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The big E’s – the emotions that shape us – Part two – Love.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the first of the two main emotions. Fear.

I ended the blog with the introduction of the opposite big E – Love, with the intention of getting straight to it. I haven’t so much procrastinated but soon realised that a subject with so many connotations, references and quotes wasn’t going to be straight forward. Because as I found out, finding Love is a journey of self-discovery. Often messy but most definitely achievable.

Growing up I associated the word love with finding a romantic partner. The one, the husband, the lover, the forever partner. Mixed up with fantasy and quite often delusion, I thought that Love was something I had to find somewhere from someone else.
I hunted around for years looking for the person who was going to gift me this thing called Love. Like a magic potion it would transform my life into one of Bollywood style opulence where everything glistened with gold, and every problem was solved with a song and a dance. Ok, there goes my imagination again. But you get my drift. I call this my ‘princess thinking’ period which to be frank went on for years.

Experience went on to teach me that even if someone says they love you (in a romantic setting) when challenged by life events, this thing called love gets tested, put in the spotlight and the reality of the situation can so often come tumbling down around your diamante studded heels and the dream has gone up in a puff of smoke.

Gradually, bit by bit, I would find myself in desperate situations where my worth depended on the love I received from others. Not just lovers but family and friends. Every criticism, betrayal of trust or hurtful remark sent me further down the spiral of low self-worth. I mean if these people couldn’t show me love then maybe I was unlovable at some level. I felt permanently sad and was in an ongoing grieving process for the love I so longed for. Then suddenly what would appear to be out of the blue, my world imploded, and my mind and body gave up. Call it a nervous breakdown or a nervous ‘shutdown’ my body and mind could cope no more. Of course, there were many factors that resulted in my collapse but the underlying theme of feeling loveless was strong. All of this despite the fact I had raised a beautiful daughter and from the outside looking in everything looked good.

I was unable to mentally and physically ‘get up’. My mental health was through the floor and well-meaning folk who would say ‘you’ve got to love yourself’ and ‘find self-love’ just sounded like platitudes and just added to the meaningless noise of useful advice that was all around me. By now, I felt nothing. I felt nothing for 18 months. The tale, too long and at times disturbing got far worse before it got better. But it did get better. Much better.

You see in my worst possible times I was surrounded by love and in turn felt safe to have many realisations and ‘aha’ moments:

· I had a therapist who showed considerable compassion and went over and above at times to demonstrate a true belief in me. Through much talking we started to establish my core values. Honesty came up as my number one, but the penny dropped that I had continuously hidden my true feelings for fear of rejection and disapproval. Nowadays, don’t ask me a difficult question and not expect to get an honest answer. Apologies if its not what you want to hear. I continue to check in with my therapist.

· I had and still have a spiritual life coach who helps me with the practical coaching side of things but is also intuitive and gifted. She never gave up on me and constantly told me that things would be good again. I honestly didn’t believe her at the time, but I look back and realise that she was planting hope. She introduced me to working with positive energies and I am beyond grateful for her presence in my life.

· Friendships were put in the spotlight. I’ve loosened the rein on people I was never quite sure of. People who I never really trusted with my heart. Meanwhile, others showed up and showed nothing but care and understanding. I see people very clearly now and this above anything is a huge advantage. My friendships now really are all about quality not quantity and whilst its still difficult to watch some friendships fade away, I’m no longer attached to the outcome. Letting go of the need for approval and looking for love in people who were merely my teachers, not necessarily my friends is the most freeing feeling I have ever encountered.

· Family. Whilst my upbringing contributed to a lot of my feelings of low self-worth there’s nothing like a ‘warts and all’ breakdown to stir up the sludge. I have a deeper love and understanding for my parents who I now can see did the very best they could for me. I love my parents and wouldn’t change them. My sister was amazing throughout.

I guess the moral of the story is if you look for an unlimited source of love from other people you will be constantly disappointed. Whilst Love is circular and flows between souls, unless you’re willing to take a long hard look at yourself, or if you refuse to be accountable for your perceived lack of love then genuine love will always elude you. Your own love and the love of others. Love is an easy exchange once you stand true to your soul and ditch the BS. Love for ourselves is all we ever really aspire to. Once we love ourselves, we will attract in our love matches be it in romance or friendships.

The best bit is once you realise all of this you can still have your Bollywood wedding and diamante heels. Although time has moved on and its more likely to be elegant with an element of comfort. There will however be plenty of singing and dancing.


Louisa x

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