‘Nobody loves me’, ‘It couldn’t even go right this time’, ‘Clearly, this wasn’t the right person for me’. What do we mean by these words? How many times have we heard from others? And who knows how many times we have said them, or at least thought them down in the depths of our hearts? What do they imply? They are the sign of an unhealed and still painful wound, of a need for love that over years and experiences has remained unfulfilled.
It is a common condition for many.
Many of us feel misunderstood, abandoned, lonely yet never really alone, unloved, poorly loved or simply not loved enough. These feelings often have archaic origins in unhappy emotional experiences, perhaps in childhood, which have rooted deeply inside us and influence all subsequent relationships.
If we think of the case of a boy that, during his childhood, has always seen his parents as removed and unsentimental, then we cannot be surprised if growing up he becomes a man that will look for a partner with the same characteristics. This instinct is not a conscious attitude, but the re-enactment of an affective model learnt in childhood. An unconscious mechanism, which often digs a furrow deep into the heart.
The wounds of those that feel unloved hail from far. Their origin is the day – do you remember that day? – when your mother told you that crying is ‘girly behaviour’, that, even though you are a girl, you can’t afford it, that you have to be tough, for heck’s sake, and face life hard-nosed and thick-skinned. No weakness is to be tolerated then, no flagging, you have to assert yourself and make your way in life, and that is why she has brought you to the sound of smacks and scolds instead of caresses and cuddles, those hugs and kisses that you will always miss.
Their origin is the night – do you remember that night? – when your father did not come home and you spent hours in anguish and vain hope, because he would not return that night or ever more, and you would never be able to tell him what you had dreamed of telling him since forever, as there never had been time, nor way, nor the right moment. And now there is an impenetrable silence in your life, fused forever to your soul, that not one nor tens of romantic partners can break and that grows day after day around your heart. You stop talking, spend your days with headphones in your ears listening to music and ever only communicate the strictly essential. You no longer expect anything from life, apart from a long sequence of obligations and regrets, and have forgotten the true meaning of the word happiness.
The unloved – and many of us are or have been so – often live in a sort of existential purgatory, where they atone for who knows what sin, contemplating the past to which they are still bound by heavy chains. How can one break out of this emotional and mental prison?
Our past, for however much we reflect on it or mull it over, will never return, and it is just as well because ultimately it no longer exists, but merely casts shadows that project on our present. Therefore, should we let ourselves be weighed down by a shadow? Would it not be better walk towards the light? The light is our present, the life of today, which is where we must dwell.
We cannot bring the past back to life, nor would it be right. We need to understand our life experiences, analyze them deeply and not be afraid of painful events resurfacing, but only for the sole purpose of freeing ourselves, by forgiving ourselves first and then by regaining our ability to love and, above all, to be loved, to receive love and to recognize it.
Many people wonder whether it is really possible to escape from the shackles of their own past. It is, just as long as you break the vicious circle. Perhaps your father has been gone now for many years, and your mother has passed away or is elderly and as fragile as bone china in her uncomfortable old age, with her unchanging ideas and persistent preoccupations. What could you ever tell him or her now? What is there to reproach of them now? Perhaps they have been deeply wounded in their lives too. Did you ever you think of that?
And if it is exactly what happened, how could they give to you what they themselves had not ever had? How could they have acted differently, if they in turn had been unloved or poorly loved, or if love had never really been part of their lives? Think about it, and forgive. Forgive and understand. Forgive, and go forward.
The instant you shut the door on your past, forgiving those who have made you suffer and yourself for having let them do so, then you are ready to receive love, which is already present in your life, but still steeped in the shadow that surrounds your heart. Open your heart to the light and warmth that make you feel good and of which you need.