It’s delicious to feel well nourished in relationships. There’s a yearning and hunger we bring to our partners for all kinds of food: warmth, kindness, appreciation, time spent together. However, when food is not forthcoming or not enough, some will do anything to get fed. In order to understand the true workings of relationships, how to fall and stay in love, we must understand the real process of nourishment.
Right from the moment we are born, we connect being fed with being loved. When we cry, mother comes and feeds us and we feel safe and cared for. If the food we need is withheld for too long, we believe she doesn’t love us, or is withholding food to punish.
This pattern can continue throughout an entire life. In some cases one person consistently plays the role of the feeder and other the role of the one being fed. Some withhold love so their partner will do what they want of them. Others feed their partners on demand. Sex is often used in this fashion, providing a sense of being loved, wanted, cared for and nourished. When it is withheld or rationed out, the hungry partner feels devastated.
Most are not aware of the many kinds of food the universe abundantly provides. As in childhood, they become fixated on one person, who they see as their sole source of well being.The first thing to notice is the intense orientation towards receiving. The feeling is that in order to feel full and nourished we must be fed. This is the idea of the infant - feed me and all will be well. We must be aware of all kinds of food, emotional,mental and spiritual that are needed in a complete relationship.
It is necessary to stop a moment and recognize exactly what kind of food we are consuming in the relationship.
Is it healthy, is it food our system can digest? Although fast food may taste good and initially fill us up, it can have bad side effects. The same is true in relationships. Although what we get from our partner is initially hot and spicy it can cause heartburn later on. We can eat all day, but if we do not taste and digest what we are eating, we will never receive the nourishment we need.
Clea spent all her time wanting to change Arnold. “There’s so much that’s wonderful about him,” she said, “but what I’m hungering for, I don’t get. ” Rather than go to another relationship, where she could get what she thought she wanted, she stayed with Arnold, feeling dissatisfied. It was as though Arnold were an apple tree who was giving her fabulous apples, while she was all the time longing for pears. Rather than walk down the street to the pear tree and take one, she railed against this fine apple tree, which could not produce a pear, no matter how hard it tried.
But remember, you will never turn an apple tree into a pear tree.
Some of us are simply addicted to being dissatisfied
But in order to live a life of being in love, we must learn to take what is given and offer thanks in return. If we spend all our time wanting to change the person, rejecting their essential qualities, not wanting or valuing what they basically give, this is a sure fire recipe for nausea.
Are we able to absorb what is useful and discard the rest? Can we take in the beauty and value offered, and by-pass that which is not valuable? It is a mistake to expect all of our needs to be met by one person. Honor and be grateful for that which you receive. Don’t become bitter and spend all your time focussing on that which the person is not able to provide.
Feeding Others We Are Fed
Being loving in relationships means learning how to appreciate the needs of others, and being willing to fill them as much as we can, rather than compulsively focus on our own hunger. As we do this,a strange thing happens, our own hunger fades away. Feeding others, we are fed ourselves.
We are able to taste life (and people) as they are given. Our relationships turn around 180 degrees. It no longer becomes a question of what the other is or isn’t giving. It’s a question of what can be offered to him or to her.
As we place our attention upon the needs of others and find ways of giving to them, not only does our hunger subside, but we begin to feel full. As this process continues, there is a deeper lesson to learn, that a never ending source of all kinds nourishment exists within us. We need never feel empty or hungry again.
Parental mind is the state of mind that wants to care for and nourish others. It is the mind of the mother with a newborn child. A state of unconditional regard for the world we live in. It is not a mind which keeps accounts or continually needs to be filled up and attended to. That flow of nourishment can also be called the action of being in love.
Steppingstones To Love - (Exercises for Everyday Life)
Nourishing Self And Others
1) Favorite Food
What is your favorite food in relationships? What is it you hunger for daily? How do you get fed? Does someone else feed you? Do you feed yourself? Is there some other way you could get this particular nourishment? Take a little while and find out.
2) Emotional Indigestion
What kind of food are you now absorbing in your relationships that you cannot digest? Why do you keep eating it? What do you want from it? Is there some other food that could substitute?
What are the offerings you bring to life? What are you willing to give unconditionally? Are you receiving joy for doing this? If not, it is not your true offering. Spend time considering what it is that you can truly offer that will nourish and gladden others and you as well. When a large part of our lives consist in making these kind of offerings, we fall in love with life itself.
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