This is what my work in emotional learning – including somatic psychotherapy and counselling – is about. Restoring our capacity to give and receive love.
As a society, and indeed as a human race, we have moved so far away from our true nature, from what we know in our hearts – ie that our true nature is loving, cooperative and compassionate – that we we have come to believe that human nature is destructive, and that we have to teach children – and adults – how to be constructive and loving.
In doing so – in “teaching children to be kind”, for example, what we are doing is denying the child’s true nature – giving them the message that they are not kind and must do as we say to become kind.
We do this with the best of intentions. This denial, however, confuses the child and teaches them to distrust their own feelings. It creates the very conditions that we are trying to avoid, and that leads to distress and destructive behaviour.
We do not need to try to be kind and loving. We need to realise that, deep inside, we already are kind, cooperative and loving.
Our attempts to be kind and loving are actually preventing us from being the kind and loving persons that we want to be.
This paradox sounds strange and has become difficult to understand, emotionally and physically as well as intellectually – because we have accumulated so much destructiveness inside us and all around us.
Fear is so deeply embedded in most of us that it takes time, courage and often skillful guidance for us to understand and embody this reality.
We are so afraid that if we stop fighting and struggling we will be destroyed.
With the very best of intentions, we are moving in ever-increasing circles that take us further away from what we most deeply yearn for.
Reflecting on this can be a useful first step towards understanding and embodying our own true nature.