This note was written on January 31, 2010
As Valentine’s Day approaches and visions of romance dance through our heads, it is a good time to take stock of whether we feel satisfied with the quality of love we have experienced in our lives. While some may feel tremendous satisfaction, others are still longing for a connection to the real deal. No matter where we find ourselves along this continuum, it can be empowering to understand that our current reality is deeply connected to our earliest life experiences.
Just as goslings will follow the first thing they see when they emerge from their eggs (even if it is a fox going into a fox den), so too, humans carry psycho-physiological imprints that encode us with information about love. Our imprints are based on the thoughts, feelings and experiences of our parents during our conception, gestation and birth, combined with our own unique interpretation of these events. Imprints influence our perception about what qualifies as “love,” and are often at the root of the cross-wiring that can occur, causing many to confuse abuse with love.
Conception creates the spark for our earliest imprint and lays the foundation for our future understanding of love. Whether we were conceived in love and whether we were wanted are two significant indicators of our future capacity to experience healthy love. What were our parents thinking and feeling at the moment we were conceived? How did they feel about each other? How did they feel about the sex they were having? Was there shame involved? Fear? Aggression? Was pornography part of their consciousness? Prostitution? Sado-masochism?
How did our parents respond when they discovered our presence in the womb? Were we welcomed and embraced, or was abortion considered? Was our womb experience nurturing? Or was it toxic (emotionally and/or physically) and uncomfortable? What was the relationship like between our parents while we were gestating? Was there deep love and support between the two? Or was there fighting and stress, and perhaps even talk of separation?
What about our birth? Were we born in a harsh technological setting? Exposed to bright lights, cold temperatures, loud noises and people wearing masks? Was our mother drugged, unconscious or c-sectioned? Was our father present? Who handled us as we emerged from the womb? Were we handled with loving sensitivity or were harsh hospital protocols inflicted upon us with little regard for our spiritual and emotional needs? Were we separated from our mother at birth? Left in a nursery to cry? Were we breastfed on demand or fed formula on a hospital feeding schedule?
All of these early life experiences affect our understanding of what love is, and they strongly influence our current capacity to generate/create healthy experiences of love. Once we begin to recognize that our earliest memories influence our current situation, the healing has begun.
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