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The Challenge of Being Loved

Posted on 17 April, 2018 at 11:15

I sometimes hear people say that “you can’t be loved unless you love yourself”. I don’t agree. I have come across many examples in my work and in life where people with little, or not a lot of, love for themselves are able to find partners who love them more than they are able to love themselves. In these experiences, the continual drip, drip of being loved can have a cumulative and transformative effect. Relationships can be great places of healing for us all.

The problem for some, is that they can feel overwhelmed when they get an inkling that they may be loved, or that there is this possibility in their relationship. Sometimes, people experience a terror of being loved. This can push some into a repetitious, defensive mode where they behave apparently irrationally and eventually push the other person away.

On exploring these reactions, we can sometimes see that for some, their reactions are old and familiar, while at the same time being too alive and so damaging in the present. These seemingly irrational reactions are often based on early life experiences with carers, family or influential friends.When those who are supposed to love us are not capable of doing so, we can adopt defensive ways of protecting ourselves.

These defenses may include refusing to allow ourselves to be loved, or choosing not to believe in love. This defensive reaction can become a habit and unconscious with practise. In effect, our unconscious dynamics from earlier experiences can leak later on in life into our daily adult lives.

Talking through these issues and understanding our repetitive patterns can bring us into understanding and choice. Working through our old defenses from our childhood can bring us into our adulthood, and into to the big task of being loved and being in love.

Sometimes we need to try new ways of reacting to love repeatedly, before we work out how to be loved.

The task of being loved is a difficult one for some. Being open to the slightest possibility, and not writing yourself off as someone who cannot be loved or who doesn't believe in love, is enough to begin the journey. Maybe, just maybe, you can love and be loved.