No matter the person or their upbringing; no matter their life circumstances and lived trauma or how much damage they’ve had to endure, at the end of the day each of us needs to be able to give and receive love. Every person on this planet deserves to feel loved and feel connected to a community in whatever way that’s best for them.
This sense of belonging is vital to our well-being. It’s tantamount to our survival which is how most people approach their relationships with love: they need to it survive. But I think it’s important to not only survive – which is a panicked and stress-induced state of being – but to thrive. A place where we can live authentically and sore to our highest potential.
Love is a Basic Need
If you grew up in an environment filled with fights, abuse, and traumatic experiences too complicated for a child to understand then you likely have a high score on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) questionnaire. These early childhood experiences programmed you; they conditioned you at such a tender age to accept a warped perception of love and safety. It’s then, through no fault of your own that you search for love when you aren’t ready, or you repeat toxic cycles of abuse. Since your upbringing distorted your belief in real, healthy love then the toxic relationship becomes comfortable and familiar – it’s connected to home.
The scary part is when we convince ourselves this feels right. We believe the abuse is love because we don’t have any other frame of reference. It’s so deeply rooted and engrained in the fibers of our being that anything that challenges our version of normal feels scary. Imagine that! When we are met with pure, unconditional love, we move away because it is foreign, unfamiliar – unsafe.
How many of you can relate to that? I know I can.
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, he lists Love and Belonging as basic needs right after your Physiological Needs like food, clothing, and shelter; and your Safety Needs like health, safety, and employment.
So, now that we’ve established that love is a basic need that one needs in order to survive, then how can we shift our mindset from survival mode to a perspective filled with unimaginable possibilities? How can we move away from a toxic cycle to a love that nourishes the soul and relationship that we have the power to attract?
Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Heart
If we break it down simply and use food as an example, in the western part of the world we have an abundance of food. Every item imaginable is at our disposal but not all of it is good for us.
We know the ones that are destructive to our health like sugar and salt. And so, if we care about the health of our body, we feed it with whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And yes, we do this so we can live long and healthy lives, but there’s an immediacy to this lifestyle as well. It also enables us to perform at an optimal level in our day-to-day lives. Remove the crap from our diets and our energy levels are heightened, our strength is increased, our mental clarity is revitalized, and we are rewarded with glowing skin. This is science.
The same applies to our shelter. Where we lay our heads down at night has a direct impact on not only our sleep patterns but our mental health. Do we feel safe in our homes? Our bed? The neighborhood we live in? If we are so fortunate, this is all factored in when apartment hunting, mattress shopping, and when we lock our doors at night.
Don’t you want to feel nourished, refreshed, and safe with the food you eat, and the home you live in?
The Love Clean Diet
As illustrated above just because it is a basic need does not mean we need to accept anything less than what will nourish our body and feed our soul. We know the foods that are unhealthy for us, and we also know the places that aren’t the safest to sleep at night. Now apply the same principles to love but not just your romantic partners – all types of love. The love from your family, friends, and colleagues.
What would the equivalent of oranges, kale, and water look like in a relationship? What are the sugar and salty relationships? Can you distinguish between the two?
What does your closest relationship look like? How about your ideal relationship?
6 Steps on How to Attract the Love You Deserve
1. Attract the Energy You Desire
Pay close attention to what you bring into your world. What energies are you attracting because of your childhood experience? Which ones do you naturally call upon? If we have not yet established healthy relationships with all the unhealthy activity inside us then we can’t manifest it externally to live a more positive reality.
2. Make Peace with Your Past
You can start by taking a truthful look at your past. As traumatic as it may seem because unpacking all that baggage is the key to unlocking what’s been holding you back from your true Self and realizing the love you deserve. Dust off the skeletons and take are hard look at what has shaped you. Grieve this loss and remember you are not defined by your past so it should not control your present and future.
3. Forgive Those that Hurt You
Forgiveness is often a tricky step for most people to understand, and it truly is the most healing. The act can be purely selfish, and necessary even to finally release the energy that is keeping you trapped in a perception that has kept you thinking you don’t deserve better. This is not your story. Forgive those who caused you pain, and give love to the abuse and trauma. Find compassion for yourself, and others, and then make room for more positive energy.
4. Foster a Relationship with Yourself
This is all exciting work: uncovering, forgiving, and releasing. When all that is done then you are left with a person you may not be familiar with. Who is the new person that stands before you wanting a new life? Discover the rebirth of yourself. Find out what your hobbies are, and what foods you love, and treat yourself out to a date. This time of year, we can get bogged down by a contrived ideal set upon us by a capitalist society. Ditch the status quo and treat yourself to flowers and a nice dinner. Fall in love with the deeper you, and then watch the love you deserve, filled with community and belonging, follow. But first, love who you are. Show people how you want to be treated. It starts with you.
5. Practice Awareness
The glue that holds it all together is awareness. Practice mediation to familiarize yourself with the habit of becoming aware of your thoughts. You will be astonished at the traffic of your mind and the unnecessary movement. Pay attention and notice each thought and let it move through your mind with no attachment. Remember to repeat, “you are more than your thoughts.”
6. Keep Living Your Life
As for as we know, we only have one life and why give anyone the power to diminish or taint our soul’s journey? Take that power back and bring in presence into each day. Bring in love in everything you do and watch how magnetic you will become. You can learn to not live in the past by nurturing the present moment. Cultivate a relationship with yourself. Redefine your comfort in the trauma and explore all the love this world has to offer.
I full-heartedly believe that we can break these rather strong modes of thinking and behavioural patterns. I know this because I broke my own through a varied process of self-improvement work. And my main mission you might say is to make us all more mindful and intentional with everything we consume and bring into our lives. If we all live by these principles and apply them to every aspect of our lives, maybe we can avoid a lot of unnecessary heartache…and heartburn.
Until next time, you Wildsoul – keep blooming!