One of my favorite quotes is by Rumi, it says:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
This is one of my favorites because I believe it epitomizes the ultimate issue. Love is something that should flow to and from us effortlessly. If it doesn’t, it’s because we have something blocking love from being received or offered — sometimes both.
If achieving love feels difficult, we have to figure out what obstructions we’ve placed in its path. It’s also important to recognize that we can only remove barriers on our end. We can aid others, but ultimately, they have to want the impediment eradicated. Attempting to clear it for them is a futile effort.
Sometimes it’s that we’ve been deceived in the past, so a lack of trust is the barrier.
We can’t bring ourselves to fully believe in a person or have enough confidence in them to receive the love they may be trying to show. Every act, every word is received with cynicism. We wait for the other shoe to drop. So much so that we can create problems where there were none and feed deceit where it did not previously exist.
Have you ever heard someone give the excuse that they did something because they were constantly being accused of doing it? It’s the mentality that “I may as well be treated this way for something I actually did.” Now, we each must be accountable for our decisions, regardless of mitigating circumstances. But this is how lack of trust becomes a barrier to love.
People will grow tired of trying to prove themselves when it seems they can’t win. It’s hurtful to not be trusted when nothing has been done to warrant the approach. Those trying to love us will give up at some point if this continues to be the case.
Another barrier is fear.
I’m sure that many of us have struggled with this on occasion. Perhaps we’ve been hurt before, so we keep people at arm’s length — afraid to completely surrender to love and commit to a partner. This speaks for itself as to how it blocks both giving and receiving love. We keep our guard up and nothing can get completely in or out.
Fear also leads to self-sabotage. Much like an unwarranted lack of trust, we create problems and look for reasons that a romantic situation won’t work or isn’t genuine. Often, we’ll find a justification to push others away and abandon ship. It’s only so long a person can try to break down walls that we’re committed to keeping intact.
My barrier to love stemmed from what felt like constant disappointment from people on whom I depended.
This started way back when I was a child. I just didn’t recognize the impact it had on my adult life and in dating until much later.
I’ve never felt comfortable depending on anyone. This made emotional vulnerability difficult for me — because part of it is allowing another person to care for and support you. It’s giving them the power to let you down but trusting that they won’t. I couldn’t give up that power. In the past, this has prevented me from receiving the fullness of love because I refused to lean on anyone no matter how comfy they attempted to make their shoulders.
In an ironic twist of fate, I now feel exhausted and ready to let someone else take the wheel. So, part of my evolution is the result of conscious barrier elimination — and part is just because I’ve tired myself out. The power struggle has worn me down.
Most barriers are erected as self-preservation.
Giving someone the ability to hurt us is scary. So we build walls and overprotect our hearts to avoid pain. In doing so, we also avoid true love.
We can’t experience authentic love with one foot out the door, a skeptic’s eye, a cold heart, or a closed mind. Love demands everything — every aspect of our being, every facet of our devotion. Until we can give this, or at least give sincere effort to be all-in, the experience will likely be elusive. We can’t give half of ourselves and expect whole love.
What are your barriers to love?
Then you can begin the challenging work of removing them so that the love you deserve and desire is achievable.