Finding safety in love

Love does not give up on me. Not that easily.

My conclusion of January – March 2018: Give up on love, and She will come get you.

It was on a Thursday evening in an Amsterdam cafe, winter of 2017, that I gave up on love. Love in the romantic way.

We had just come from a wonderful concert by a Tunesian Goddess in Melkweg, dancing and singing to beautiful music. We were drinking red wine in a cafe and I felt quite tipsy. Discussing lovers & dates with two lovely housemates, I just gave up. Tears in my eyes.

I was so sick of everything. Putting so much energy into trying, having ridiculous arguments with lovers making me question the quality of my relationships for real, things not working out in general, experiencing dissapointment after dissapointment, reviewing those who came into my life the past few years… What the hell was I thinking? How did I attract these people?

I decided I am going to live a lovely life without that whole relationship thing. I am done.

You can be happy building up a beautiful life for yourself, doing things of meaning every day, exploring and working with your talents, enjoying your lovely family and friends, having beautiful experiences in nature, and really be happy.

Why try so hard when things are just not working out and cost so much effort and time?
I just don’t have the energy.

Dating sites, messages back and forth, going for coffees and teas…

Enough of it.

At the first birthday of my highschool best friend’s daughter, love and dating were a topic of conversation with people I hadn’t seen for years again.

“When you least look for it, that’s when it comes” was the advice I really didn’t want to hear.

The cliche! That’s easy for you to say with your 5 year relationship! As if!

But I did really come to that point of just giving up. Not looking anymore. Protecting myself from future dissapointments. Bitter from the connections of the year before.

This is just not working.

As a wise feminist once said;

fish and bycicle

But love will never give up on me.

Last January, she came and took me on her journey again. Maybe she was just hiding for a while, playing hide and seek with me. To then – out of the blue – jump from behind her hiding place again.

SURPRISE! (It was also my birthday week fyi)

I went on a little adventure for the first few months of this year.

Receiving

This whole thing happened as a consequence of starting to RECEIVE more in my life.

By firstly getting help for my financial situation. Even though my resistance to this was sky high. It took me three years of trying to get by while being seriously ill and coming to the point of financial desperation to give in.

Getting my income stabilized to a reasonable monthly income, also enabled me to allow myself a holiday that I craved for so much. Going snowboarding for the first time in ten years.

Being in nature, experiencing the winter as it really is. The beautiful Alps, snow, trees and sun providing me with essential Vitamin D rays and renewed energy. Being active outside.

Spending this money felt really risky for me, but sometimes you just need to enjoy your life, enjoy the moment and trust that everything will be fine. Grant yourself something exciting & expensive to give yourself a boost and see how you get by money wise later.

But I still didn’t have any friends taking me. So I decided to not leave it like that, to ignore my craving and stay at home. I opened up to the world, and to the beautiful people I have yet to meet. I just asked for people to take me along online. Why remain shy and stay at home, rather than being a bit vulnerable, taking a risk and see who wants to take you?

A couple of weeks later, a Saturday morning in de Bijlmer, a car packed with lovely, conscious, intelligent women stopped in front of my house to take me to the beautiful French alps. To wake up in a beautiful chalet in the mountains on my 28th birthday. Great start of my year!

I realized how making one decision of receiving lead to another situation of receiving more. And more. And more. I found myself surfing waves of abundance, allowing pleasure and joy in my life.

I then opened up to a loving adventure with someone and enjoyed some more pleasure and joy. By not letting my rational mind govern me, but following my desire and attractions. By letting myself be surprised by who’s being sent my way and trusting the process.

Finding safety in love

Two and a half months later this connection has come to an end in the way that it started. My initial sadness and anger has passed (trust me there were some serious tears!), and I’m enjoying the lessons. Because there were many.

I learned that love can actually be safe.

It does not have to be an endless game of attracting, ignoring and pushing away, to then attract again. Giving attention, withholding attention. Playing around with each other’s desires and emotions.

These old patterns take so much of my energy, and they hurt.

Love can actually be healthy.

And if I am willing to put in the work, love can be a place of connection, safety, personal growth, and support.

I learned that I can just communicate and be to the point, by speaking about desires and becoming vulnerable– instead of not saying anything, wasting my time and hoping that something might happen in silence.

I learned that I don’t have to act tough to protect myself. That I create pain and isolation by holding back what I really feel. That I create connection and support when I express myself unconditionally.

I don’t have to be ashamed for how I feel. I can say with pride that I am not sick of you yet, and I respect you for setting your boundaries. But I don’t have to harden, be tough and pretend like that’s my feeling too – just to protect myself out of fear to be hurt.

I realized that there are actually people who will provide a safe container for your growth. Who encourage you to open up, speak up and be authentic. Who see through your patterns, your pretending, and encourage you to be vulnerable.

Who hold you in your tears and cuddle up with you. Who know sexuality and intimacy is sacred, a process of growth and healing. That it is not just physical, but spiritual and emotional. That emotions are deeply stored in the body, and that they play a role in touch and intimacy.

It does not mean I have to be completely vulnerable and open about everything, when I’m just not there yet. I can just express how something has touched me deeply, and I know exactly why – but I’m still choosing to not tell you all about it right now. Because that’s just too vulnerable and scary for now.

I learned that I create my own isolation and loneliness when I don’t share what’s really going on with me. And that I feel so liberated, free and relieved when I do the opposite.

When I take iniatitive, pick up my phone and give you a call to express myself. Instead of act stubborn and pretend that I’m not thinking about it anymore.

Connection happens when I allow my whole self to be there. And it’s really helpful to date people who are willing to see your whole self with you.

love rumi

Growing with the years

I also noticed that I’m still miles away from expressing my boundaries and fully standing for myself. I’m still so afraid to hurt the other. Afraid to not please the other. And I noticed that I’m still playing roles nearly all the time, even when it’s the role of “the Authentic One”.

But I can observe what’s going on and communicate about it. (Thank you NVC, thank you friends!) Instead of sucking it all up and creating my own pain by acting distant, not caring and simply staying with that. Lacking the communicative and emotional tools to create connection.

When I look back at my love life for the past 10 years, I feel such gratitude for the growth. When I compare my behaviour during my first big dating adventures, the lack of real communication and the many patterns and games – to where I am now, I am so proud of myself.

And I also feel deeply compassionate for my younger self back then. 18/19/20 years old, dating to the best of my abilities – just as I am dating to the best of my abilities right now.

Love mostly didn’t feel like a safe, unconditional space. It felt more like a mining field, one moment being close to each other, the next moment destroying each other. Unsafe to express myself to the other person, unsafe to be vulnerable with everything. (Not with everyone throughout this period! Not you, you were great!)

But perhaps I can start associating LOVE with SAFETY again.

LOVE = SAFETY

SAFETY = LOVE

How about that? Sounds pretty good, right?

Thank you Love for not giving up on me.

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