One of my clients, whose ex-girlfriend recently broke up with him, asked me the following question:
“I think I still love her but is this love or just emotional dependency? Many times I ask myself if falling in love comes from the wounded self because (for me at least) it feels as if I can’t live without the other person. When I give love from the heart, I don’t expect anything back, but when I ‘fall in love’ I think this is a different energy.”
Falling in love can come from two different inner states. When you fall in love from the wounded self – the ego-self – you are in love with how the other person loves you. You are handing over to the other person the responsibility for your self-worth and wellbeing, and if he or she does a good job of attending to you in the way you want to be attended to, then you may say you are “in love.” However, it is not so much the person you love, but how he or she loves you. When it feels as if you can’t live without the other person, it is the emotional dependency. The part of you that is “in love” is really a child or adolescent who is needy for love because you are not giving love to yourself or to others. There is an emptiness inside that you expect someone else to fill because you are not taking responsibility for your own feelings of self-worth. You are attaching your worth to another’s love, which is why you can’t live without that person.
When you fall in love as a loving adult, instead of as a wounded, needy child or adolescent, your need for the relationship is totally different. As a loving adult, you have learned – through the consistent practice of Inner Bonding – how to fill yourself with love and define your own worth. Instead of needing someone to fill you and make you feel lovable and worthy, you already feel worthy and full of love. You experience this inner fullness because you have learned how to take full responsibility for your own feelings and needs, and you have learned to fill yourself with love from a spiritual source. This fullness overflows and you want to share this love with another person, another loving adult who is also filled with love. Your desire is to share love rather than to get love.
The kind of person you will pick will be totally different when a loving adult is choosing, then when your wounded self is choosing. The people we pick have a similar level of woundedness and a similar level of emotional health. Obviously, the more you have done your Inner Bonding work to bring love within, and the more you have learned to take loving care of yourself, the more you will be attracted to someone who also does this.