What is the purpose of living, if not to love and be loved?
What is to be given, if not one’s heart? What is a history, if there is no one there to bear witness to it?
Why was the life created in pairs, if we are not meant for coupling?
Ah love. Sweet, sweet love.
Humans have been documenting this enigma, this allegiance of the heart, the intangible, undefinable, boundless, limitless power that eternally binds our souls since first breath.
We seek it. We plead for it. We lead crusades for it.
We get it. We accept it.
We hoard it. We hide it. We suffocate it. We deny it. We refuse it. We lose it. We fight for it. We rationalize it. We overthink it. We fake it. We will it. We force it.
Somehow, we find it anew and yet we may squander it once more. And possibly then, yet again.
Never, though, do we stop wanting it. Never does the desire to give and receive love secede, not entirely.
And we can have it, really and truly. We deserve it, all of us.
But we don’t all believe that. Not really.
We say we want love, and then when it arrives, expected or not, how often do we accept it? How many times do we look love in the face, make an about turn, and hightail it out of there? How often do we self-sabotage in order that we don’t get to have our cake and eat it too? How often are we too blind, stubborn or wounded to see it?
Why do keep standing in our own way of love?
While opinions vary far and wide, I would suggest that all are rooted in the same primitive call of man—survival of the fittest.
Now, consider what fires up this rudimentary protection of self, this primal urge to stay alive, to not get hurt, to stand without falling.
It’s all fear based behavior.
I would offer then, that we as humans engage in the following thoughts of disquieted self preservation when it comes to love:
1. Fear of failure.
We’ve been mistaken before. We’ve made bad decisions. We chose unsound player(s), too difficult a course, or (for some) the wrong team altogether and we might be doing it again. Our mistakes may come back for another inning, an encore performance even. We might realize, too late, we made a faulty decision.
Failure is painful, pain leads to death, death is bad. Avoid failure to stay alive.
2. Fear of rejection.
If we give our whole hearts the gift may not be reciprocated. They might not want us. Not forever anyway. We might give more than we get. That might leave us unbalanced, feeling incomplete, inadequate, unfinished. Broken.
Better to not give at all than to offer something undesired.
3. Fear of being seen.
If they see the “real” us, if they know the true person inside, the actual thoughts, the creature that dwells within, they won’t love us anymore and they’ll leave. We will be alone—open, exposed, raw and trembling, no longer a hand there to hold us steady.
Better to rest easy beneath the cloak of a curated self than to stagger naked in truth.
4. Fear of manifestation.
We are afraid of showing up authentically, and what it might mean if we do. Stage fright. We don’t deserve to be loved. We aren’t enough. We aren’t worthy. We don’t belong. We don’t have a right to be here, a right to feel, a right to act for, and of, our own will. Our lower body chakras, dealing with trust, belonging and self esteem, are blocked. We are denying our own potential.
If we can’t bear to look at our image in the mirror, why would someone else?
5. Fear of loss of self.
We finally found ourselves, we feel balanced and know who we are. If we become a part of a couple, a partnership, someone else’s something, then we might lose our own identity. We might grow and be better, but we might instead compromise everything we’ve worked so hard to find. We might douse our own tapas in fueling the wants and needs of another.
Best to stay whole and alone than be vulnerable to theft, even of our own doing.
6. Fear of change, discomfort, and the unknown.
We are comfortable with our current, mostly predictable lives. We have a relatively decent grip on our reality and the skills to manage a large portion of our daily happenings. If we add another person to the mix, things will be different. Different might be bad. We might not like it.
Or, we might like it, but it still won’t work. It will be too hard. If we get comfortable it might not last. It might not stay. Why consider the beauty in if it does work this time, but rather, focus on if it doesn’t? It never has before, why would it this time? And what will we do if it all falls apart again? It will be an even bigger mess. More complicated. More expensive. More painful. How will we prepare for that?
Better to just prevent the opportunity for hurt altogether then.
7. Fear of quantity and abundance.
We have already given so much or ourselves. We are spread thin as it is. Relationships are too much work. We have enough friends, enough family, enough platonic love in our lives to fill our hearts already. We can’t stretch those chambers any further, the muscles have no strength to grow, there is no vacancy here. Our hearts might just might not expand enough to accommodate anyone else.
We don’t have the resources to invest in anyone else. Even ourselves.
8. Fear of dropping the ball.
We can’t give from an empty well. If all the other areas of our lives are demanding all of us, nonstop, how can we possibly find time for anything or anyone more without letting those other things diminish, at least to some degree? We might miss something or be caught off guard, too busy basking in the glow of bliss to notice all the misery at our fingertips.
If we can’t give 100% then it’s probably better to not give at all.
9. Fear of expectations.
We set the bar too high. We never fully measure up to the assumptions and demands set forward by ourselves and others. Life is hard; we cannot count on someone else to carry the weight of the world with us, to ease the burden, to make life simpler. The only person we can depend upon is ourselves, and even we can’t do it all. We can barely keep ourselves happy, how can we possibly make anyone else fulfilled?
Why would we set ourselves up to let someone else down, again?
This is us. This is human behavior. A constant state of triage. A perpetual cycle of opening and closing, tearing and stitching, fresh blood and bandages with which to cover it.
We deny love. Again, and again, and again.
What’s the solution? How do we really begin to heal? When does love find a landing place?
When we stop being afraid. When we walk into the fire, eyes open, hands out, heart forward.
At the end of my life, I want to know I belonged, and I held space. I noticed, and I was seen. I gave, and I received. I observed, and I participated. I felt, and I touched. I heard, and I spoke. I knew, and I acted.
I want to know, without a doubt, that I loved, and I was loved.
Let go. Let love. What have you got to lose but your own happiness?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wiki Commons