Loving and being loved. They sound simplistic. The idealism of love is after all the presentation of something so beautiful and so wonderful. How can it be therefore that it is also something that can be so painful and confusing?. The idea of being loved is one that is meant to bring happiness, security, comfort, passion, desire, friendship, companionship, nurturing, trust – the list goes on. But what if these things are unknown to someone? What if they have been used in manipulative or cruel way? What if love is something that was never modelled in a healthy way when growing up? What if there is a history of abuse or trauma? What if previous relationships have broken trust or damaged a person’s ability to open up or believe in love? And what if there is a history of addiction that clouds judgement or stops someone from truly letting someone in?
There are so many components to consider. Being loved is never simple.
Any relationship involves the feeling of vulnerability. This in itself can be very scary and anxiety provoking. Especially if previous relationships have not modelled love in a healthy way. These relationships can include parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, and also romantic partners. All of these relationships act as a foundation for how we are currently. If any of them involved things like broken trust, abandonment, betrayal etc then these experiences will come with a person as they try to build future relationships.
We can’t after all be expected to take things at face value if life has taught us not to trust. We can’t be expected to open up and share all the parts of us if life has taught us that it isn’t safe to do so. And we can’t begin to let someone in if life has taught us that people leave. There is fear, there is anxiety, there is vulnerability and there is fragility.
Alongside all of these emotions – which can at times be very overwhelming. There is also hope. And it is hope that allows us to enter into new relationships. It is hope that allows starting to believe in the capacity to change and gives us the opportunity to try and allow love in to our lives in a new way.
It is fundamentally important to remember that not everyone is the same. If we are aware of the things that have hurt us and have made us unhappy in the past, then we can make sure we don’t repeat those patterns and don’t gravitate towards the same kind of relationships. As individuals we have the opportunity to change and to grow. We are able to adapt and to make sure we build healthier relationships – despite what has happened in the past.
When entering in to a new relationship – of any kind, it is easy to tarnish people with the same brush. To assume that they have the same thoughts or feelings, or to predict that they will let you down in the way that others may have. But what would happen if you challenged those thought processes? If you turned them around? If you saw things from a different angle? What would it be like to give other people a true chance and to focus on the positives, rather then the negatives? And how would it be to ensure that fear doesn’t dictate or rule?
Hold on to the hope that things can be different. Allow space in your mind for different thought processes. Manage your feelings and emotions in a healthy way. If you feel anxious or worried then talk about it – work things through together. If insecurities rise and cause you difficulties then take time to work through them. If you are in a healthy relationship then this will be done gently and calmly. A person that values you and invests in you will give you the space you need to talk and the opportunity to express what is going on for you.
Remember how unique and valuable you are. Hold on to your worth and be safe in the knowledge that things can change. That a different future and experience can be yours. And that you are entitled to healthier relationships. Know your worth. Be open to being loved and the rest will follow.
Learning to let a healthy relationship in is scary and at times overwhelming. But once you start, it becomes easier. Value who you are. Value the relationship and value the person you are in it with. You will get there and you will learn how to be truly loved.