Perhaps nothing is more soothing and healing to the human soul than to be truly known for who you really are, and to still be loved, or at least liked, despite it all.
Are you known by someone?
From the earliest childhood years, we are naturally prone to needing to be known and loved for who we are. Mom is the first human being usually charged with the task of knowing us and loving us unconditionally, then dad.
But for most people, there is an early divergence or split which eventually occurs: At some point or another, they cease to feel loved for who they are, and, instead, they only feel loved for what they can do or how well they can comply; they can only feel partially and conditionally loved and accepted.
Maybe it starts happening at age 4, or maybe age 11. Whatever the case, we learn early on that whoever we really are as a whole person is not acceptable; instead, it’s what we can DO that becomes the new standard for getting the love, or how we can be pleasing to particular individuals or groups.
The unconditional love and positive regard goes away, and in its place, conditional love and regard enter.
So, I ask you again: Are you known by someone for who you really are, as a whole person, yet loved anyway?
I mean, let’s face it, we’ve all got our quirks and oddities. We’re all just somebody else’s messed up kid anyway. Everybody’s got problems.
But to really let another know us, in all our different dimensions and aspects, and to risk being rejected or humiliated or somehow punished for it–now that’s huge.
And so is the payoff.
When you know that someone really knows you, all of you, and yet they still seem to love or at least like you and want you around, you begin to heal.
You begin to go from seeing yourself as partially and conditionally acceptable, to fully acceptable, viable, and even lovable.
Your shame goes away.
Your self-loathing and self-doubt go away.
Your self-esteem and creative energies grow.
In other words, you heal.
But all this comes at a price, and that price is taking the initial risk.
You must let yourself, slowly at first, introduce more and more of who you really are into more and more of your life.
So take some risks, let yourself be you.
It’s okay. In fact, it’s very okay.
Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.
Author, Don’t Get Married! (Unless You Understand a Few Things First)