Love is a great thing — have you felt it?
Or maybe you are one of those that have never actually been in love but are just pretending?
Or have you decided that love is silly anyways, you don’t really need it, and it’s time to give up?
Psychologically speaking, we do need love. Not the false representation offered by films and novels but consistent connection and support from others that helps us recognize our value. Shutting down to love can lead not just to loneliness but to depression,anxiety and a lowered immune system.
Before you give up on love consider if these psychological blocks are the real problem.
Do thoughts occasionally pop into your head like, ‘I am just too hard to love”, or, “there are too many things wrong with me”? Do you often feel flawed, ugly, or useless?
Low self-worth means you feel like you are not as good as other people or that there is something wrong with you that can’t be fixed. While it’s normal to struggle with self-esteem now and then, if you truly feel you are worthless it either attracts someone who will take advantage of you over love you or means you might hide from love, worried others will only see the negative things you focus on.
Do you constantly worry the person you are dating is going to cheat on you or leave you? Do you often leave at the slightest sign they are not happy with you?
If at some point as a child you were let down or neglected by the adults around you, even if as an adult you can rationalize what happened to you, it can affect your capacity to trust others.
3.Fear of intimacy.
Is there a point part way into any relationship where you start to experience feelings of panic and either sabotage the connection or just leave? Do people tell you you have a ‘wall’ they can’t get past?
Just because you appear confident and positive in relationships doesn’t mean you don’t suffer from fear of intimacy. Love cannot develop unless we trust others enough to show them our weak side and our worries. So fear of intimacy is fear of being fully seen for all that you are, and also fear of being seen as imperfect.
Are you an independent person who is horrified to feel needy and manipulative whenever you try to like someone? Do relationships cause fear and anxiety for you? Or do you just feel completely unable to trust anyone to do what they say?
Attachment theory believes that to grow up into an emotionally stable adult, we need to have had a strong, trusting bond with a caregiver as an infant, and that we needed that bond to be consistent no matter what our behavior was – happy, sad, or upset. Otherwise we grow up into the codependent or intimacy-fearing adults mentioned above.
Are you endlessly seeking for the perfect partner but can’t find them?
There is having standards and self-respect, and then there is using perfectionism to block love and hold so tightly to an unrealistic view of love you end up alone. Perfectionism becomes a psychological issue when it is used to hide fear of intimacy and low self-esteem as well as things like black and white thinking.
What do I do if I recognize these issues as my own?
First of all, don’t panic. You are far from alone with your issues – sadly, we live in a society that often means children don’t receive the protection and care they need to grow up allowing themselves to be loved. All of the above issues are actually ones that counselors and psychotherapists deal with all the time.
The good news is that you can absolutely learn to overcome, or at the very least manage, your issues that block you from receiving and giving love.