August 12

The Cost/Benefit of Real Love

August 12, 2016

Personal Growth

Recently I received the following letter, which requires no comment from me:

"I've seen a few people retreat and even run away completely from real love recently.

“It's like they haven't been able to face the prospect of experiencing any further pain. They haven't had faith that there could be anything sufficiently better on the other side to be worth experiencing the prospect of any short term pain and discomfort.

“I remember a couple of years ago experiencing an episode of extreme of pain on my real love journey. I was sitting in a group where Greg was coaching someone who was very emotionally cold and shut down. Watching the interaction I was overcome with what felt like the full horror of what really happens to human beings when we haven't experienced real love. It tapped deeply into my own unhealed pain like a knife. It felt like being hit by a black wall of despair, or like a wave crashing over me and sucking me right under. It was physically crushing and I was choking to the extent that I couldn't breathe. The pain which hit me was the full realization of my own selfishness, of the pain I had caused my children and my husband. I felt like I just wanted to die under the weight and shame of it. This may sound overly dramatic but that is what it felt like at the time.

“Now I don't think everyone needs to experience such an intensity of pain to come out of the other side of it or to heal it. The reason it was so painful for me was because of all the judgements I was making about me not being good enough, of being a bad person, of being unlovable. It was the self loathing and shame which created the pain.

“I believe now that it is possible to come to a realization that things haven't worked in the past due to a lack of real love and to start afresh with a source of unconditional love and a new set of principles without going into such a black pit of despair. It's not essential to go there and I don't recommend it!

“However, I have observed that people who aren't willing to open themselves up to feeling anything because of the risk of experiencing such deep pain are paying an even bigger price. By avoiding pain at all costs, whether that is by continually appeasing people, avoiding conflict, controlling and manipulating people, intellectualizing, being right or by any other form of control and imitation love, they are also numbing their ability to feel any real joy and happiness. The result is a life lived in a semi-lobotomized state. Anesthetized and half asleep rather living life fully conscious and awake.

“To be conscious and awake means to become fully in touch with our feelings. There will be good feelings and not so good feelings. We can usually change the not so good feelings by changing the judgements we have made which led to them. Almost always the judgement which leads to a negative feeling is that we are not good enough and not loveable. Sometimes we will just feel sad at the extent of pain there is in the world. All of this, however, is worth the feelings of real joy, happiness and freedom which we wouldn't otherwise be able to experience without being prepared to risk feeling any pain. I didn't exactly enjoy that dark night of the soul, as it sometimes called, but I'm grateful that it has given me the possibility of a much broader range of emotion today, including feelings of deep joy, connection and peace.

“If any of you ever feel like running away from real love because you are afraid it will be just too painful, let me know and I would be happy to talk to you."

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