From the moment we are born we begin a process of striving for autonomy in order to fulfil our destiny. Our life energy is channelled like a plant, tree or bird; indeed any living creature is geared towards its goal. If our search for autonomy is hindered, damaged or blocked by our environment we lose site of our purpose and seek instead survival. When encouraged and loved within a good enough environment then we can follow our natural path confidently.
Deepak Chopra has spoken of us ‘having a purpose in life and living our lives in the fulfilment of that purpose.’
As a small child I felt very loving and wanted to give love. I was often overwhelmed by my emotions which were generally about wanting to be loved and give affection. I felt stymied and stifled by my environment usually feeling humiliated because of my need for physical contact which I showered upon our family dog and my dolls. Was being a loving person my purpose in life even then?
Perhaps as a small child I knew what my life goal was but of course with age comes cynicism and sometimes despair but throughout my life I tried to find an opening for all my feelings firstly in nursing, health visiting and then psychotherapy, all these professions where about taking care of others with little in the way of return except satisfaction in the job. A caring profession is about giving but somewhere one seeks to receive and by ‘caring for others’ we find some kind of recognition but it is not about being loved.
In retrospect I can see that I just wanted to be loved and love in return. My parents however were very difficult to love as they were so tied up in the mess that was their relationship, an alcoholic father who abused my mother. Although I know my mother loved me I was a bit of an inconvenience to her in the repeated need to try to leave my father. I believed myself to be too much trouble and made many decisions about myself, others and the world in general. Because of this need to survive in a hostile environment I self protected by building a high defence which was a belief of ‘I must be stupid’. Because of this I found that I was driven to succeed and to prove myself and also I had a terrible fear of being found out. All of this was reinforced within an awful school, leaving at fifteen and walking straight into a factory job didn’t help. I developed a level of anger becoming dissociated from both myself and others all of this was about not allowing my self to be close so that I would not be rejected.
As the years went on I managed to build a successful career and eventually began to ‘find myself’ as the Americans say, I would repeatedly ask myself what life was about? Questioning why I did this or that and searching for more to life, gradually realising that contact with others was a way forward in my search for myself. However I had been very afraid throughout my life of being too close to people in case they saw me as stupid. Once I gained confidence and began to like myself the idea of being stupid dissipated.
Giving and receiving love becomes the focus for survival needing attachments and yet fearing attachment are the roundabouts on which we live we should not survive in isolation although there are those who believe they can.
Think for a while about how you feel about giving and receiving love.
Are you afraid of being close?
Are you over enthusiastic in relationships?
Do you fear rejection, abandonment and or engulfment?
Do you anticipate shame and rejection?
Do you hide aspects of yourself that you think are unacceptable?
Remember we learn how to love and receive love from the parental role models from our past we will have become like them even if we do not want to be. We will hear ourselves saying what they said, being as they identified us. Models of parenting are passed down from generation to generation some acceptable and others rejectable. If we have been wounded then only we can heal those wounds otherwise we will pass it on like a hot potato. We cannot change the past but we can change our attitude toward it.