I’ve had real love in my life more than once during my childhood and since being a child. As infants we don’t have a concept of love and learn through our parents in the way they care, protect and cherish us from birth until we fly the nest. Even then a parent’s love never dies, it can just grow stronger as they observe us blossom into our own lives, have families and flourish to become a more complete human being.
It all sounds wonderfully simple doesn’t it? Well perhaps so, if it’s all gone roughly to the plan, so to speak. Looking back over my life I have a clearer understanding and perspective on it all. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t get emotional now about things from the past, or feel a little sad or even shed a few tears when I allow myself to slip into the memory of my life.
Leaving the past in the past
While I understand the past to be just that, been and gone, experienced, learned from, educated by, changed by, influenced by and all the other ways we grow in knowledge and wisdom; it remains ‘the past’, not to be relived or held onto in my thoughts and emotions. It must be released and never held onto in that way; a memory is fine to retain providing it isn’t a reference point by which life is directed from or based upon thereafter. We need the process for emotional experiences to develop our personality, love and understanding of ourselves and others, along with the world around us.
Memories can easily evoke emotions, as can photographs or music, to take you back instantly to an earlier time in you life with incredible clarity about something you had long forgotten. But let’s focus on Love. It is such a foundational part of who we are, if underdeveloped or stifled it can cause a lifetime of problems for us.
My parents truly loved me and my older sister; we were brought up within a loving family in the East end of London in the 50’s. I can recall my mothers’ love clearly, sitting upon her lap and being hugged when I felt sad or tired; she comforted me and my sister in the same way. My father, a man of that generation, didn’t show his affection often with my mother, myself or my sister. Let me be clear, he was a loving father but simply unable to demonstrate it freely or showing feelings easily, likely suffering throughout his life in the same way that I have.
At the age of 21, I became involved with a young woman, who later I married and very soon we produced my son. Some 15 years later I did it all over again with another woman who gave birth to my daughter. All of whom I believed I had loved in my own way.
However, the reality of it was that, I was never really quite sure what Love was. Did I really love any of them; did they truly love me? Had my parents loved me and did I love them? The more I pondered on the question the less certain that I was about any of it. The feelings became a confusion that I could not resolve in my mind; so, like the feelings I had about myself, I internalized them and shut them away too.
The problem with doing that, is the issue didn’t go away; it sat inside with the other issues I hadn’t faced up to and they all just grew and fused together. What had I done to myself? Almost a lifetime later, I can sit here now and write with a clarity of mind, knowing what happened and how it happened, while understanding that it doesn’t change the past, the past doesn’t exist anymore!
I know now, that those in my earlier life had all loved me and very much so. An inability existed in me that denied me the simple act of loving myself, the problem that blocked any potential of feeling Love from another, no matter how intense their Love was for me.
A lonely, loveless vacuum
Not realizing this in myself trapped me in perception of a lonely, loveless vacuum that remained a barrier until such a time as I found the Love for myself, many years later, much older and living on my own. Had I just fooled myself all of those years? When we cannot find the love within our own heart to give to ourselves, how can we possibly accept the love from another. It is alien to our mind to even consider the possibility and when held in place for so long will cause untold issues for us over time! Perhaps illness or a breakdown – I had a number of periods of illness including glandular fever, exhaustion and a time of depression, if you have any doubts about the effect. Further on in life, I discovered that I had a heart condition that required open heart surgery at the age of 54. A result of stress for many years, too much alcohol and not looking after myself, plus the secrets and issues I had trapped inside of me that were internalized; I didn’t love myself, why would I take care of myself?
It is so very sad to look back and see and know how this all developed over time. With age comes experience and understanding! The understanding, now allows me to see things without becoming emotional or regretful, neither of which would be in my interest or contribute to my well-being. The past remains the past, where it stays and now forgotten, it cannot be changed and best let go. The present and the future are my focus and the things I can influence and control to create a better life of choice by my thoughts, words, speech and actions of loving and giving selflessly. My single-minded path and direction in life that I have chosen and embrace with my whole being, body, mind and spirit. For me, there is no other way now.
Forever hopeful in my belief
At the wonderful age of 68, as I sit here alone and wonder, I understand and feel a tremendous power of Love within me and for my life, the Love I receive from others with such warmth, that it can bring me to tears of happiness. A thought enters my mind; is there still a chance that I may be fortunate to experience a true Love in a relationship with someone who I can truly Love and they Love me?
I like to believe there is a chance – if I believe and choose it to be so!
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