Michelle called me in a snit about a conflict in her marriage with Rob. She'd worked herself into quite a frenzy, and after a couple of minutes I said, "You're very afraid."
"I'm angry," she said.
"Oh, I can hear that, but your anger is only a response to your fear. Slow down until you can feel that."
She paused for several moments before she said, "Yeah, I'm afraid."
"That Rob will never love me. That I'll never feel loved, that I'll always feel alone."
"Considering your experiences in life so far, your fears are entirely understandable, but let's look at them. Do you KNOW that Rob will never love you?"
"It sure doesn't seem like he will."
"You're right. The evidence of his unconditional love is pretty slim, but at this point he barely understands the DEFINITION of Real Love. He certainly doesn't have any consistent experience with it. It's a fact that you aren't loving him unconditionally in a consistent way, are you?"
"Well, no, not really."
"Okay, so you don't really KNOW that he'll never love you. He actually MIGHT learn to love you, right? Isn't that possible? With lots of help?"
"So your fear is based on an irrational belief. You don't know it will happen, it hasn't happened yet--that he'll NEVER love you--so it doesn't make any sense at all to fuss about what hasn't happened."
"He hasn't loved me up to now."
"You're right, and he hasn't known HOW to love you, so he couldn't possibly have loved you. That was then--in the Age of Great Darkness, if you like--and that time is OVER. The past is gone, and fears of the future are all based on suppositions and lies. So why fuss about the past or the future? Why not stick with what is TRUE RIGHT NOW? Just a thought."
"Okay, I'm willing to try that."
"So what do you KNOW to be true? You have to start with that, or everything else falls apart. In mathematics they start with what they call axioms--self-evident truths upon which all other principles or theorems are based. For example, if A = B, and B = C, then A= C. When working with complicated formulas, they just assume the axiom to be true, rather than proving it over and over again. You need some axioms in your life."
"Do I love you?"
"Yes, I trust that completely."
"In what way do I love you? As a peer, as a partner, or how?"
"You love me like I was your own daughter."
"True. So that would make me your--"
"Yes, so put that into a sentence."
"My Daddy loves me."
"Yes, true. That's your first axiom. Now, do you suppose that I invented love? Or that I create it on my own?"
"I hadn't thought much about it, but no, I suppose you just pass on to me what you get yourself."
"Yep, and the source is far greater than myself. You can call it anything you want--Higher Power, God, whatever--but that's where it all comes from."
"I call it God."
"Fine, so what's the second axiom?"
"God loves me."
"Yes, and if it's true that I love you and God loves you, how does that directly eliminate one of the fears you talked about."
"I never have to be alone again."
"Brilliant. That's the third axiom. So if you're loved and not alone, what else matters?"
"Not much. I'd have everything I need, and I'd have no need to be afraid."
"That's the fourth axiom. Now, for the last. If it's true that you're loved and not alone, that you have everything you need, and that you have no need to be afraid, what other feeling would follow?"
"I'd be grateful."
"Yes, you would--all the time. And with all those feelings, would it matter if your husband--at least for now--doesn't love you unconditionally? Would you really have to get it from him?"
"I guess not."
We spend a great deal of time fussing about the past, the future, and the pain of present issues, which seem to be very complicated. Everything becomes much simpler when we remember basic truths that are undeniably true (axioms):
1. Somebody loves me. They might fill the role of a father, mother, teacher, friend, wise man, or whatever, but if I pay attention, I can find someone who offers me some degree of Real Love.
2. God loves me. Many people have a terrible notion of the nature of God--or don't believe in the idea at all--but we human beings don't generate love on our own. We tap into a great, infinite, eternal flow, and then we have the capacity to share some of that flow with others. The source of that infinite power is God--or whatever name you choose to give that power or being.
3. So I am never alone. With the love of caring people and God, I can't be alone.
4. I have everything I need and have no need to ever be afraid. Once we know down to our bones that we're loved and not alone, we really do have what matters most, and then who can hurt us? We become invincible.
5. I am so grateful. With all the above, how could I not be?
When I remember what is true, I cannot at the same time complain, find fault, blame, or be miserable. Stick with the truth, and everything else that's good--love and happiness--will follow.