When you come from an empty-love-tank background (what others refer to as our love deficit), it’s second nature to build or at least intend to build your life around a significant other as if all meaning funneled through this one person. It’s personally taken lots of inner work to overcome this tendency and even now it afflicts me with a restlessness hard to shake.
Melody Beattie in her book, “Finding Your Way Home” recognized this same trait especially when she was facing the fiercest crisis of her life. She writes,“It made me feel frightened, clingy, and desperate. I wanted to solve my aloneness by having someone promise to be there always for me and never leave my side.That wasn’t going to happen. Not yet. That wasn’t the lesson… The purpose was to teach me about transpersonal relationships, the non-sticky kind, the ones that come to teach you lessons, then leave when the lesson is learned. The purpose was to listen for the ring of truth so I could hear the voice of God in every voice I heard.The purpose wasn’t just to lose my fear of death; it was to heal my fears about life.”
Melody had the courage to look beyond her natural tendency, setting her sights on what can be referred to as “visitations of love”. If we place our emotional investment in one person, we’re bound to feel let down, especially because our love deficit expects 24/7 exclusive attention -- a form of love that rides on the edge of unrealistic. This state of neediness only repels the love we long for. I remember as a youth feeling intensely that my existence only mattered to the degree that I could attract that special someone who would fill the huge gapping hole.
Part of what is helping to become more independent has been developing outside interests that include a more serious commitment to reading and journaling. For me journaling has become a companion where I can sketch out my thoughts and feelings down on paper to gain objectivity and perspective. It’s where God meets me to sort out the confusing and sometimes alienating or alarming circumstances of life. The reward of journaling (or blogging) comes in the doing and not so much in the number of responses I may or may not receive, although it’s encouraging to know that others can relate to my stories.
-- Troubled Reflector © 2008