The modern-day romanticized idea of love has us believe that love has no boundaries…
That if we love someone, we will accept them as they are, and that they will do the same for us…
That love overcomes all.
But love does have boundaries.
Our misunderstanding of unconditional love is often the very thing that stops us receiving it.
It also contributes to our inability to heal from relational trauma, which is, in essence, an experience where healthy love was not available.
Our quest for an all-encompassing romantic love (which IMO is not really love at all) causes some big issues.
Loss of Self
Our desire to be loved has us tying ourselves up into a pretzel to make it work.
We shift our boundaries, which erodes our self-respect.
We abandon certain desires or behaviors that may not be well-received by our partner.
In order to make it work, we have to be different, better, brighter, nicer, lesser….
This isn’t loving.
This is co-dependence…
The imprisonment of our impulse, agency, and individuality.
When love becomes a cage, we will be eternally unhappy, either trying to escape or wishing we could disappear.
When we are wrapped up in a fantastical notion of love, we will project it onto our partner.
We want them to simulate an experience that makes us feel complete, heard, seen, cherished above all.
Ultimately, we want them to heal us.
We often get caught up in seeing someone’s potential, rather than their present truth.
Spoiler alert! When you are in love with an idea or a potential version of someone, you will always feel lack, disappointment, or frustration.
You’ll also never feel true intimacy, because your heart is trying to connect to a mirage rather than a real live person.
These two reasons are why so many of us exist in dysfunctional relationships or end up alone. We have been looking for the wrong thing!
Perhaps this derives from Hollywood’s depiction of love, or perhaps it arises from our inner child’s unmet needs.
Either way, we can re-negotiate our understanding of what real love is, and orient towards it.
Real, healthy love invites:
- Vulnerability and authenticity
- Individuality and independence
- Empathy, compassion, and care
These are the same tools we need to heal our relational trauma.
Healing our trauma can lead us to the real deal.
In truth, I believe it’s the only thing that can really get us there.
In order to relate from a truly loving place, we need:
- Enough internal safety to acknowledge our feelings, impulses and desires.
- The courage to crack our hearts open and speak our truth.
- The strength to turn away from any kind of connection that does not respect and welcome our complex, messy, human self.
Start healing your trauma. Create a new map for love.
» Learn more about trauma recovery at Illuma Health.