Lindsay wrote the following during one of my webinars:
"I can't receive love. Physically, not even a kiss or stroke of kindness. I was never told 'you're awesome, great job, you're beautiful, you can do anything.' Therefore it's hard for me to receive love and feel worthy."
Lindsay, it is very hard to grow up with no love. You are certainly not alone in this experience. Growing up without any physical affection or emotional support is a very sad and lonely thing.
However, your conclusion — that you can't receive love because you weren't loved — is false. I work with many people who were not only not loved, but who were very badly abused, and yet they are still capable of giving and receiving love.
The problem right now is that you see yourself as a victim of your childhood. You believe that your current inability to receive love and feel worthy is caused by what your childhood caregivers did, rather than by how you are currently treating yourself.
While your low self-worth started as a child, the fact that it continues now is because of your own self-abandonment.
Lindsay, you have the opportunity right now to learn to love and value the little child within you who is desperate for love — for your love. You will not feel worthy of love, nor be able to give and receive love from others, until you decide to learn to be the loving parent to yourself that you never had.
You will not be able to open to and trust others' love until you become a trustworthy loving adult to the little girl within you. Only when you learn to love and value yourself will you be able to open your heart to others and risk being hurt.
Opening our heart to love can lead to hurt. Our heart can be hurt by others' unloving behavior toward us, or by someone we love dying. The only way we can fully risk loving with an open heart is to know that we can manage the pain of heartbreak.
Lindsay, it is not that you CAN'T receive love but that you WON'T. You are choosing to protect yourself against pain rather than choosing to love yourself and share your love with others.
Granted, it takes a lot of courage to be willing to risk heartbreak. But the point here is to be honest with yourself. You do not have to remain a victim of your childhood. You had a lot of heartbreak, and now, if you want to be able to give and receive love, you need to be willing to compassionately feel that heartbreak and learn to manage it, rather than continue to avoid it. What it takes is the courage to open yourself to feeling — with the utmost compassion, kindness, tenderness, caring, gentleness and understanding — your core painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness from your childhood, so that the little child in you feels seen and valued by you. In childhood, you shut yourself off from these old deeply painful feelings, because you were too little then to manage them. Once you learn that now, as an adult, you can manage your painful feelings, you will be able to allow yourself to open to love, even though that involves the risk of being hurt.
To fully give and receive love, we need to know that we can manage the heartbreak of loss — that we have a strong connection with our spiritual Guidance who will be here to comfort us through loss, and that we have a strong loving adult self who wants responsibility for all of our feelings.
I assure you, Lindsay, that when you practice Inner Bonding and learn to do this for yourself, you will be able to give and receive love — which is the greatest experience life has to offer us.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
Connect with Margaret on Facebook: Inner Bonding, and Facebook: SelfQuest.
This article was originally published at Inner Bonding
. Reprinted with permission from the author.