Wouldn’t you want to unlearn what you’d been taught?
The world is a heartbreaking but also heart-achingly beautiful place. You’re going to get it all in this life, some of it will be amazing and some of it will be knifing, and you may get more or less of either depending on factors that will be mostly out of your control. Don’t ever doubt, even for one second, whether you’re worthy of love. You are love. It exists within you. If you dig under the pain deeply enough, you’re going to find it. If you need to unlearn a thousand lies to get there, then get busy. Find someone you trust who seems like a happy person. Who seems to know themselves, and to be living a life that feels good to them and get yourself some support.
Learn some different lessons, starting with, you are incredible and you’re made up of about 37 trillion cells that have never come together before and will never come together again in exactly the same way. There’s only one you. Seven billion people on the planet, one you. With your confusion and your mistakes and your past and your fear and doubt and shame. With your internal dialogue that is either on your side, or against you in the most painful ways. With your hopes and your dreams and your smile and your quirks. You may have all kinds of walls you’ve built up to protect yourself, but if you built them, you can also knock them down. Walls don’t work. You’ll just be stuck on the inside in pain. Tear them down. There’s pain on the outside, too, but you know what else there is? Joy and love and the total vulnerability of this thing. True connection. People who will see you for the miracle you are and cherish you. You really don’t want to miss that.
Sending you love,