When we are born, we are able and willing to give and receive love – we are love. Because we are born loving, we naturally want to be loved by our parents and to love them back. This attempt by us to love and be loved within our immediate family is how we learn what love is.
Ideally, we would all have parents who know how to love and receive love from a child. We could then all grow up to be adults who know how to express and receive these feelings of deep affection. Creating happy, healthy, and loving relationships would come naturally to us. But for many of us, our parents did not provide the necessary experiences that cultivate these feelings. It wasn’t because we are unlovable or that they are incapable of love, but because they also never had the necessary experiences under the guidance of their own parents. And the parents of their own parents may also have been limited – and so on. The people closest to us just aren’t always capable of providing and teaching the necessary lessons.
There are numerous reasons why there is a deficiency of this basic human emotion all over the world … the challenges of basic human survival, war, poverty, abuse, etc. Life circumstances, such as the necessity for people to work many hours in order to survive, have made it so that most of us, even under fairly healthy family circumstances, do not consistently receive loving experiences in our lives. This lack of tender caring inhibits our pure ability to love and be loved and explains why romantic relationships can be so difficult and painful for so many people.
Because a large number of us were raised by wounded adults who were hurt in their own lives, what we collectively think love should look and feel like has been distorted. We end up playing out the family dramas of our past and try to get our un-met love needs fulfilled by people who treat us similarly to how our parents did, rather than experiencing and exchanging the love that is hidden away within us.
So it turns out that our parents may not be the best source for knowing and teaching how to give and receive deep reciprocal affection. We would be wise to question any beliefs about love that we may have picked up from them that don’t really serve us.
Love can be simply described … it’s an energy exchange between people that is about seeing, respecting and investing time and energy into another person, while also being available to receive the eyes, respect, and loving time and energy of the other.
Connecting more with your spirit or your higher self is a big key to having healthier and happier love relationships. Part of the path to becoming spiritual or “conscious” has to do with understanding how our family and community either supported us or distracted us from who we really are and who we came to be. When it comes to human relationships, we need to become aware of what we were taught or not taught about giving and receiving love.
When we really see and understand how this past experience connects us with our present experience of love, we become freer. We are then able to have the kinds of relationships that our soul or “inner child” has always wanted and was capable of having all along, had the world and the family been willing and able to support this longing.
There are lots of reasons why people have avoided looking at what was missing in the love department while growing up. Many of us had to ignore the whole topic of the love issue altogether if we were going to survive comfortably within the family system we were born into without an ongoing feeling of dissatisfaction. Questioning or challenging parents was not even allowed in Western society until very recently, so it is no surprise that when grown, adults would be hesitant to analyze their upbringing.
It can be very difficult, even as an adult, to question within our own minds and hearts the quality of love given to us by our parents or their ability to receive our love as a child. Parents do not need to be labeled as “bad,” but if we don’t allow ourselves to recognize and grieve what was missing, then it will likely continue to go unrecognized in our present-day romantic relationships. We will always experience feelings of dissatisfaction and longing or we won’t allow love in for very long because it will feel too foreign and overwhelming and we won’t understand why.
The fear and unwillingness to understand what is happening on the unconscious, inner-child level is what makes love so hard for many people. But keep in mind that the challenges and difficulties are simply trying to wake us up to what has been missing for a long time. Once we can face that, we can then begin to give love to ourselves through our relationship with spirit. We can then evolve through healing relationships with others who recognize that it’s possible with a little self-work and practice.
Love can and should be a whole lot easier … after all, it is our natural state.