Is it Honest Love?
For many years love completely eluded me.
I am yet to experience unconditional love with another human being in an intimate relationship, but I look forward to the day I am lucky enough to allow it into my life if it chooses to find me.
I spent a long time unconsciously chasing what I thought was love. I even spent one year away from home wandering the earth like a lost little girl, desperately searching for the love I never received from my parents.
I clung to people who were just as avoidant, controlling, addicted, and unavailable as me.
I narrowed my eyes with extreme uneasiness as I watched the dynamics of other people’s relationships wondering what on earth they were doing staying with one another, getting married or having children.
I watched co-dependency in action completely unaware that it was my sickness too.
I was a mess and I blamed that messiness on the complete incompetence of other people.
But ultimately the tornado that was my life whilst I was ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’ came down to the fact that I hadn’t a clue how to nurture and love myself on a cellular level. I had stopped looking after my mind, body and spirit because I was too accustomed to putting everyone else’s needs before my own.
I had plenty of tools. I’d trained as a yoga and meditation teacher, spent countless hours with mentors and coaches, been to a million workshops and dived into the A-Z of healing practices, just as so many of us have in our desperate attempts to ‘fix’ ourselves. I quickly found however, that if the core belief is “I’m a shit person and I’m not worthy of love”, what we think is love will ALWAYS elude us and forever slip right through our fingertips. It will feel just out of reach and other-worldly, because we have been taught that attraction and chemistry are what we should be looking for and investing in, when in fact they are the things that often just get in the way of us experiencing what we really need.
I have had many different kinds of relationships and connections and each one of them, long or short, has meant something to me in a different but profound way. People have touched my heart, and I’ve been guilty of telling myself stories of how they also shattered it into a thousand pieces. I continued on though, convinced that ‘he’ must be out there somewhere.
There was just one problem; I wasn’t being honest.
And when we’re not being honest with ourselves, even if it’s unconscious, we can’t be honest with anyone else and will therefore always be inauthentic no matter how hard we try to be otherwise.
We can ‘love’ someone or something, or at least we can convince ourselves we do, but how do we know if the core of that love is honest?
We can start by asking ourselves some uncomfortable but necessary questions like;
Am I being really honest in my relationship right now, with myself and the other person?
Or am I just having ‘fun’?
Trying to save that person?
Being the fixer, the rescuer or the hero?
Do I have genuine, divine, healthy love for that person, or have I in fact forged a connection out of a deep-seated fear of abandonment and loneliness?
Am I clinging because I’m terrified of being alone or dealing with my own issues?
Do I feel continuously drained around the person?
Do we support each other, really? Or have things become transactional?
Do I feel pressure to be perfect and unconsciously put pressure on the person I’m with to do the same?
Am I actually with this person because I’m scared of what everyone will think if I end it?
Have I opened my heart out of obligation or manipulation without fully healing and getting to know myself alone first?
Have I romanticised a ‘soulmate’ relationship that was never even there to begin with?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to wake up. That’s not love, that’s co-dependency and attachment, and it’s completely irresponsible and unfair.
It hurts I know, but the truth usually does.
I felt hurt and ashamed when I began to realise that the majority of my relationships had been shams or at the very least, connections that should have remained in the friend zone instead of becoming intimate.
But how will we know when our love isn’t honest?
There will be a very simple but extremely significant red flag; ANXIETY.
If you feel constantly on edge, terrified that you’re going to lose the person or that they are going to walk, if you feel fear or dread or just a constant wave of something you can’t quite put your finger on, a horrible feeling in your gut that this person is unsafe no matter how much you’ve conditioned yourself to think otherwise, that right there is where you’re not being honest.
Because it’s scary right, to really sit and feel into what’s underneath that anxiety?
There will probably be anger because you’ve been in massive denial.
There will most likely be all-encompassing grief.
And there will without a doubt be enveloping rage and terror.
And who in their holy right mind would want to experience any of that??
But until you’re brave enough to wade through some of those uncomfortable sensations, the anxiety you feel will remain, because it knows, it KNOWS you’re kidding yourself. And whilst you’re kidding yourself, whilst you’re hiding, you’ll stay with the person you’re with now because it’s comfy, it’s safe, and you don’t have to do any work, even if it feels a bit weird or awkward.
We can all pretend, and do it very well, but it doesn’t last, because our honesty is usually too big and scratchy to stay confined within our smallness. At some point it will come bursting out, the current situation, or person, will no longer fit, things will end one way or another, and the cycle will begin all over again until we’re ready to surrender and admit this way of being doesn’t work.
That’s the thing about the truth; if it’s your path to awaken and experience real love (the kind you dream about and desperately wish you had right now), you can’t hide out from it for long, because eventually it will find you.
But first you have to be brave enough to stop, start to dig, and then keep digging some more.
Into the pain, into the fear, into the loneliness and into the anxiety.
Because that’s how we finally become honest.
That’s how we finally begin to become emotionally intimate with ourselves and others.
When we’ve downed tools with our ego and admitted that dysfunctional relationships are not what our hearts need to heal and grow, we can finally begin taking small steps to really loving ourselves.
And doing it honestly.
Then, maybe, just maybe, we might one day bump into someone at the bottom of our fertile soil who’s been doing some serious digging too.
So keep going, keep digging, it’s worth it so long as you remember that you’re worth it.
And you are; you’re loved with or without a partner, just in case you’d forgotten. x
Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash