You think you are not loved. You think you could not possibly be, because you are not seen. No one sees the real you, so how could anyone love the real you?
The truth is, you are very good at hiding. You are very good at not showing your true face, your true self. You’re an expert at talking the talk and projecting the image you want others to believe. Except you don’t, do you? You don’t really want them to believe it. You are hoping someone, the next one, this one, will be the one to see the true you. The real you. You hope someone will come along who will put in the time and the effort it would take to see who you really are. Someone who will break through the bulls***t and see you, really see you. And unless someone is that one, unless you feel seen and heard by them, you have an excuse to reject them. You have an excuse to keep hiding. You have a reason to continue being invulnerable and inauthentic. They didn’t put in the effort. They won’t do the work loving and knowing me requires. They are not worthy of my true, unique self. I will keep hiding.
I will keep safe behind the talk and the face. I’ll keep fleshing out my body, creating more barriers between me and the world. I’ll keep arguing, keep seeking out the same roles that make me appear the way I wish to be seen. I’ll keep feigning strength, feigning madness, feigning misfortune, feigning success, feigning brilliance, feigning foolishness. I’ll keep identifying with anything other than who and what I really am, until the one comes. The one who can truly see, the one who will truly know. The one I can trust. The one who loves me.
I’ll know they are a true friend, a true lover, a true pastor, a true professional, a true neighbour, a true person, because they will take the time and make the effort through all my body of work, beyond the fort and the barbed wire and the bridge and the wall and the ditches and the paths that lead nowhere, to me.
And in this way, you are able to convince yourself nobody is worthy of your trust. Nobody is worthy to be trusted. You know this, because nobody will do the work you’ve set them. People approach, and stand at the entry to your labyrinth unaware there is a gate before them. They don’t realise they are being tested, and when they walk away, baffled by your signals and ignorant to your secret codes, you are able to dismiss them. If they were true, if they were worthy, if they were the one, they would’ve seen the signs. They would’ve tried harder. They would’ve just known what to do.
It’s a lonely life, isn’t it, dear one?
Here’s the thing, my darling.
You are not the only one with pain. We all bear a great burden of pain. Some of us know it, see it, deal with it. Some of us do not. But that pain often blinds us, keeps us too busy to do the complex work others set us. Your assessments and entry requirements are simply too hard for others. They will never be able to take on all your pain, because they are carrying their own.
People do not enter your labyrinth to find you, they do not scale your walls or fill in your trenches, not because they do not love you, or love well enough, but because the work of love is not about taking the tests others set for us to prove our love is good. Love is good. It just is. That’s how you’ll know it is love. Not because it is enough, but because it is good.
You want others to prove to you their love is strong enough, hard enough, true enough, tough enough, gracious enough, energetic enough, flexible enough, enduring enough. Good enough. Sooner or later we must simply allow the love others are capable of giving to us.
And we must allow the love we are capable of giving to ourselves.
The love that will heal you will not come through your walls, down the labyrinth, under your shell. The love that will heal you comes from within you.
We accept the love we think we deserve. What happened to you, that you believe any love you have for yourself is not good, not enough?
Will you accept your own love, little one? Will you allow your self to be the one who says you are perfect and right and good? Will you cease the endless seeking for the love that tries hard enough, proves itself to you, shows itself to be bigger and wider and stronger than any defense you can throw up, in order than you may feel worthy of it? The big love, the love big enough to do that, will never, ever come along, my little love. You must give it to you. You must be it to you.
You are enough to love you.