Freedom to Love

By Garet Bedrosian

Edward Burne-Jones          (Illustrator)
Edward Burne-Jones (Illustrator)

 Touched by an Angel
by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient memories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Most of us take for granted our freedom to love whomever we choose but, are you really free? Do you have the courage?

Over the last 30 years I’ve worked with thousands of individuals and couples. I’ve seen men and women who are straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, polyamorous, into BDSM, addicted, in recovery, suffering from various mental illnesses, Caucasian, African American, Asian, Native American, East Indian, South African, Hispanic, European, Pacific Islanders, Australian and probably many others I can’t recall.

Legalizing marriage for same sex couples in 2015, just as legalizing biracial marriage in 1967 can influence societal sanctions but when the fears and restrictions to loving another are internal there are no laws that will change that obstacle. That is an inside job.

Too many of us are stricken with self-doubt, low self-worth, self-loathing or even self-hatred. We have deep seated beliefs that we are not lovable and or don’t deserve to be loved.

We habitually choose partners who cannot love us in the way we desire because they possess their own version of unlovability. (Ah ha, more evidence! Our conscious or unconscious beliefs must be true.)

This merry-go-round/roller coaster/haunted house combo is exhausting, discouraging and causes too many people to give up on love all together.

We didn’t get what we needed, in the way that we needed, as much as we needed in our family of origin so we thought for sure we could get it in our romantic relationships.

There, my friends is the problem. We keep trying to get our romantic partners to love us in the ways we needed as children and when they don’t (can’t) we have adult temper tantrums. We yell, scream, criticize, blame, shame, sulk, withdraw, withhold, punish and worse. That should do it! Who wouldn’t love us after that display of neediness and resentment?

Are you getting it? This pattern won’t change unless you do the inside work. You have to make what’s unconscious, conscious. You have to forgive yourself and learn to love yourself … flaws and all. You have to treat yourself like the treasure you are. You have to change your attractors and be willing to tolerate the loneliness and frustration of waiting until someone who deserves you shows up or your current partner heals right along side you.

I know it works. It worked for me and it has worked for many of my clients regardless of their orientation. Many people give up or don’t want to invest the time or money to do what it takes. Some continue to believe it’s outside their control. Some decide they would rather be alone. Those are legitimate choices.

I don’t have any investment in or judgement about someone else’s decision. I do have an investment in helping people make conscious choices.

You can find factions of our society that sanction whatever your style of relating and commitment. That can be exhilarating and liberating. It can also be confusing and disheartening.

If you find yourself in the second category it might serve you to take the time to know and love yourself before you engage others. Those self-sabotaging beliefs don’t need more evidence. You don’t need to collect any more heartbreaks. It’s time!

There are many personal and relational healing resources from which to choose from 12 Step support groups for co-dependents as well as addicts, group therapies, on line courses, self-help books, coaches and therapy.

I would be honored to support you on your journey. How can I help?

(Check out the ‘Keeping the Love You Find’ a workshop for individuals interested in intra-personal healing. July 31-August 2, 2015)

Watch Maya Angelou
‘On Courage and Love’