By Gwen Randall-Young Psychology for Living
Posted 32 minutes ago
When people are starving, they will eat whatever they have to in order to survive.
Flavor and nutritional content don’t even enter the picture. When people live in a state of abundance, they can choose carefully what they want to put into their bodies. They can choose pure, organic, or pesticide-free produce, even if it costs a little more.
This is a good metaphor to describe what happens when people are starved for love.
If we have grown up without the love, support and acceptance that is so critical to our emotional health, we may tend to settle for love that is not really good for us.
Consequently, people can remain in relationships or friendships (even families) where they are not valued, honoured and encouraged in their growth.
There may be a little something that feels like love, but if there is constant pain, struggle and stress, then it is not really love — certainly not healthy love.
Like a starving prisoner, we may hang in for the scraps tossed our way, and even be thankful, believing that without them we would surely perish. However, when it comes to love, we are not starving prisoners. We are more like plants who can create their own food supply. The love that we really need to survive and thrive is the love we can generate within. It is the total love and acceptance, and ultimately celebration, of health. When we become self-sufficient in this regard, we need never again rely on a form of love that is toxic or dishonoring. We don’t have to live with trade-offs.
We don’t need to give ourselves away sexually or sell our souls in order to get love.
When we create an abundance of love within, then, when we choose to share love with another, we can hold out for the very best.
We can wait for love that is non-toxic, non-addictive and that does not leave a bitter aftertaste. As we work to heal ourselves, to clean up dysfunctional aspects within self, then we can begin to draw into our lives others who have made a similar commitment to their own wholeness. When we no longer need to project unhealed parts of ourselves onto others, then we are all free to experience a more pure, higher form of love. Healthy love is characterized by tenderness, openness and trust.
Some say love hurts. I disagree. I say love heals. If there’s pain, it’s a sure sign that something is getting in the way of the love.
If the pain persists, despite our best efforts, then it may be time to take ourselves out of the way of the pain.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this column, or to obtain books or CDs, visit www.gwen.ca.