You are loved. Cliché?  Sometimes.  Other times, it is just what we need to hear.

“Do you dream of a home you never had,

of innocence that you cannot get back?

The pain was real, you can’t erase it.

Sooner or later, you’ve got to lay it down.

You are loved.

Do you keep the thoughts inside your head?

Do you regret the things you never said.

You have a voice, you have to use it.

You’ve got a choice, don’t let them shut you down.

You are loved.

Do you feel the ache inside your soul,

You know you’ll never make it on your own.

Sorrow is too great for you to hold it.

You’re gonna break,

Why don’t you lay it down?

You are loved.

Freedom comes in letting go.

Open up the window to your heart.

Freedom comes in letting go.

Open up your heart.

You are loved.

You are loved.

You are loved.

You are loved.”

JJ Heller

What does it mean to be loved?  To really be loved?  How does life change when we know that we are loved, when we accept that we are loved? What freedoms flood in with the realization that we are thoroughly, deeply loved?  I believe that love might be the platform on which we can stand to finally share our stories.  I don’t believe that I can let everything out and let it go until I know that I am loved, no matter what I say or do.  My past can’t change the love. My story can’t negate the love.  I guess that this is also attachment psychology.  Attachment theory can also be called love theory.  Healthy development does not occur outside of secure attachment.

I spent my life looking for something concrete, a set of steps, or a method that would bring healing.  I failed to find it.  I thought that if I just tried hard enough, or willed myself to think, believe, and behave differently, I would be fixed.   I am a driven person.  If I set out to complete a challenge, I usually achieve it.  If I set a running goal, I hit it.  Recovery is not like running a sub-twenty minute 5-k.  I have never been able to white-knuckle my way into sustainable recovery.

I struggle with abstract concepts.  I am not even sure that I could intellectually define love, not in a way that would honor love in its truest sense.  Love is life-changing.  But how many people who struggle with addictions and disorders are terrified of love?  It is vulnerable and dangerous.

I hesitate to bring scripture into the equation, but it seems apt.  “We love because He first loved us.”  My ability to love grew out of a sense of God’s love for me.  In 2008, it became apparent to me that God had been communicating His love to me in every way possible.  It was this year specifically that he began communicating two statements to my heart.  I would ask for Him to say something, anything to me.  It never failed that He would say, “I love you.”  I was horribly annoyed with Him for repeating such a simple, silly phrase.  Really? This is not what I wanted to hear.  I wanted something lofty and extremely spiritual.  This phrase was followed in later years with the statement, “I am in love with you.”  When I asked Him angrily why He kept repeating these elementary statements about His love, He said consistently, “It is because you don’t get it yet.”  He loves me.

Without accepting love, I could not recover.  I didn’t get it.  I also think that this love needs to come from others too.  We need others to love us, as seen with children and caregivers.  Here I go, bringing in scripture again, but “perfect love drives out fear.”  I believe that perfect love also drove out my anorexia.  The perfect love was there long before my anorexia fled, however.  I had to grasp it.  I guess that I am saying that healing happens within relationships.  God said that He loved me and that He was in love with me.  He also showed me that He loved me in very real ways, and through others.  So I slowly, cautiously began to trust His love.  It certainly has never been an over-night kind of miraculous zap to my heart. I trusted Him more and more.

He showed me the people who had been in my life who had loved me all along, and as I let their love, past and present, envelop me, I began to heal further.  Then He showed me people in my life that wanted to love me, and I tentatively opened up to relationship with them.  Slowly, the love from God and others allowed for a safe space for me to step out away from the eating disorder.  The love became larger, crowding out my life. I was learning to love in return.  The circulation of this love proved to take up much more space in my life than existed when my diseases were present, and they slowly ebbed out.

Love is the foundation for healing.  I am in the process of growing to grasp this love.  My acceptance of this love ebbs and flows, and my healing is directly related to my willingness to receive it.

Categories Healing, mental illnessTags , ,

2 thoughts on “Loved

  1. sarahtornaroberts February 21, 2014 — 11:54 pm

    Beautiful. Believing we are loved seems so impossible when you didn’t grow up knowing that in the depths of your soul. Keep writing. Healing is worth it.

    1. Thank you. Your blog is inspiring. I like reading about your process.

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