The way we relate to others, reflects how un/comfortable we are with ourselves. This has been sufficiently demonstrated to me by my life and work as a life-researcher. The happiness of our interpersonal relationships depends on our intrapersonal relationship. The following piece is relevant for those of us who feel ready for a long-term relationship; and yet, have had challenges in answering the following question in the affirmative:
Do you accept yourself completely?
Interestingly, our ability to accept ourselves is affected by the acceptance we received from our primary caretakers/parents. Why do children experience an emotionally-difficult childhood? More often than not, it is because their parents too, have had an emotionally difficult childhood. In fact, parents who are not able to accept themselves, are unable to extend acceptance to their children. And, they unintentionally project their patterns of pain, lack and fear, on to each other and their children. As a result, everyone suffers: individuals, families and societies. Suffering, just like love, is generative.
All healing begins from within. For several years, I carefully “guarded” my heart into emotional detachment. I did not really allow anyone to love me deeply. Then came a time when a part of me felt ready for a long-term relationship. Yet, I felt freaked out at the idea of saying ‘yes’. I felt unprepared and reluctant.
One day, with a whirlpool in my heart. Impromptu, I stood in front of the mirror. I looked into my eyes. I saw myself.
Subtly, a question emerged from within: “How do I make you feel about yourself? “Do you feel loved?”
A spurt of subtle sensations stirred my heart. I could have easily zoned myself out into some mundane work. But, I decided to look deeply into my feelings.
The voice said to me:
I am sorry for all the times:
- When I did not trust you. (Trust)
- When I forgot to ask you,: “what can I do for you?” (Acts of service)
- When I forgot to remind you, how much I love you. (Love-reminders)
- When I forgot that you are complete. (Affirmations of self-sufficiency)
- When I looked outside for confidence. (Self-confidence)
- When I overlooked your needs of mind, body and heart. (Self-empathy)
- When I tried to change what was the most precious in you. (Self-celebration)
- When I did not hear you. (Deep listening)
- When I forgot to take you out on a date! (Creative expressions of love)
- When I let you sit stiffly in front of the laptop breathlessly (Body-awareness)
- When I could not relieve your suffering. (Healing)
- When I did not let you try, for the fear of making mistakes (Encouragement)
- When I lost hope on you (Hope)
- When I did not let you travel because of the fear of getting lost (Travel & Discovery)
- When I made you feel ordinary (Reminders of extraordinariness)
Now, I see you. I am here for you.
Later, I realized that it was the voice of my inner-parent. The child-inside simply felt these words. I felt a gradual sense of inner-reconciliation. I wrote it all down to preserve this beautiful inner-journey. It helped me reconcile my relationship with my inner-parent.
Contemplating on these organic feelings helped me come closer to my vital emotional needs. An important insight followed: I must be able to recognize and nourish these needs of mine.
This written-contemplation helped me understand what a loving relationship means to me. I consolidated the pointers in my self-awareness journal. Trust, hope, encouragement and so on. Significantly, parents are often our first role-models about what a loving relationship means. Our inner-parents are usually modelled after our biological parents. They are either reaction to their parenting styles or an imitation of them. A lot of times, our emotional needs are left unmet. This creates an inner-sense of lack and confusion about our emotional needs. When we take out time to meet ourselves, we hear our needs. This also heals us from our inner sense of lack. When we decide to meet ourselves, we make ourselves feel worthy of time and attention.
When asked “How can one prepare oneself for the success of my relationship with my partner?”, the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh answered: “The most important thing for you to do is to look deeply into yourself, to see if there is something that is still an obstacle for you. Is there anyone with whom you haven’t reconciled? Is there anything within you that you haven’t reconciled with?” (How to Love, Pg 60)
Today, sit with yourself. Look deeply at how you make yourself feel. Is there any obstacle within you? Meet yourself. A pen and a diary are wonderful self-awareness tools. Reconcile. Heal. Love.
We can offer ourselves to others, only when we have ourselves at the first place. Sometimes, we forget our greatness. You are a complete, self-sustainable ecosystem of joy. Remind yourself often.
This post is based on the insights drawn from one of the facilitated-healing experiences at Perfect Life Spot.