Until now, my blog was titled, Alone Together. But the title doesn’t fit anymore, because something miraculous has changed in me. I no longer feel alone.
I started writing this blog 14 months ago. At that time, life was difficult. I was struggling both personally and professionally, afraid to ask for help, afraid help wouldn’t come. I had lived so independently and accomplished so much–all by myself. I was proud of that fact, convinced I didn’t need anyone to help me find my way. Yet lurking beneath my confident facade of “not needing” lived a vulnerable child in search of love.
In the past, I believed that I needed to do something to be loved. My belief wasn’t conscious. It was buried deep inside. My depression clued me in, as much as I didn’t want it to. I realized it was time to learn, despite the fear I felt. It was time to respond to the lonely child within, not by joining an online dating service, but by committing to a year-long training where I’d not only learn new skills to use in my therapy practice, but where I’d do my own therapeutic work and deepen the love for myself.
Seven wonderful people came together once a month to unveil hidden secrets in a safe, supportive place. Together, we risked vulnerability with the goal of becoming more emotionally healthy and whole. The process at times was frightening, but it was also nurturing, creative, and soul-satisfying, just like love is when you get it right.
In the process, I fell in love with my playmates, and in return, they fell in love with me. We all did great work. All our issues were different. But we accepted each other completely. We all loved each other through the pain we had carried in our heart for years. There was nothing any of us needed to do to earn each others’ love. There was no need to please, no pressure to perform, no problems to fix–nothing to do except be truly ourselves.
Being myself was scary. I didn’t want to remember the part of me that was lonely inside. I didn’t want to expose her to the world for fear of being hurt again. It did hurt, but the pain was bearable, especially because I was with people who loved me despite my flaws. Because of them, and the wonderful therapists who led our group, I was able to be vulnerable and risk being seen. In their presence, I allowed myself to stop pretending that I was fine on my own. And when I did, the joy I felt was beyond belief.
Alone is not my way anymore. Together is so much better. On this Valentines Day 2012, I wish you deep love within your heart, for despite your flaws, YOU ARE LOVABLE.