otters love

You Are Born to Love and Be Loved!  You Deserve Love, Support, Understanding and Kindness

I just read a great passage in Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses:[1]

“I know that my mother loved me – but not absolutely. When I compared the amount of time she spent with others – even total strangers – I felt myself sliding further down the ranks of favorites, getting bumped and bruised. She always had plenty of time in her life for dates with men or lunch with her so-called gal-pals. With me, she was unreliable. Promises to take me to the movies or the public pool were easily erased with excuses or forgetfulness, or worse, sneaky variations on what was said and what was meant: “I hate it when you pout, Olivia” she once told me. “I didn’t guarantee I’d go to the swim club with you; I said I would like to”. How could I argue with my need against her intention?

“I learned to make things not matter, to put a seal on my hopes and place them on a high shelf, out of reach. And by telling myself that there was nothing inside those hopes anyway, I avoided the wounds of deep disappointment. The pain was no worse than a quick sting of a booster shot. And yet thinking about this makes me ache again. How is it that as a child I knew I should have been loved more? Is everyone born with a bottomless emotional reservoir?”

I love the emotional truth and beauty of that passage… How could I argue with my need against her intention?  That’s a really common dilemma among people in relationship – my needs versus their needs.  It is more poignant for a child in the position of less-power. To get to the root of the matter, you have to look deeper.

Our blueprint is Love

Those questions are key. How is it that as a child I knew I should have been loved more?  And Is everyone born with a bottomless emotional reservoir?  Well, here’s what I have to say about that.

#1. How do we know we deserve Love?  We feel it. Love is the source we come into this world from and return to at our deaths. We innately, inherently, and intuitively realize that feeling pinched off from love in any way is now how it’s supposed to be.  It seems to be the game we came here to play, however. It sure is interesting here on planet Earth, to watch the way people get sideways of love. The pain and discomfort of feeling unloved motivates us to learn what Love really is.

I believer that many of us experience a lack of love and nurturance in childhood specifically to learn the fullness of love and nurturance by contrast. Most of the people I work with have experienced abuse, neglect, and/or dysfunctional parenting and still manage to do a much better job raising their own kids. They get so clear about what they don’t want that they become really good at going for what they do want.

Research and experience show that the deep, animal part of our brains doesn’t differentiate between hitting or being hit. Nor does it distinguish between loving and being loved. So when we love our children and treat them well, we are in some well loving ourselves and filling in those gaps in our love foundation.

Loving touch

Over the decades I was a massage therapist, I noticed that most of my colleagues were touch-deprived early in life (as I was), or in some way touch-damaged. As we go through massage school, we massage therapists get touched and learn to touch with love and tenderness. We learn that even though we didn’t get loving touch means we don’t deserve loving touch.  And we learn to receive it. We humans need to be touched. That doesn’t mean that all adults like to be touched or will want the same amount of it.  Still, I believe that comfort with loving touch is our birthright and part of our human blueprint as mammals.

Next question

#2. Is our emotional reservoir potentially bottomless? No, I think not, at least not in the sense that it can never be filled. It can feel bottomless if a person doesn’t see any way to get that longing fulfilled, or doesn’t know how to receive love even when it’s there.

That feeling of being cut off from Love – of being unloveable or inadequate or unworthy – is a call for healing. In the same way that an infection becomes swollen and painful to alert you to a problem. The pain of conditional or inadequate love motivates you to search for something better. The feeling we get when what is meant to be Love comes tangled with with obligation or criticism is not Love.

True, absolute LOVE feels good, expansive, limitless and it’s all around us!! The work is to recognize and open to it.

images-2It can be scary when we’ve opened to ‘love’ in the past and what came in was painful or dangerous. When I was in utero, for example, sometimes my mother played classical music for me. Other times if I kicked her, she’d punched back. She was young and conflicted about being pregnant. This is not an uncommon scenario. She had been physically abused, so punching the baby inside her was not off-limits in her experience. I learned to close my heart. This protected me from the attacks and also from any love that might also come my way. The created a wound that I’d need to heal. A family adopted me and I learned to give and receive love. There is plenty of love in the world and, once I learned to open to it, I found plenty for me.

Let Love in

When you look at a butterfly or a flower and open your heart, that’s Love. When a puppy opens your heart, the warm flow you feel is what I’m talking about. It seems to be more complicated with other people, but really, it’s not. Many of us who have experienced painful treatment from our parents or people who were “supposed to” love us unconditionally but didn’t. Usually those people didn’t get it so they don’t have it to give, themselves. It can be difficult to re-open and receive love but it’s important work. Maybe it’s the only work.

Loving yourself might be the biggest challenge. If you can open your heart to plants, animals, or babies, you can love anyone, including yourself. 😉 Love is important any way it comes into your life. Animals are often pure reflections of what they experience. If two animals are cuddling and it looks like love, I guarantee, they are experiencing Love. So it can be with us.

I also see that there is great reciprocal healing in giving our kids or grandkids the acceptance, play and kindness we may not have received directly as children.

I advocate for more Love, bigger Love, spreading Love. Wherever you’re at in your Love quotient, your reservoir includes all the love in the Universe. You may have to practice opening to it, but it’s there. Reach out, in any way you can. Give, in any way you can. Allow someone to express their love for you. You deserve it.

All my love,  Denise


#love              #receivinglove          #amytan        #emotionalwounding  #deservelove