I realized today that I have become an Alcatraz of Okay-ness.
Locked in, locked up and locked out by being too okay with how my life has gone.
Have you ever had an “aha” moment, that when you go back and look at the trigger, you think to yourself, “but I already knew that!”? That sinking feeling when you realize that your epiphany, your light bulb moment of the week, month, year, lifetime was in response to something so simple, so basic, so, well, ordinary? Welcome to my day.
I was listening to the summary for an online forum of a week of talks on success and a speaker told a story about a successful career woman who was single. He talked about how this woman had normal but somewhat emotionally unavailable parents and how she had turned the hurts of her neglected inner child into a fiercely independent adult. Okay, so without the career success, this is starting to sound pretty close to home.
Then he went on to say that she had closed off from admitting that she needed to be loved. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! Bells went off, neon signs flashed over my head and the crowds cheered (in my head) as this seemingly simple and not exactly new concept somehow sank into the place inside me that needed to hear it.
Oh my God. This is what I have been missing. I have to create the space in my heart to attract love by admitting a need to be loved.
All seven of my regular readers will know that I have been rather single for (ahem) a while. You may have also read between the lines that suggested that I have done a fair bit of inner work and so I am not being glib when I say I have resolved many many layers of mother relationship, father relationship, inner child stuff, feeling unloved and feeling unwanted. All those stories that pretty much all of us carry to some degree or another.
I have dug, I have sat, I have processed, I have forgiven, I have sent love, been love, I have done, well, a lot.
I have even spent much time contemplating my need to be loved. My inner child’s expectation of being loved. My previous behaviors aimed at eliciting love from others. I have processed, I have shone light and I have resolved. I consider myself to be reasonably whole and complete and capable of being a single human being. I have had to be—I am a certified, card-carrying, upstanding member of the independent singledom tribe.
What I have never admitted, what I have never even considered, is that my adult self has a need to be loved. Oh, I have dealt with all the stuff about being needy, but I had not admitted to a simple human need for a connection, a relationship, a lover. We get told that “conscious” people don’t “need.”
So, here is my question to all those other wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, conscious single people out there. Have you been so busy processing your neediness, your hurts, your expectations that you have not left any space in your heart for needing to be loved?
All of this stuff we get told about having to work on yourself, resolve your issues, work on loving yourself—yes it is all wonderful and true and important—but is it possible that we have taken out one very simple and essential thing—the space that allows someone else to come in and love us? Our own admission of needing to be loved?
Yes, after we sit through all our childhood pain about our parental relationships, after we process our “failed” partner history, after we search the dark corners of our heart for our own sense of worthiness, after we find our feet as whole and complete individuals, perhaps there is another step. Finding the grown-up, whole and okay need to be loved.
Now I wish I could tell you some wonderful story about how—not 10 minutes after my epiphany—the love of my life walked through the door, but that hasn’t quite happened yet. But I am going to carry this awareness with me tomorrow when I just happen to swing by the café that I know a very gorgeous man goes to every morning. And I am going to remember my need for love when I walk into yoga class and make eye contact with date-able men.
And I am going to remember to soften my own fierce pride in my self-containment and my independence. I am going to find the space in my heart that needs to be loved.
Author: Tui Anderson
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Charlie Barker/Flickr