Monday, February 28, 2005

We love as we were loved

We love as we were loved

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Sunday, February 27, 2005 10:38 PM

I had a very interesting session with our Nazareth House residents yesterday. I ran a seminar about love, and the first question I asked was the most obvious one: “ What is love?”

The answers were fascinating. For more than one hour, I listened as the residents gave their own definition of what love is all about. There were no two definitions that were the same. It was as if everyone had his or her own ideas about love. And they varied from one end of the spectrum to the other. And many were contradicting each other.

Since I know their personal stories, I found it fascinating to see how their ideas about loving reflected their own experiences of the past. Like the battered woman who had lived in with a beast of a man for 10 years. She said that “love was sticking it out despite all the pain…that one who loves must endure the hurt”.

Another who had lived a life of emotional depravation said that love was “all about sacrifice. One had to hurt in order to love”.

Still others admitted that they didn’t know how to love. Even some guys who had many women disclosed that they never loved even one of them. What was most significant though was how strongly their views on loving reflected their own past. It just goes to show how subjective are our ideas about loving.

We are our past. We are the sum total of all our past experiences. We love as we were loved, and we do this blindly without giving it much thought. Unless we educate ourselves and get to know more about ourselves and what makes us tick, we will love without knowing what is behind our motive for loving.

The more we understand how the past has moulded and formed our ideas about love, the better prepared will we be to make changes and adjustments in the way we love.

The woundedness in us can only be healed if we become aware of the reasons why we think of love the way we do. During the session, one man stood up and said that love means giving all of one’s time to the loved one. He had been raised by a mother who was overly protective, a doting mother who did everything for him. Now a grown man, he demanded that the woman who would love him be at his side whenever he needed her, which was just about all the time. If not, he would dump her. He was unconsciously looking for a woman who would love him the way his mother did. Yet, he was unaware of the inner dynamics involved and despite his many women, all his relationships had failed. Small wonder since he was so demanding and so possessive. His idea of love was more about being mothered than loving.

Studying our past gives us insights into how we have acquired the thought and behavior patterns that rule us. Once we can do this, we are in a better position to judge whether or not we wish to make changes.


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