To Be Seen And Loved Requires Risk

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a feedback loop of loneliness and pain, the only solution for which is vulnerability and trust.

Some of us spend our whole lives waiting to be seen and loved for who we are instead of for who others want or need us to be. We learn that our ability to be loved and cared for is conditional upon what we give of ourselves to others and not who we are at the level of our deepest truth. This often leaves us feeling as if we only have two choices: to be loved for being someone we are not or to be unloved and alone.

As the result, we spend much of our life either running toward others as a way of trying to get attention, love, and affection or we spend our lives running away from intimacy as a means of self-protection. Often, it is some confusing combination of both and we try to be loved by being something we are not which results in us not being loved for who we are, proving our pain and loneliness, and pushing us back into isolation. In other words, we create our own abandonment feedback loop.

If we are fortunate enough to meet someone who actually sees us and loves us, not only for who we are, but for who we are capable of becoming, we face a dilemma. Our history tells us to be on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting to be betrayed, abandoned, and hurt, and to leave before that happens because it is better to be alone by choice than it is to be left alone, but this only guarantees that we will be forever lonely which is not what we actually want. The only way to break this cycle is with trust, by being vulnerable, by showing up as we are, by breaking through our old truths, our old beliefs, and our old patterns, and allowing ourselves to be seen as we are, come what may.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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