I came to a difficult realization this morning, that I have difficulty when it comes to loving another human being. I can actually love very well and have made great strides in this area, in terms of being affectionate, communicating proactively, listening and attending to the words and needs of another, and even in opening up the pores of my heart so that another can be absorbed in and bathed. My difficulty, however, lies in the fact that there is a push/pull game that gets played out over and over in my life. I will want to be close with someone, and then once I am close to them, there will often arise a desire to push them away, to be separate from. Once they are sufficiently away, then there is room for my wanting them again.
I’ve realized in the past that to assuage this demon within me, I have often become a master of keeping women at an optimal distance. Not too close, not too far, and have many skills and tactics with which to accomplish this. Lately, I’ve been more open to a deeper closeness which I think opens up the capacity for a stronger push away. The push away doesn’t need to be in the form of a complete separation however, just some space, some time alone, some time in my own individual world.
Women who are a little more aloof or independent are easier for me for they often may be creating that distance themselves so that I needn’t do so. Also, relationships where the end is in sight can actually be safer for me and allow me to put myself forward more easily.
I started having an insight this morning into how perhaps to heal this, or live with it, or somehow make it through this so that I don’t continue to catch others up within this behavior. The idea has to do with awareness. I have learned in my life the skill, the capacity, to sit with a feeling and not have it run me. Simply watching the feeling, really. This particular one is a little trickier for me because the feelings that arise aren’t just emotions such as fear or anxiety, or sadness, but they actually affect my feelings towards another. For example, after too much time or closeness (“too much” here is very subjective and can be very difficult to predict or measure), the urge for space can arise within me. When it arises and I am not actively conscious about it, my tendency is to separate somehow physically, either just pulling away subtly through quietness or busyness, leaving the proximity of the other, or emotionally disconnecting to create that space on a more inner level. If I am not careful, it can also cloud my perceptions of the other person completely, moving me from love and appreciation one minute to some degree of disregard or dislike the next.
At the moment, I’m thinking that it might be possible to really be with these feelings as they arise and simply witness them as feelings, rather than identifying with them and having them control me. It would take a lot of effort, for as I mentioned earlier, these feelings cloud my reality and make me believe and see the things that they whisper in my ear. It would almost be akin to ignoring the cold outside and forcing yourself to believe that it’s warm as you walk through the street.. Not completely, of course, but in a way it would be like that. I truly want to be aware of all of this as its happening, and heal it through gentle loving attention and awareness.
This is a big piece of what I’ve lately been so hesitant to write about on this blog. It’s obviously very personal, but it’s also something I really want to change, so I’m finally taking the step of putting it out here. I want to bring it to the light of day, for myself mostly, but for anyone else who cares or is curious enough to read. I really want to love another well and I’m not as good at is as I’d like. While I have developed a deep capacity for loving others in my life, which brings a great richness to my everyday experience and hopefully to the lives of others, and while I truly strive to love everyone and every living thing on this planet, when it comes to more intimate relationships I have this push/pull handicap which has haunted me and others close to me for too long. Wish me luck in cultivating a greater moment to moment awareness of this as it arises in my life and the courage to address it rather than acting it out.