LOOKING FOR LOVE: HIDING VS. SEEKING (Part 2 of 4)
Greetings and welcome to my post. The purpose of this post is to engage in conversation about how all of us do relationships. I believe that we are created for relationships and what gives us the most meaning in our lives is the significant relationships we have with people. When we have positive, growing, and happy relationships, then our lives become more meaningful. But the opposite can also happen when we have conflict, hate, and hurt in our most important relationships. Then life can become very stressful and depressing.
In this current post, I want to focus on what we are all looking for: Love. In 1987, “U2” penned these words in their song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”
“I have climbed highest mountains; I have run through the fields, only to be with you. I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, only to be with you. But I still haven’t found what I’m look for.”
The focus of this song is a man desperately looking for love, and he is stating in his plea how much he has tried to find love but still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. He is desperate but ends up unsatisfied.
Today, we can still claim the desperation and longing we all want: To love and be loved. When you are loved, you feel connected and plugged in. You feel and know that someone loves you, likes you, and desires to be with you. Someone has chosen you and enjoys you and when you feel that chosen love, you feel very satisfied and fulfilled. Your love tank is full.
HIDING FROM LOVE
In my last post, I wrote about why we hide. We hide due to hurt and pain and we use hiding as a strategy to both cope and protect ourselves from relationship hurt. In this post, let me show you, how your hiding style prevents you from the very thing that you need for healing. For example, if you have an infection, you need antibiotics to bring healing to your area of need. When we hide, we avoid the very thing we need, love and hope, which acts like an emotional antibiotic to the emotional hurt and pain we experience.
So what do you need that you hide from for healing? Let me focus on four areas of important needs that we hide from that are necessary for healing our hurt and pain (Thanks to John Townsend from his book, Hiding From Love for thoughts regarding this subject).
Our Need for Attachment
The first area we all must have is the need to feel a sense of closeness and attachment. Bonding is not just a movie or a currency investment. To bond with someone is really, important to our lives. When we bond and form an attachment to others, people then can act as a safety net for our lives, especially when we are hurting, and we can view them as people that we can count on. Therefore, when someone desires to move toward us and love us, we need to respond by receiving their love. We all need to feel that we are loved.
Our Need for Separateness
The second area we all must have is the need to know that we can be separate from one another without feeling someone is going to criticize us, accuse us or make us feel bad that we want to be our own individual. This has to do with feeling that we can set boundaries and take responsibility and ownership over our lives. We all need to feel separate and we need to say yes or no when it comes to setting boundaries, and becoming our own person. We all need to feel that we are accepted.
Our Need for Resolving Good and Bad
The third area that we all need for our lives is to know that we are forgiven. The challenge in this area is to find a way to resolve the conflict of wanting to be perfect and then accepting the fact that life, people, are ourselves are not perfect. We all at times can move back and forth be trying too hard to be perfect or giving up and concluding we are a failure and feeling all bad. To resolve this swing between feeling either all good or all bad on a daily basis is to know that we are forgiven and we can accept the fact that we are loved and cared for just as we are. We all need to feel that we are forgiven.
Our Need for Authority and Adulthood
The final area that we all need for our lives is the ability to take authority over our lives. As we grow, we all need to take an account of what we are good at, what are our talents, interests, and passions, and then find a way to channel our interests so that we are taking ownership and authority over our lives. When we think of the world of sports, we see people who are really good at what they do. They take authority or power over their lives in their ability to hit a baseball or swing a club. They are not passive about what they do, they go and get it. The same must be true for our lives. We all need to feel we have the power to take authority over our life.
Needs & Hiding
So when we look at these four important area for our lives, we all then need to clarify and discern how we hide from either participating and seeking one of these four areas or receiving one of these needs from others. For example, let’s say you need love and attachment but this area to trust someone has been hurt due to abuse, abandonment, or rejection from your childhood. So now an adult comes along and wants to get close to you. Do you view this person as a reminder of someone from your past and then you go into hiding? Or, let’s say that you have a need to be separate from people so that you can feel free to be yourself. Let’s say someone comes along and they want to be your friend. But then you test them by saying that you want to go and do this or that separate from them. This friend validates your need to set boundaries and be separate and does not criticize you or condemn you or is out to abandon you or isolate you. Do you hide from this friend or do you give this friend a chance?
Or, let’s say a same sex co-worker comes along and wants to work with you and get acquainted with you. But you hide from this person by saying that you are fine, I don’t need anyone, and you try to be perfect and do things on your own. Do you hide from this person or do decide to work with this person? Or let’s say you go to church or join a club and you start mingling with people and someone compliments you. Maybe at church someone says that you have a great voice and you should consider being in the choir but you minimize their input and conclude that could never sing in the choir even though you do have a great voice. Do you hide your talent and minimize your ability to sing and come up with reasons why you could never sing?
In all of these examples, the challenge is to say yes to someone moving towards you. As an adult, you can bring healing to your childhood hurts by saying yes to someone’s love and care and trust again that current people are not out to hurt and abuse you. The past does not have to be repeated into the future. You can feel the safety and trust you need to come out of hiding and receive love. Say yes to people’s love.
Phil Kiehl, LMFT, M.Div.
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject. Share your comments and share this article with others. Thanks.