How can I deal with feeling unloved?
“And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, as an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
Few, if any of us, face life’s challenges without wishing, at some point, that we had more love in our life.
Some of us face neglect or abuse from our parents or we find ourselves estranged from the love of our children. We may lose the love of our spouse or have to deal with emotional distress without a loving hand to guide us.
Often, our feeling of being unloved leads us to feel that we are unlovable. Lacking a sense of self-worth, we isolate ourselves from the world, where we fester or sink into deep sadness.
This is what happened to John.
An intelligent, charismatic man and a natural comedian, John was the life and soul of every Church gathering. Yet behind the clown’s mask, he harboured a secret.
At 4 years of age, the people he believed to be his parents told him they were only his foster parents, that he was not their real son and they could no longer keep him.
The next day he was taken away from the only place he called home.
Devastated and confused, John spent his childhood moving from one foster home to another. As he grew older, his clownish behaviour served to hide his shame at being unable to give or receive love. Locked in the prison of childhood neglect, anger and grief drive him deeper into himself.
Sensing his pain, I suggested he came to live with my family for a short while.
Our home was full of debate and occasional disagreements. One evening, we had a lively discussion. The following morning, John was quiet and unable to look me in the eye. When I asked him what was troubling him, he said he was frightened I would ask him to leave because he felt he’d expressed himself too forcefully.
“On the contrary,” I replied, “You simply said what you felt and that’s wonderful.”
For the first time, John revealed who he was and found acceptance. In that moment, he felt, in his heart, that God did not create any of us to be bereft of love.
Through Jesus Christ, who gave his own life out of love, we learn the meaning of spiritual growth and maturity. He lived just 33 years among us, yet his love spread to all corners of the world and passed from one generation to the next.
However unworthy and unlovable we feel, whatever scars we carry through life, his love is always with us, even when we feel at our most desolate. It is through this love that we learn the meaning of redemption, in this life and the next.