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Love is all around

September 3, 2009

Have you ever noticed that even an abused dog will wag its tail when given attention? Or a cat, even if it is nervous, will purr when patted? How many humans respond to love so readily, even after they have been put down, shut down, and made to feel worthless? What is it that animals know that we humans don’t always remember?

My sense is that animals are instinctively connected with the Universe but humans tend to forget that connection when confronted with challenging emotional situations.

I was recently working with someone who was in such a challenging situation. She had fallen in love with someone who did not apparently return her affections. We took a long look at this, and after much questioning and reassurances, she finally came to the conclusion that it wasn’t because she was unworthy of being loved. She had been holding a sense of unworthiness for years because of the rejection she felt from this particular “love of her life.”

Upon further examination, she realized that it mattered so much to her because, for most of her life, she had felt rejected by her own father. She had given this parent all of her love, all of the love she was capable of giving, and trusted him with all of her heart, and he had callously pushed her away. Unfortunately, all of this had happened before she was fully conscious enough to realize what was happening, so she grew up with the belief that she was unworthy of love. Even when logically she knew that she should feel worthy, her emotions still responded as though she was not. She had created several patterns in her relationships where she would attract partners who would not give her the same loving attention she gave them, and if they were loving towards her, she would find them unworthy, thus constantly “proving” her unworthiness.

In an unexpected twist, she discovered that all of those other partners whom she had loved so well, all had grown and transformed because of her love of them. For the first time, she felt proud of the choices she had made, rather than ashamed that she had attracted yet another bad relationship. She realized that she had been led down a path to benefit others, and in turn, she had received what she needed to grow more solidly into her best self. Once she realized this, she began to purr again. I look forward to her future, and where this new-found knowledge will take her.

In another situation, a young man I have been working with has believed for most of his life that he wasn’t good at anything, that he screwed up everything he touched. Recently, after confronting some of the issues from his past, he had been placed in a situation where he had to assume a high level of responsibility, and as he performed better than his peers, I watched as he slowly gained confidence in his ability. He is still building his confidence, but he is much more apt to go for opportunities than to think himself inadequate these days.

The best part is that these kinds of transformations happen due to one ingredient – love. As they learn that they are, indeed, worthy of love, they can once again get in touch with that connection to the Universe and recognize that love is all around and that they have plenty to give to others.

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