Where is Love?
Perhaps the song ‘Where is Love?’ from Oliver is familiar to you – the young orphan boy who dreams of being loved one day. From a child’s perspective I can understand this and most of us have had fantasies as children of the love and life we want one day.
When did those fantasies end for you? Or are they still running?
Do you still believe that you will find love ‘out there’ one day?
Are you still waiting or searching for it?
In a recent reflection on Love, writer Adeola Sheehy-Adekale says:
“I grew up wanting the fairytale and then grieving an illusion. What I know now is, if you want happily right now, you don’t hold back, not for yourself or those you love. You live fully, you allow yourself to be fully, unashamedly you, and you allow yourself to be loved.”
At some point in your life, sooner rather than later if you’re lucky, the fairytale illusion will be broken. It might be shattered or blow up, it might dissolve or drift away. How it disappears will ultimately be based on how much you are holding on to it. The more you hold on to it, the bigger the impact that is required to break it. What follows will be a relative process of grief. What you will grieve for will not be the fantasy itself, after all it’s simply a set of idea and thoughts. But when the illusion is revealed, you will also have to let go of that younger you who has been holding so tightly to this idea. She will be the one you will grieve for. And you will feel the difficult feelings that she was too afraid to feel back then when she made up the story to protect her.
You see, she has needed this idea to be true all her life because as a child it was what was going to save her from feeling unsafe, perhaps unloved and unwanted. As you grew older, she kept her place in your identity and has held on to this belief, so that even now as an adult, you might still believe this is the truth. Do you?
There as an alternative storyline that you might be running, but with the same pattern, which is that nobody will ever love you. So instead of fantasising about a fairytale ending, it’s more like a really sad tragedy in which you will die all alone. But it’s the same dynamic – it’s simply a story that was put into place as a younger child, or even as a younger adult based on your experience of being rejected or abandoned, which you decided then was the way all life was going to be. It was easier to accept this harsh fact than continue to be disappointed and hurt. And because you believed this, it’s what you came to expect of all your relationships and so it’s what you attracted. Time and time again you get to keep the story that you are not good enough and you don’t deserve to be loved.
Sometimes we run both stories, kind of like a 2-part series. We had the first story and we loved that version, and then life happened and it was all taken away so we made up the second story. And perhaps that one is now stuck on repeat!
What are your beliefs about Love?
Do you still believe the same things you did as a child?
Have you created a story that aims to negate your childhood experiences, but it equally based in fantasy?
Can you stop holding on to these young stories?
Oliver will never find love ‘out there.’ He will grow up to become an adult who will have do deal with being abandoned by not abandoning himself to look for something outside himself. Because that’s what we do: if we’ve experienced abandonment (little or large, and we all have experienced some of this to a certain degree), we will have learned to abandon ourselves. If we have experienced rejection, we will have learned how to reject ourselves. This shows up as negative self-talk, self-judgement, self-doubt, anxiety, overthinking…
When we stop running away from ourselves and pushing ourselves away then we come closer to love. Love is not out there. Love is in you. In fact, you are Love. I am Love. Love is a state of your Being. To be ‘in love’ is to access this state. It is available to you ALL THE TIME. When people say they need to learn how to love themselves, this is just another story about how they are in fact rejecting themselves, maybe even hating themselves. When they STOP THIS, then love will be here.
When we stop holding onto the fantasy we experience reality.
Love is here all the time.