Balance Between Love and Need

Courtship allows trust to grow despite old wounds. Given how many years we’ve all spent building our defenses, this healing doesn’t happen quickly. In fact, the first phase of healing brings up old wounds to be felt afresh.

Only when you begin to feel safe does your psyche permit you to look at fears that were too intense to confront before. It is common for either partner to relive, in contemporary form, the traumas and survival threats of childhood.

It isn’t surprising, then, that a man and woman may not permit themselves to be in a healing relationship at first. They need the courage to see that the doubt and fear that surface at odd moments is coming up to be examined and released, not blindly acted on.

The most destructive effect of feeling threatened is to cut off the flow of love. If you were not taught about love from childhood, being able to be undefended with another person is much more difficult. Loving parents must teach their children that reality isn’t simply harsh.

All of us were imprinted one of two ways: either the world is dangerous with moments of safety, or the world is safe with moments of danger.

No matter how hostile the world appears, a loving family remains secure as a place of nurturing and protection. Children don’t need to trust everyone, only someone who will never let them down – thus the original balance between love and need is established. A strong positive imprint from infancy can last a lifetime.

Even though only two parents taught a child to love, it is as if the whole world loved that child, and the belief “I am loved” endures as part of his or her reality. When you have a rock-bottom belief that you are loved, your needs won’t be so desperate; there will be room to allow another person into your inner space.

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).


Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez7 years ago

great article thank you!!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W8 years ago

Love doesn't exist!

Heather B.
Past Member 9 years ago

Thank you, Deepak.

Vanessa S.
Vanessa S9 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Vicky L:
I so totally agree with you on your comment that there are many wounded people out there. I just wish more of them were willing to open themselves up to the many forms of help that are available to help them heal and lead more content lives. Unfortunately those that inflict the most pain to others are usually the ones that are in need of that help and the ones that are the least likely to even realize that they need it.

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For those of you out there that believe in the power of prayer, I am sending out prayer requests for my marriage. I know that this is definitely a weird place to be doing that, but I am desperate for all the help we can get. I would like to thank anyone who does keep us in their prayers. Also, please do not hesitate to ask me to pray for something for you.

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Marc Pongpamorn
Marc P9 years ago

Very interesting. Thank you!

Paula P.
Paula P9 years ago

Wow! I love this perspective of acceptance. Deepak's book "Path to Love" is excellent for anyone that is lost or wanting to explore love more deeply and spiritually. It helped me a lot to see outside of my upbringing and learn more about love :)

Anna C.
Anna C.9 years ago

Deepak should stick with subjects like this, instead of treading into new-agey waters. While too brief for my taste, this was a good one. He does well with psychology.

Ambrose Merly
Past Member 9 years ago

the comments were touching. makes me wish i had had more love.

Chrystle A.
Chrystle A9 years ago

My heart goes out to you, NICKY M: I was the child of an alcoholic father and an emotionally unavailable mother. I also had the misfortune to be born a girl instead of a boyr. At any time I could be snatched up from where I was playing and savagely strapped with a belt or other object that happened to be handy, even though I was seldom the culprit of whatever infraction had been perpetrated. In addition, the rules changed from day to day. What was fine yesterday could be called a horrible sin the next, and only my father had the rule and score cards. Even after he discovered that he had spanked me for something one of my siblings had done, he never admitted he was wrong or seemed to be sorry. Much of the time, before I had stopped crying, I was made to hug him and tell him I loved HIM. As a result of my childhood abuse, I ended up marrying a completely controlling, dirt-mean man who managed to make me feel ugly, stupid, fat etc., none of which I was.

I now have a wonderful partner. He travels a great deal for work, but each and every day that we see each other he tells me that I'm beautiful and he loves me. My mother has learned to be affectionate as the years have gone by and she is now my best friend. I am blessed that my son feels the same about me.

My therapist likens my childhood environment to living in a war zone. I still have an exaggerated startle response, but people around me are pretty used to it by now. You're right, NICKY, take heart! Life is good!!

Roisin S.
Roisin S9 years ago

very interesting article