Upon brief introspection, I have realized that the real reason the title makes me feel uncomfortable is because it calls out a dark secret of mine–it calls out a feeling I’ve felt about a bajillion times in my life, but words I’ve never, ever, EVER uttered. Ever. “I need your love.” I’d rather die, than say that one aloud!
“I need your love.” When I think that thought, I treat it like an active bomb in my brain. I run from it, avoid squaring myself up to it, and cringe at the thought of looking at it in the eye. I am spooking myself out because it is such an old thought, and I must have made the assumption long, long ago that it is truth, not opinion.
But wait, “I need your love.” Is this a feeling or a thought?
“I need.” Fact or fiction? Sounds somewhat more like an opinion. Other fearful opinions rolling around in your head can try to convince you of otherwise:
“It is not wrong to need–you NEED air.”
“You need air, so therefore, needing is necessary, so therefore if you think you need somebody’s love, it is true.”
“Don’t question me, I am right.”
That last statement seems to always be thrown in at the end of the mind’s argument with you. Rather, with the mind’s yelling of opinions at you. Because, the mind doesn’t argue. Even an “argument” has a connotation of an interchange of ideas (no matter how ineffectual). It is not a conversation the mind is interested in. It is a bullying.
Why?! Why do we have a built-in bully machine in our heads? This is perhaps one of life’s greatest mysteries, at least at present. Outside of the great mystery of what life is, of course.
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I would like to share with you an excerpt from Katie’s book. It is an example a real individual wrote (and then performed) in one of her workshops. The exercise was an assignment to go to a place in your life where you were seeking love and approval, and to ask yourself questions about that situation. Here is what someone real said:
I ended up writing this exercise about doing this exercise. I didn’t pick a specific situation because I saw that I do it all the time. I wanted to do it perfectly to win the approval of all of you.
What did I want? I want you to like me, love me, think I am great, to find me interesting, to find me special, to find me better than others, to find me cute, to say I am lovely, to say I am wise. And [pointing to a man in the audience] I want you to think I am sexy. And where is that beautiful young woman? [Scanning the room] Where are you? Ah … I want you to think I am young, and I want all the other beautiful young women in this room to think I’m mature enough to know more than you. I want all of you here, representing all the people in the world, to think I am beautiful. I want you all to include me and make me belong. I want you all to appreciate me and to hear me. I want you to need me. I want you to seek me out in the future. I want you to never forget me. I want you to see me as a wonderful, sensitive, caring, witty, articulate, very strong person who is good at everything.
Did I try to manipulate the way you see me? Yes, I did. In the way I speak, in the way I move, in the way I stand. In the way I smile, or in the way I don’t smile, in the way I widen my eyes or lick my lips, in the way I look at you, and in the way I don’t look at you. In the way I stand close or move away. Did I lie or exaggerate? Plenty. In most situations I try to come across as a little bit better than you. I am doing exactly that right now.
Did I listen? No. I didn’t really listen. For instance [speaking to a participant], I didn’t really listen to you last night, I was just waiting for you to finish so I could put on the show of me again.
Did I get your approval? I don’t really know if I got yours, but I know I didn’t get mine. I let myself down, and I knew it. It left me empty and insecure, unfulfilled and always wanting more. I doubt everything about myself. I am sure I wasn’t good enough.
Can I think of a time when I resisted seeking love and approval? Nothing comes to mind at this moment. But I can imagine that it would be really intimate, that there would be authenticity, love, honesty, and no thought of gaining anything.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Raw honesty. Raw awareness work. Awareness work at a minute level of one’s consciousness. Past the things we buy or don’t buy, past what’s in our water, past the effects of [insert consumption item here] on the physiology. All of these things are important, but if we never dive deeper, even deeper than that outside level of consciousness, then we aren’t exploring the entire breadth of human existence.
To me, this kind of work is revolutionary.
My thanks to Byron Katie for her work, and to the anonymous woman who was bold enough to cut herself open and let it all pour out in front of this workshop (and whose wisdom was eventually shared in print in Katie’s book [and now by me on this blog!]).
Some might think that what this woman said was ugly, or mundane, or no big deal, but perhaps this is because we may know so intimately what she was talking about, and perhaps its also because we tiptoe around these beliefs in ourselves because we know on some other level that they are problematic. We may be terrified to look at the perceived “grime” of our souls. But there is nothing wrong with looking. It is what our being is calling us to do. Let’s respond to the call of its inquiry.
With so much love,