Why is it so hard to be sure that we are loveable?
Why do we think that everyone else is deserving of love but somehow our flawed selves are just not enough?
Years ago, I remember sitting in a yoga class and looking around and noticing the imperfections in the room. I saw people who had broken hearts, made mistakes, been fired from jobs, broken laws, been addicted and crashed cars.
Everyone in the room was a stranger to me, but based on the odds that they were all human, I think my assumption was accurate.
When I glanced around the room, I saw all of us sweating through our asana practice, each one being inherently flawed but (maybe) still believing that they should be perfect.
I thought everyone in the room was just fine they way they were.
And suddenly I had a realization that maybe I was too.
Even though I had done all of those things myself—things that make me feel so utterly inadequate at times—I could suddenly see the possibility that I might be okay just the way I was, too.
But I still crave to hear this truth from others.
My heart wants confirmation that it is loved.
You know those children books that tell a story of the child testing the parents’ love? The ones where the child asks over and over again, “will you still love me and be with me if I mess up?”
I think most of us never grow out of that. We are constantly trying to get a grip on the concept this other person loves us and will be there for us.
We test each other, pushing the limits on what the other person can handle in terms of being able to still love us.
We push ourselves, seeing how far our own fragile heart can stretch.
It is unrealistic to think that we are going to feel secure. Why would we be? What in life has taught us that we are safe and will always be loved?
So, we doubt.
This is how we are always testing the limits of love.
Love itself has no limits, but the human experience of love really seems to.
This is not an article in which I present answers.
Mindfulness and self-awareness are always great tools for coming into the present moment and becoming aware of our behavior and thought patterns. But the fear that we aren’t loveable and that our partners, friends and family members might not love us enough is real for so many of us.
When we see the people we love be distant, tired, overwhelmed, or disagreeable, our limited egos take it personally. We take personally. Our fragile selves need more; they crave the knowledge that love is here to stay but this truth is impossible to grasp with the mind.
The only thing I can suggest is that we all love more.
We can all stop and tell each other that we love each other more.
We don’t need to be sure we will love someone forever just to say I love you. We can feel warm for people, we can feel hopeful for people, we can offer a reprieve from the stretching, checking and searching for love and just reach out and offer love with ease and surrender.
This will lessen the doubt, if only a little.
This need to check that we are loved is not a sign of weakness—it is a sign of normality.
It is the reality that we all need love and security and that sometimes the only way to get it is to say to each other, “I am just checking that you love me.”
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: taqumi at Flickr