One of the books that had a most profound impact on me was “Getting the love you want” written by Harville Hendrix. Despite a cliche sounding name and bedtime looks cover this book covers developmental psychology phases and how it affects the relationships.
Harville links the separation from the world that occurs with infants around 2 years old followed by reliance of the baby on their care givers. This relationship with caregivers shapes a little child personality and this is something they will be carrying into adulthood and passing to others they care about. The relationship between a child and caretakers is important as baby will die without caregivers help. The baby will essentially develop a set of habits or personality that will allow for its survival.
Irrespective of how good your parents are every child will carry some emotional trauma into their childhood. A case of an overprotective mother that did not allow the baby to explore the world for the right reasons to keep the baby safe will create a pattern of longing for freedom and independence. A mother that had to work two jobs to keep the family afloat will create a pattern of searching for connection and care. Harville argues that the traits of our ideal partners are a collective image of our caregivers with good and bad traits.
This image defines our selection of partners and the dynamic of the relationship. Do you remember that time when you fell in love with a person who you felt you have known forever? Yet you met them just a couple of months ago. They seem to provide you what you need, be that a security of the relationship or freedom to explore the world or feeling of unconditional love. The life feels complete, you feel complete and the fountains of happiness seem never ending. Only after 6 months both of you come to realisation that your partner is not your care giver but another human being with their own needs and unresolved challenges. This is when the reality meets a dream of being whole with the world again.
When you look at the higher intention of your desire for a partner you will most likely find that it is love and compassion. Its a need to be understood and accepted. My question to you is what stops you from creating those feelings for yourself? In fact I propose that you are looking for someone who will provide those because of your belief in your lack of capacity for self love. This very same thing happen to me. I did not start my journey of helping people with all the qualities that were required of me.
For instance I felt a lack of compassion and love in me. In some way I believed that those only existed in Hollywood movies and people showing those qualities did that to gain something from me. This rule did not apply to family and close friends but everybody else was no exception. I had this belief until one day I met a person who showed me compassion without boundaries. Our relationship did not survive the mundane reality of our lives and I was genuinely worried that I would not keep the gift that she shared with me. I did find however that this feeling of compassion was ever present in me. It is a little bit like searching for something in a garage with a torch light. Just because you cant see that esky box sitting behind your car doesn’t mean it is not there. Once you shed light on it you know its location and can easily access it.
I believe that this need for love drives peoples search for partners. I also believe that we are looking for it because we doubt our capacity to love ourselves. The search for external validation is a dangerous game. If your self esteem is a projection on others you always be at a mercy of other peoples offering. I would like to make an offer to you that you can refuse however if you do that your search will never end. Now if you follow my logic and you lack that capacity to love yourself what do you think will happen if someone offers you that genuine love? Do you think you will be able to accept it without a doubt? Do you think you will be able to recognise it when you see it? Remember you can only see in the world whats in you. Person looking at the world through a keyhole will be seeing a world shaped like a keyhole.
This believe that you should not look for love outside and start with yourself may seem like a paradox. Why would you want to be in a relationship if you can provide everything for yourself? Self love however will result in a better and stronger relationships with others. It will completely redefine your relationship dynamics. You will be entering a relationship as a complete person able to genuinely love someone and recognise love that is given to you. This will also remove any “need” to be loved and neediness is not an attractive quality in any relationship. It will also make you bulletproof and resilient almost buddha like. If all of the love you need is already in you – how easy will it be to withstand the ever changing live around you?