If you were drowning or starving, everyone would expect you to freak out. You’d be doing whatever you possibly could to survive. No one would blame you or shame you. Most people would stop everything they were doing and help.
Love is a basic need like air and food. Most people have heard of the studies done with babies. A group of infants were given food and shelter, but not love, and over time, they did die. I’ve thought about this a lot. Those babies who never got human touch and eye contact, died. But many babies who have been abused, live. So this need for connection and love is overwhelming. Even if the connection is negative.
When you don’t receive healthy love as a child, you do goofy things. Just like a person who’s starving will dig through the garbage for food, a person starved for love will look for it in all the wrong places. If you see a starving person, your heart goes out. You do something to help. We all would. Just like the person drowning. We help those who need air or water.
But when we see a person starving for love, our culture shames them. We blame them for being irresponsible, sinning, and being out of control. We look down on them. We look down on ourselves. That’s not to say the behaviors aren’t damaging. Just like when a person is drowning, they can actually drown the person trying to save them because they’re so afraid. We never say to a drowning person, “You’re sinning! The ten commandments say “thou shalt not kill!” That would be ridiculous.
So if you find yourself looking for love in all the wrong places, or know someone who is, I’d like to invite you to look at the situation differently. If your tendency is to judge the behavior, feel horrible about yourself and hide the truth, instead think about the root cause. Then get help to fix it.
We can look around society and easily find how shaming isn’t working at all. When behaviors are shamed they go underground and grow. When I have an infection and try to cover it up and hope it goes away, it gets worse. That’s been the popular way of dealing with addictions and anxiety and relationship issues. All of which are growing exponentially each year. The number of people experiencing anxiety has skyrocketed.
What does work? Feeling loved. Having a sense of belonging. One example that I love is Portugal. Portugal had a huge drug problem and was running out of money to deal with it. So the government did something radical. It took all the tax dollars allocated for jailing addicts, and put them instead into programs for those addicted to become part of a community. To feel like they belong. To feel healthy love.
Sound like hippie dippie bull? It worked! They cut the drug problem in half! (Time Magazine article by By Naina Bajekal) (read more about this here) That’s staggering. Is it because humans need to be coddled? No. It’s because humans need to feel connected. To be empowered to know they don’t have to get love outside of themselves and be dependent on others for their value. Knowing “I am enough” is so powerful!
That’s what’s so amazingly profound about RTT. Once you love yourself, you don’t have to look for it any longer in all the wrong places. And you don’t have to doubt everything you do and worry you are doing it all wrong. You can feel fully loved by the words you tell your mind over and over. You can become an adult that loves him or herself without having to rely on anyone or anything else to make you feel connected. That is empowering!
That’s why it’s key to never stop giving yourself love! Tell yourself wonderful truths everyday. And connect with community wherever you are able to. There is no shame in destructive behaviors, but there is no reason to stay in them! It’s no way to live. If you or anyone else is struggling, get help. You deserve to feel loved and connected.
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