For many reasons, I grew up with a harsh inner critic. Many childhood wounds left me feeling unlovable and worthless. I have known that I felt that way for many years now, but perhaps I am just cresting a new hill of wisdom, or shedding another layer of that skin.
What does it take to heal from our childhoods and have healthy relationships?
When I first saw the water I was swimming in and identified that story I lived inside of, I thought, great, that’s over. I got it. Moving right along, now I will be perfect. Or some such nonsense like that.
The truth is, even though we know something, that doesn’t always make the difference. I may know how to lose weight. That doesn’t mean that I will.
Many therapist couch sits and too many toxic relationships later, I see that story for what it was, a necessary part of my awakening, my growth, wisdom, and access to my truest gifts.
It was the hungry cry of a wounded child, and she needed to be heard.
When we are frustrated or angry, what if instead of shaming ourselves, we stopped, validated our feelings and asked that part of us what it needed?
Until we heal those wounds, we will act them out, over and over, and our ego will pretend it is simply this person, this present circumstance, when really, we are triggered from deep within our cells from patterns created when we were mere babes.
Though I knew I had an unlovable story, I still, deep down, believed it to be true. For many years, thinking I had a handle on it, I moved forward, hoping this next person was the one, and I could finally have the relationship I dreamed of.
The same scenes kept playing out, year after year. Different actors, different dialogue, but the same scene, essentially.
The egg has cracked. Light is coming in. I realize now that I really am lovable.
I am capable of loving. I am relational. I communicate well.
Perhaps, it really is easy to love me. It took me a long time to get that.
As David Richo states in his book, How to Be an Adult in Relationship, People who believe they are lovable are people who love. …when we give what we miss, we no longer miss it as much. Letting love through us makes us the path love takes.
This new-found wisdom, deeply rooted with time to grow, has sprouted a strong trunk and branches and many beautiful leaves and fruits to share. It’s like the tree that suddenly wakes up from the slumber of winter to find new birth in the spring. The trunk was always there, waiting, and one day, its limbs bear fruit. I think I am growing fruit. Sweet, crisp, juicy fruit.
I really don’t have to act out the old drama anymore. If others aren’t willing to do the work, no deal. It’s not that I have to try harder.
All those years of therapy I had to work out a few things. Turns out, I just needed to get that it was okay for me to have needs. Then I needed to discover what they were.
Do you know what you need in relationship?
It can be summed up with the 5 A’s:
It really can be simple. We just want to have the give and take. That’s all it is anyway.
So practice giving the 5 As to the ones who matter most to you and notice if you are receiving their offerings, too. Perhaps, they aren’t giving you those loving gifts. Then you know it is time to communicate and lay your expectations on the table, or it’s time to leave.
You have the right to receive the 5 A’s fully and to give them. If not, what’s it all for?
I’ll leave with another quote from David Richo:
Our love is not about being lovey-dovey; it is about an adult commitment to dealing directly with our feelings and concerns.
Trusting in the Divine, order in the chaos, I sit and smell the flower. The flower in my heart, that is. Here’s to the blooming of your heart, in all its fragrant glory.
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