I see a lot of people who end up in court and sometimes even in prison because they are completely convinced that they need a certain person to survive. They cannot live without that other person – it is worth anything to try and keep that person close and connected – even via fighting, arguing, threatening – whatever it takes. They believe that they can only feel “that certain way” that is – joyful – ecstatic – fulfilled – loved – happy – safe – in the physical presence of a certain person. Wrong! But goodness, it feels oh, so, right! All they have to do is get – and keep – that special person near enough, and there is that feeling again! Aaaah.
That can be a lovely feeling, and many songs are sung about this. But what if their love object doesn’t want to play this game with them any more? What if the love object has some plans independent of them, like moving away, or loving someone else? Aaargh! They will have to fight and claw and threaten and follow – desperate to control this person they love so much and need so much and cannot live without – they have to keep the love object. They cannot lose it and survive. They are like a breastfeeding baby, losing the beloved mother. They will die! Or will they?
Sometimes I wish we could offer a seminar to people who need it, to help them develop the ability to self-soothe in a number of ways. One of the ways would be to love themselves and comfort themselves rather than trying to force someone (who likes them less and less) to do it for them, over and over again, in an endless, increasingly painful cycle of need, jealousy, fear and distrust, in which love plays an ever-diminishing role until it is completely crushed.
At the start of the seminar, the participants would be asked to try a short meditation, along these lines:
“Keep your eyes closed and just relax where you are for a few minutes. Remember back to the most wonderful love situation of your life. When you felt truly seen, and appreciated, even celebrated. Where you felt like the two of you had become one. Where you felt the polar opposite of alone – united and joyful and complete. It may have been during a sexual encounter, or just a wonderful moment. It may have happened over and over in the presence of a certain beloved. Take that feeling, choose a color for it, and put it in a disco ball above your head. Then imagine that wonderful, delicious light, in your chosen color, cascading throughout your body all the way to your feet, filling the air around you, soaking the ground beneath you, showering you with delicious love, filling you to the brim with that same feeling of joy and connection. Just spend a few minutes and be with this feeling. Relax and breathe into it. Bathe in the light of it. How does it feel?”
“Okay. Open your eyes and remember this feeling. Could you feel the love? Could you feel the peace? I hope so. Was the love object present for it? No. Did the love object even know about it? No. Did you discover that the feelings you attributed to the love object actually originate within you? That your own thoughts can create these positive and comforting feelings? I hope so. For your sake. Because people who believe that love and joy are inaccessible to us except through a love object, can easily become criminals. It is important to learn that all the wonderful feelings that we enjoy and relish originate within us, and are accessible to us at all times. We don’t need to catch and keep and control someone to keep producing this feeling for us over and over like a laying hen whose eggs we need to survive. We don’t have to keep anybody in a cage in order to feel good about ourselves.”
Just a daydream of mine. It would be one of a series of classes on self-care and autonomy. I would love to break the cycle of increasingly desperate and needy people demanding comfort that they can never believe in anyway. Because my experience in court tells me that it doesn’t end well for anyone involved.