The last few weeks have been rather challenging for me as I have missed my mother tremendously. More than a yearning to have her here on earth (she indeed is much more at peace in her new home), I have felt a deep-seated sadness and longing for that maternal connection I had with her since childhood.
This longing to be attached is a feeling that every child has with their parent(s) no matter how old they are or how dysfunctional their upbringing. Some are pre-occupied with it, while others avoid it. Some dismiss it, while others feel secure with it (few in my experience are truly securely attached).
We may not realize the desperate longing we have to be attached to someone, especially since as adults, this void quickly gets filled by a person, place, or thing. Sometimes our longing is filled by our partner or spouse; however, this is often temporary. After all, no one can truly fill our "voids" but ourselves.
Therefore, we begin to search for the quickest way to fill the unrequited void that creates our experience of suffering, of yearning, of longing....Hence why so many people end up with addictions/aversions (especially in the realm of intimacy disorders-love or sex addicted or even aversive to love or sex).
In an attempt to control or mask our sense of longing, we may also focus our attention on what our partner can or cannot do (for us), placing expectations, rules, guidelines, and standards for how they "should" be (I'd encourage you to quit "shoulding" on yourself or your partner if you do this).Then we spend most of our lives longing for something more, or less, or different because we don't know how to ask for what we truly want or need. Thus, the cycle of longing continues.
So, is longing helpful or harmful to one's peace of mind?
Longing may be helpful if it allows you the opportunity to go after your dreams in a healthy way. If it motivates you to reach for the stars while having daily appreciation for all the blessings of your current life. If it allows you to ask for what you need in an adaptive and pro-active way.
Longing is often harmful, however, when it creates false expectations, shaming, and finger-pointing at another person. When it keeps us from looking in the mirror at our own stuff; what we each bring to our relationships. When it keeps us separate from our loved ones and causes wedges that may be damaging long-term.
Take a moment and ask yourself these questions: In what areas of my life do I find myself longing for something or someone? If I am in an intimate relationship and there are challenges, am I longing for things that are realistic and possible? Or are there things that I need to look at within myself and find peace with that by focusing outward may create a false sense of longing?
Ask yourself: In what ways do I point the finger with judgment and expectations, when in reality I simply long for my partner's love, or understanding, or accountability, or even an apology? Can I ask for what I want and need?
Can I let my longing be adaptive and inspiring, or does it drive me to act out in unhealthy and destructive ways?
So, while I have recently yearned for my mother's connection, I have found peace in knowing that this kind of longing is not helpful to me. It keeps me in a space of suffering, it renders me helpless, and increases my inner angst.
This week, when you notice you feel a sense of longing, take a moment and tune into it. Really feel it. Find the origin of it and see if you can respond to it from a healthy, mindful space. Write it down~journalling is an extremely beneficial way of gaining insight and wisdom!
Remember, you are SO worth it.