I could've easily titled this blog togetherness and space, anxiety and avoidance, close and far, fire and ice, certainty and variety, light and dark, yin and yang, safety and adventure...you get the idea. We want both ends of the spectrum deeply and yet somehow in relationships, we have to reconcile this paradox. We have to hold both in balance.
And who really knows how to manage that balance? I believe that this imbalance is the cause of all the heartbreak. Let's start with when we were growing up. We wanted a safe, predictable, nurturing home life. We needed unconditional love and acceptance. We also wanted to explore, be independent, and feel free. Parents are the first ones who have the deep responsibility to find this balance for their children.
You already know what happens when we're neglected or abused emotionally or physically at home. We learn to link pain with intimacy. We learn that we can't trust people who "love" us. We learn that we have to protect ourselves and not get too close to others. We take on the avoidant attachment patterns because how can we not?
Or maybe we try harder to get that deep love, intimacy, and trust that we didn't have as children. Maybe we feel like needing love is a weakness. Maybe we feel like we don't deserve it. Maybe we try to find this feeling in substances, food, or other people. When we get that feeling, we hold on tight and fear losing it. When our "source" goes cold, we feel intense anxiety. We take on the anxious attachment patterns because how can we not?
Who learned that it's ok and safe to love and trust deeply? Maybe we gave everything to another person and they betrayed us and we were left with nothing except deep heartbreak. Maybe we've done this multiple times. We notice patterns. We try to break the cycle to avoid feeling pain. We don't understand how we continue to play out the same story even though we're trying so hard to change it. We experience deep internal conflict.
And in this day and age of instant easily accessible sex, do we really cherish depth and authenticity? Do we see people as disposable?
How do we reconcile this paradox? What is the solution? How can we love and trust deeply and openly? How can we get close and also feel free?
I don't know all the answers to these questions but I believe part of progress is asking these questions. I do know one thing and that's that we can't avoid our deepest selves and also be able to have healthy intimate relationships. The pain we avoid will bubble right up when triggered by intimacy.
All we really can do is be brave and dig deep to the heart of the pain. What hurt us so much? Can we explore this with an open heart? Can we take action to stimulate healing? Can we rewrite our stories in ways that make us feel empowered? Can we have compassion? Can we forgive?
I believe that all we really need is willingness to open up and see what we've been running from. Cradle our tender hearts. Much love, Heidi
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