Truth Byte #20

Truth Byte #20

It happened a long time ago, and maybe so early in your life that you don’t remember it.  

Maybe you were patting your baby brother on the head and he whacked you in the face.  Maybe you were cuddling your cat and she clawed you.  

Maybe you offered something to a playground buddy and were rejected.  

Maybe you were generous with your good ideas and everybody laughed at you.  

Maybe you watched your parents, who were supposed to love each other, bicker and argue and belittle each other without respite.  

Whatever it was, it’s got a hold of you, and is impacted your capacity to give and receive love.

Many of us have mixed up pain and love.  

I remember the most adored I felt as a child was when I broke my ankle in first grade.  My parents catered to my every whim, actually allowing me to read in public so I could do something I considered fun while the other kids spent the summer splashing around in someone’s backyard pool.  Friends and strangers wrote “get fixed soon” messages on my plaster cast, and drew hearts in all shapes and sizes that I would study while I sat alone on the sidelines while everyone else played without me.  For a short couple months there, I felt so loved.  

And yet physically, I was in so much pain.

I consciously relived that confusion when I delivered my first baby.  Love and pain blended together into sweet agony as they cut me open to give him life.  Every time I picked him up, my body would scream in anguish, and yet my heart bubbled over with adoration.  Breastfeeding was a nightmare for those first few months, and yet I pushed through the blisters and bleeding as my motherly instincts dictated my actions so I could nourish and protect my baby.  

Pain and love, linked inextricably together.

I have seen this crossing of neural wires in my clients.  Each one of them has a story of when they confused the two, expecting love to be painful.  Our cultural stories and mythologies echo this theme.  

And yet true love, from Source, never brings pain.  

True love doesn’t leave anyone out.  

My teacher Chuck Spezzano wrote a book called “If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love”.  I give this book as homework to my clients who are healing recent and ancient heartbreaks, and those who have entangled love with pain.  The first step is to realize what Love actually is, and let go of all the pain we have associated with it.

Here’s how to know if you have got your love and pain wires got crossed:

  1. You are looking for a passionate, fiery relationship, similar to you have had before.  You spent a lot of time either crying or pining after the other person.  You felt so alive and you want that again.
  1. Your partner seems boring these days and you have been kinda thinking about having an affair.  Or you have already had an affair while one of you was in a committed relationship with someone else.
  1. You seem to always have a juicy drama story to tell.
  1. You justify things by saying, “That’s just how men/women are” when someone hurts you in an intimate relationship.
  1. You grew up watching your parents fight, either overtly or passive-aggressively.
  1. You find yourself pushing away people who claim to care about you, including friends and business colleagues.
  1. When things get “too good”, you start feeling anxious, like it’s all going to come crashing down.
  1. You hit your kids.
  1. You were hit as a kid.
  1. You can’t access your emotions and/or you think people who are emotional are weak.
  1. You are in an abusive relationship (including physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, financial, any kind of abuse.)  Or you don’t think your relationship is abusive but your friends tell you it is.
  1. You gossip about people that you say are your friends.

If you could relate to one or more of the statements above, chances are high that you got your wires crossed, and pain and love are inter-woven for you.  

So what?

Many of us have this dilemma, and until those wires get uncrossed, little life events can morph into crisis without us understanding how or why.  Life feels like a rollercoaster, and it feels like the next drama is just lurking around the corner.  When someone beautiful happens to you, you have this sick feeling because you know it’s just a matter of time until something goes wrong.  And so you are careful to not get too excited about anything.

I would call that living at half mast.

And that means it is going to take you forever to get where you want to go.

So how do we fix it?  

Three simple steps:

  1. Own it. 
    • Understand that you have a mixed-up way of seeing love, and see if you can figure out where it started.  You may have a clear memory, like I did, or you may be able to get there through something a bit more hands-on like working with a counsellor or attending a workshop. (Some good ones on this topic coming up in the Fall!)
  1. Share it. 
    • When you do this work alone, it is easy to fall in to old habits and no one would ever know.  When you include someone else, you know have a cheerleader in your corner.  It could start with a simple conversation like “I have realized I mix up love and pain.  Could you point out to me when I am doing that over the next two weeks?”
  1. Track it.  
    • Start today with a log book of the thoughts you have that demonstrate the mix-up.  (For example: “I found out my friend’s husband cheated on her.  I knew their relationship was too good to be true.”  This thought shows you that you expect that love will always come with pain.)  Also track thoughts that demonstrate your corrected thinking: (“I know that love will find a way.  Either they will become stronger through this or they will part ways and they will each find their true match.”)  Follow your thoughts for a week or two and see if you are able to track more of the corrected thinking.  The more you practice, the better you will get, and tracking let’s you see the progress. 

Once you see that love is just love, you will also start to notice that pain comes from attachments and expectations.  When you step into love, you become irresistible.  

We are all looking forward to meeting the new, renovated, love-filled you!

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira (she/her) provides mental health support through individual counselling, groups, immersive workshops/courses, and free educational content. Over the last 14 years, we have helped men and women of many backgrounds find answers to their questions about work, life, love, and meaning. Much mainstream psychology overlooks spirituality, family values, and community context, so we have decided to specialize in serving clients who are ready for change and also want to include their cultural values and spiritual beliefs into therapy.

You don't need to carry this pain forever.

Offering both online and in-person sessions, we are here to help you feel, heal, and grow with grace. Send us a question or book in your free telephone consultation now!

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