One of the things that I didn’t say to my father directly was “thank you for teaching me how to love.” As much pain as there is having a loving relationship not work out the way you hope, it really isn’t as bad as not being able to experience love. Yesterday a friend asked if was sure that I was ready to start dating again and I conceded that I would get hurt again, and again, and again until if found the ideal partner or died. But not living is worse than the hurting because a life of inhibition and not feeling connected to someone you adore is more enjoyable as sitting on my hands waiting.
My dad was an extremely compassionate person who did everything in his power to make sure the family was well taken care of, happy and that each of us knew we belonged in the family REGARDLESS of what we did or thought. He and my mother fostered and engendered a sense unconditional love that I have set-out trying to recreate with others; in my romantic relationships, friendships and effectively anyone on the planet. When I tell Des, Sarah, my mom, my dad, Tony, Sean, Jeff, Deb, Rachel, Kate, Leigh, Sharyl, or Natalie that I love them it is because I do and that I don’t feel any shame for it. I’ve said it to clients, other Group Ex instructor and the occasional stranger who doesn’t seem to have it for themselves.
In my relationships, once I realize that I love the person and that we’re going to make a run for it, the love is expressed and I accept and love everything about them. They may not be the typical type that I get involved with, they may have what they view to be baggage, but I accept these things and will adjust my image of the future to accommodate them. Their track record may be as bad as mine (nothing but failed relationships) but it doesn’t matter because once you accept your feelings, you express them 100% and without being inhibited, and you enjoy the gift that the universe has helped you draw into your life.
My parents were together for their entire life so I have seen it modeled. Staying in and working on a relationship isn’t anything that seems unnatural. Through the challenges and through the good times, I try to keep my head up knowing that what is in my heart is pure and that the other person is not going it alone. If they ask for help, I give it, if they complain about something that they are causing, I’ll tell them how to fix it and if they are being dishonest with themselves or with me, I’ll call them on it. The goal is not control, it’s for us to return to the present because that is the only place were peace can actually exist.
There are times that I feel it is a curse as it can take a long time to recover from the end of a relationship but that is the nature of how I love. It is for a life time regardless of whether or not it should have ever been. This means it can take an awful long time before I reconnect with those I used to share a future with, but that is what it means.
My dad never feel out of love with my mom, so I’ve never learned how to fall out of love with my romantic partners. And when all is said and done, even though I haven’t gotten it right, I’m confident that when I do, life will be peaceful forever. There’s no shame in that and no need to forgive myself either.
Unconditional love is beautiful and I’m grateful for having been born to parents who taught me how to do it. Thanks mom and dad!