You may or may not believe in a soul but perhaps you know what I’m talking about – that uncomfortable feeling in the centre of your chest as if there was a gaping hole.
Some people develop a hole in their ‘soul’ and others don’t. But pretty much all people with that hole will try to fill it with something.
Some people fill it with food, others fill it with booze or work, and some fill it with other people…
The thing is that everything that is put in, eventually flows through and disappears.
How does it develop?!
We are by nature social animals who need contact with each other for survival and general well-being. In other words, we need love.
The most basic form of love is attention. Sometimes this attention can be good like a smile, a hug, or someone telling us how important we are to them. And sometimes it can be bad, like being pushed away, shouted at, or being criticized. We all have experienced both…
The amount and quality of attention we received as children affects how we love ourselves and how we give and receive love as adults. It’s likely that a person who did not receive enough of good attention in their childhood, would have not developed a healthy sense of being loved. This creates sense of loss, the void – that gaping hole in the centre of one’s chest.
No matter you’ve just bought yourself a nice thing, no matter you’ve just learnt you’ve been promoted, no matter how often your partner says they love you…in the moment it happens, it gets flown through the hole and is gone. The pleasure, the warmth, the nourishment and security and all that comes with love, dissolves.
Does it ‘mend’?
Someone once said that ”we are wounded in relationship and we heal in relationship”. You know how powerful and life changing some relationships can be. Imagine forming a relationship that encourages growth, self-exploration and positive change.
Within the safety of a good therapeutic relationship, the process of ‘mending’ can occur. Therapy provides a space where one is accepted and valued for who they are, as they are. Carl Rogers, founder of person centered psychotherapy, outlined three core conditions for therapeutic change; unconditional positive regard, genuineness and empathy. The concept of unconditional positive regard holds that providing a relationship in which one is truly accepted, without any conditions or judgment, allows healing to occur.
By Joanna Chrzastowska