Everywhere we go, everything we do is, on some level, a search for love. Receiving love is the goal. Why else would we have such a need to be accepted, to impress, to improve? It is to find and win love, from our peers, parents, our children, colleagues or even strangers. We desire to have that warm inner feeling of acceptance.
The world can be a myriad of missed connections, of painful circumstances, and sometimes great loneliness. The most common response is a habitual one. We all have our methods to fill the emptiness within by things like overeating, shopping, sleeping, sex and romance, drugs and alcohol – to name a few, and to each his own. These behaviors are all habits, nothing more. They act like a security blanket or stuffed animal that we cling to for warmth when something inside feels scared or empty.
When you see someone indulging in these behaviors, to whatever extent they are, you should know that they are hurting inside and fearful to that same extent. It is only an outward manifestation of that inner need, and the pain and the desire that accompanies it. Acting as a bandage, the habit covers the open wound momentarily – and that is the operative word – momentarily, for these types of destructive behaviors are not curative by any means.
In fact, each time we indulge them as a mechanism to flee the pain, the habitual response becomes more ingrained, then we become less flexible, and the method becomes more ingrained as a response to emotional upset. We automatically return to it every time those feelings come around. It becomes a vicious cycle
From a spiritual perspective, our souls choose to bring us back around again to where the feelings began and then we are forced to face the lesson yet another time. Again and again, the experience comes to us. Until finally one day, the response is different, perhaps because on that occasion a kind person was there to help. Or maybe you had recently encountered an individual who acted differently under those circumstances, and you noted that as an example of making an alternative choice. Then comes the dawning of a new level of understanding and, with it, a new approach to problems. That is how the spirit expands and grows.
These responses are just skills, that’s all; it’s like learning to ride a bicycle and finally not falling every time. Chances are you will never go back to the old pattern of responding, once you finally get it. We need to learn these new skills, either by reviewing our own mistakes or by watching others. It takes many tries to learn how to face problems head-on instead of running and indulging.