Losing innocence is the making of our Shadow.
Here, I don’t refer to the loss of innocence as a tragic event or a clear line that in one action was crossed. Innocence is the state of being where we can exist pleasurably without the need or ability to understand our environment, ourselves, or the people around us. Eventually, humans grieve their loss of innocence, but losing our innocence isn’t just a loss—it’s a graduation—an opportunity to feel the depth of a before and after. As young children we process our experiences sub-consciously without enough life with which to compare the “good” and “bad.”
If you’ll take notice, most of what we experience as adults, we compare to some point in our past. It’s almost impossible to fall in love with someone without questioning how our new relationship compares to our past love experience. But when you had your first kiss, you had nothing to look back on as an example of how it might have been. Some of us have a very good first experience when it comes to relationships. Others have a jarring first experience. It is debatable which experience is most favorable. If you start out on the mountaintop, you may never experience the pleasure of scaling the heights of love. If you start out at base camp with an encounter that guts your confidence, you may never think that making it to the top is possible.
The reason it’s important that you’re aware of the difference between the past and now, is so that you can become aware of how your innocence continues to evolve with time. You’ve likely heard that older adults enter a second childhood. This can be a welcome change of scenery that allows the elderly to have a sense of being carefree, even against the backdrop of physical aging. But the optimum “innocence” is when we choose to discover a pure existence which has nothing to do with a stage of life imposed on us related to our age. Naming our greatest fear allows us to reclaim our innocence—a state of living in the moment while proactively processing what’s happening around us. The great thing about this reborn round of innocence is that we become more aware of our choices. We can steer our ship. We are empowered to direct our actions and thoughts with a higher awareness that impacts our relationships and elevates our sense of well-being.
How does our sense of innocence relate to our success in relationships? When we are children, we have little choice as to who is in our life. If we’re lucky, we have parents who care for us. In some cases, we have siblings. In other families, there is an only child. No matter what, as a child, we progressively become more aware of the fact that our maturing sense of loneliness has nothing to do with the number of people around us, but everything to do with our ability to connect with those in our life. So, at some point, at varying ages for different people, we begin to look for love, for companionship, for a relationship that will satisfy our desire for connection.
Our sense of innocence shapes our love relationships.
The innocence with which we embark on this search for love and connection will impact our success in relationships. Of course, we cannot look for a partner with the innocence of emotional virginity we once had. No, at this juncture in our lives, we must approach relationships as “shrewd serpents and innocent doves,” imagery the Bible provides in Matthew 10:16. Our task at hand is to regain innocence while sharpening our sense of relating to others around us, especially when it comes to choosing a mate.
We need to see our current partner through the eyes of a child while handling them with the wisdom afforded by knowing ourselves better. Meaning, we no longer judge ourselves or our partner, we only “deal [with them] according to knowledge.” I Peter 3:7 We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you.” This speaks of the innocence part of the equation. But the formula for a successful relationship requires balance. While we approach our search for love with innocence, we must be well equipped with enough knowledge about human behavior to understand what we’re getting ourselves into.
#love #innocence #connection #relationships