What barriers are stopping you from living and loving authentically?
Is there a connection, or a stuckness around your body, emotions, and touch?
For many women, the life of the body has been about coming to terms with being a "vessel". Our bodies are used for carrying children, receiving, having sex, comforting, and giving... and our bodies are inextricably linked to love. Love is such a fascinating emotion. We want it, we crave it, and give it all for love — or say we do. Love is not a sacrifice or a game.
Love is the essence of who we are in our purest form, when we are invincible. Do you have the strength to be yourself without getting charged by other people's point of view? For the longest time, I thought love was like a parcel to be doled it out to those who deserved it. I know I have been stingy with my love, have hidden it in dark places.
Why has my experience been like this? Why have so many others felt the same way? Why do we create both physical and emotional barriers? So much of what I thought was love was actually silence and shame, because I believed that other people's values defined me. I didn't know that love has to begin within us, or that real beauty comes from within. It needs to be constant to create the expansiveness that has us radiant, present, and living our lives purposefully. Most of us are slapped about with self loathing, and do a bang-up job of it. Not being taught to value who we are, we instead compare ourselves to some impossible standard and find much wanting.
When I finally found myself and my authentic love through exploration and a willingness to look at strange sciences like hand analysis, and astro-numerology, I had my own incredible Eureka moment. Like a child seeing light through a prism, I realized that I was made exactly the way I was meant to be; that I was better than "just OK" at being me because I was on my chosen path. It felt so good to finally release the shame I had carried so heavily.
Suddenly, I had to take another look at what intimacy meant to me. Hiding behind a wall of shame was dark comfort, I could cry myself to sleep eating ice-cream. It worked to comfort me in a superficial way, but sweets could not replace my need to feel love and to be touched; touched both on my skin and in my heart. Shame and low-self esteem had created a barrier between me and the world, making it difficult to express my needs and find real connection.
If you can't show your feelings, then all the joy of intimacy is locked out. As a girl, my experience of being soft was harrowing. I was teased mercilessly for laughing too loud, for being out of bounds with the norm, molested at 13. My voice and joy had been silenced, and the only thing I knew was that I couldn't trust weakness — because weakness hurt, angered, and shamed me beyond belief. Those were some of the things that kept my barriers up.
Talking about love, or allowing any thought of caring to be anything put a practical action with no words, was impossible. If you came to me in pain, I would give you a perfunctory hug and tell you to suck it up or dry your tears and get on with it. I had no idea about the power of unconditional love; how it could lift pain and span bridges. It took me a while to learn that people want permission to be in pain, to shed tears and experience it for as long as the feeling grips them. If we hold the space, they will release with ease and know when it is time to move on. That's what real love is and does.
Learning active forgiveness, as well as diving deeper into alternative healing modalities, has allowed my wall to come tumbling down. Instead of barriers of glass and concrete, I have a rose bush to protect me. Yes, my body is a vessel; and now I can fill it up with love and light. Poison is a choice, shame is an option, and setting boundaries is a non-negotiable right. Setting boundaries helps me love in a deeper way; it doesn't keep me from connecting.
Sharing and loving is a gift to which I surrendered, because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to me is the rich, joy-filled intimacy I finally can feel and heal with my whole heart.
What of you? Do you see yourself as a vessel, filled with the nutrients that can comfort, shed shame, and wash in deep love?
More intimacy advice from YourTango:
- The Recipe For Intimacy: Revealing And Accepting
- Love: Tips & Expert Advice
- I Love You: 15 Ways Guys Say It Without Saying It