What Was Your Relationship with Love Growing Up?
My Grandma was my first best friend growing up. She was at the end of our driveway and was there every day of early life. She was the first one I would see when I got off the bus, the first place I went during the summer, and the first place I went when I was bored.
Growing up on a farm isolated me from the world, and trying to find my way in it always seemed like a battle.
She was always baking, sewing, or outdoors and was always up to something interesting to help with. Knowing how often my son asks me if he can help and that feeling of overwhelming it can create, I have a new appreciation for the patience she had with me.
She was always one to bake something if you felt sad or offer a good distraction if something terrible happened. And growing up, her love to make a pie was equal only to the math symbol of 3.14. So you knew you could always count on it, and it was always constant.
In 2018 at a Dad retreat, I did a vision exercise and learned that what she gave me was the gift of intentional love. It opened me up to the invitation of what love can bring into your life as an adult.
But what if you didn’t have a healthy relationship with love growing up?
To break this down, I often use the famous book by Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages,” but not for the reasons it was written to help you love others but to love yourself. My coaching framework identifies your relationship with love, identifies its patterns, and how you can take steps to love yourself first, and maybe even for the first time, depending on the generational trauma you experienced.
I remember this lesson well and can even remember looking in the mirror in 2019 and saying how you can unconditionally love others if you first don’t unconditionally love yourself.
It was a profound moment that, in many ways, was step 1 of 2,005 of the process of healing my personal relationship with love. You see, for me, my relationship with love became twisted when I felt misunderstood by the world and when in sixth grade, I was punched in the stomach (listen to episode 192 for the full story) at school. It forced me to retreat inward from the world and express who I was.
It created a need to seek externally what I couldn’t feel on my own from the world.
The road to self-love, self-healing, and a better, more capable you are just about learning to love the good in your life; it must be learning to love the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. Learning to find gratitude and purpose in pain helps you grow in an understanding that life has been happening for you, not to you, your entire life.
You might be feeling overwhelmed at this point; it’s ok. Seeing things for the first time you have walked by your entire life can be overwhelming. But now you know, the next steps you take are the most important.
These steps will determine if you return to the world you had with your blinders on from what you are not seeing. Or do you take another step and then another step that leads you to where you begin to lead, to love, and create a legacy of lasting change.
If I were to write what I want my tombstone to say at this point in my life, it would say.
He learned to love himself unconditionally, to love the world unconditionally.
I open three spots on my calendar for a complimentary coaching session each week. If you are ready to keep taking those steps but feel the anxiety already. Let me be GPS along the way, so you can get from where you are today to where you always imagined your life could go. Schedule a call