I know the song by the Beatles, “Love is All you Need” but I’ve learned to stop looking for truth about life in song lyrics. For me personally, to be happy in life and relationships, Love is not enough. If it was, children would grow up and continue to be happy as adults. But that didn’t happen.
Children are naturally happy human beings. But over the years of growing up we learned to sit down and be quiet. Often by being told and scolded we became afraid to express ourselves. We learned we needed to be serious in school, and to stop playing. As a child that also meant stop enjoying what you are doing and stop expressing joy. Over years we went through a phase of social conditioning that imprinted us with emotional punishments and rewards. We learned to look for praise and feel good about ourselves when we did good. We also learned to judge and feel bad about ourselves when we did bad.
In the process we developed an ego. An ego in this case being all the beliefs and self images we collected about our self over our whole life. It is these ego based beliefs and social conditioning that interferes with expressing love and being happy as an adult. In my experience love is not enough to get rid of these emotionally troublesome factors of our personality. If it was we would have had enough love as a child to protect us from being controlled by our ego and false beliefs. The problem wasn’t that we didn’t have enough love. The problem was that we didn’t have enough awareness of what these beliefs were, the false images of our self that we created, or the impact they would have on our emotions for the years after.
Later in life, when we endeavor to be happy and live lovingly in relationships these ego issues and false beliefs can resist. They can even sabotage our desire to love. Sometimes these issues of ego and false self images can remain dormant for much of our life and only really rise up to resist when we experience great love. It’s kind of nonsensical but it’s true. Sometimes when we are exposed to the greatest love and happiness, our ego tries that much harder to sabotage it. That’s when you need more than just love. You need awareness.
Resistance to Love
Sally had been dating Mark for several months. The relationship was quite wonderful. She loved him very much and they spent a lot of free time together. So as a mature accomplished professional she was quite surprised when she started having bouts of jealousy and anger. With some awareness she noticed a layer of insecurity underneath these controlling emotions of jealousy and anger. It seemed bizarre to Sally that in this experience of love for Mark, and his love for her she would react this way when she never did before in her life. It made no sense why she would feel emotions of fear and insecurity when she had such a wonderful man that loved her. It made even less sense that she would uncontrollably express jealousy and anger at a person that she loved and respected.
Sally became aware that she was destroying the wonderful relationship she had and was driving Mark away with her emotional reactions. In one instance she was out for a bike ride and decided to go by his house. She knew he should be there at that hour. She was surprised to find out he wasn’t. Her mind raced with possibilities that included thoughts of him being out and seeing someone else and she felt fear. Her victim perspective felt abandoned. Her judge spouted opinions that Mark as doing something he shouldn’t. Anger arose in her as means to protect her self emotionally but projected the cause for her emotions towards Mark. The anger was justified by other beliefs as being deserving and perhaps it would control his errant behavior. All of this took place in her imagination in a matter of seconds. After waiting there a few minutes, with no answer at the door she got ready to leave on her bike. Mark pulled up before she had left the driveway.
“Where were you?” she asked trying to mask an accusatory tone in her voice.
“I was out looking for a present for you,” Mark replied. Within her belief system the victim character still gripped her attention and from that perspective she couldn’t accept he was telling the truth. His story contradicted her belief, and her belief system was in charge of her attention so it ruled in it’s own defense and ignored his evidence. From the perspective of the victim character the interpretation that fit the existing beliefs was that he was lying. In truth,,, he was being honest. Mark had been out looking for a present for Sally.
Why was Sally sabotaging her relationship by emotionally pushing away a man she loved and that loved her? Well in essence she wasn’t, but her belief system was.
Within Sally’s structure of beliefs were some versions of her self that she had invested faith in years before. These included the character images of the judge, victim, and self images of unworthiness, and being unlovable. The stories included things like, “I’m not lovable. I’m not good enough. If they really knew me they wouldn’t love me.” These false beliefs were kept alive over years within self judgments and false self images. They were covered up fairly well when she focused her attention on her career because strong emotions of love weren’t around. But in her relationship with Mark, Sally began to feel a lot of love and this real experience of love contradicted her beliefs about feeling unworthy and unlovable that were lying dormant from years before. In effect, her recent experience of great love brought up a reaction from everyone of her beliefs that said she was not lovable.
The struggle that Sally is engaged in with her belief system is that this set of beliefs, is fighting for it’s survival. The lives of her false identities are at stake in this love relationship. If she really opens her heart to love Mark unconditionally, and allow her self to be loved unconditionally, then the false identities of the victim, and other worthless and unlovable self images she has identified with will die. Since Sally identifies with these self images when those beliefs are active Sally feels like it is her dying. Sally is experiencing the feelings of a kind of fear of death. It is not her actual physical body dying, but rather the false images she is identified with that are dying. At the same time she feels these fears and perceives that a part of “her” is dying. In reality it is a part of her belief system that is dying.
The more that Sally lets love in and expresses unconditional love to Mark, the more these false identities are invalidated. The experience of being loved unconditionally is incongruent with beliefs like, “I’m not lovable. I’m not good enough etc.” Her real experience of life is challenging her virtual reality of her belief system. For the belief system in the mind to remain in tact it is trying desperately to hijack Sally’s attention and push away love that is contradicting her beliefs.
Love can sometimes be a very disruptive force. It is a disruptive force when it comes into contact with a belief system based in fear and lies. While we seek love from our emotional integrity, at the same time our false ego identities, and fear based beliefs are threatened by it. Fear based beliefs try to gain control over our attention and push away love. False beliefs push Sally’s attention towards sabotaging a real relationship of love that conflicts with established beliefs.
At first Sally thought that she might be afraid of love. But when she understood how her belief system worked and could observe it she realized this wasn’t true. She really wanted to be in a loving relationship, but her belief system was a separate force in her mind pushing her to act differently.
One of the ways to think about it is that the beliefs and the false identities of our ego are alive. Not in an organic way that is made of carbon atoms, but in an animated dreamlike way. These aspects of our ego and belief system, like any living creature don’t want to die. In fighting for their survival they push large emotional reactions and internal dialog to grab our attention and tempt us to invest more faith in those false beliefs. These emotional reactions can happen when we are exposed to experiences of love, or they might happen as a reaction just after experiencing strong feelings of love.
Of all the powerful ways to change your beliefs, love is probably the most powerful and the fastest. However, the experience of love is not enough. To win this battle you will also need to have awareness. Awareness will allow you to have an alternate perspective on your fear based beliefs and provide a means for changing them.2