“Those who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.”

– Socrates 

As I returned to my car from running an errand in a small strip mall, I was stunned to see this window decal on a truck in the parking lot.

Take a look at the picture – it says, “My Family,” with a series of 6 guns, from handguns to semi-automatics. These inanimate, assault weapons are what the person considers their family (I’m going to refer to this person as a “him,” since most of the gun violence is male-related).

I was stunned because the simple subtext of the message at its core is, “I don’t know what love is.”

A sadness came over me when I saw this because the window decal of the gun “family” suggests he likely has little, or no concept of how authentic love feels – with its various qualities of generosity, kindness, vulnerability, compassion, trust and respect.

As social animals, human beings are drawn to community, starting with the tiniest of communities – our nuclear family. Yet if our family shows us hate and abuse, disrespect and contempt, without an intervention that would show us real love, a person can come to accept that people, even those who are supposed to be our caregivers, can be dangerous.

In this kind of challenging childhood environment, a person learns it’s not safe to get attached; it’s not safe to be vulnerable – and it’s especially not safe to love. When this is the case, it’s “safer” for a person to assert control so that he can protect himself from others’ actions. In this circumstance, the goal is protection – not love. And when guns are seen as the way of protecting oneself then, yes, those machines could be considered the go-to “family.” “They are my protectors!”

Of course, this analysis considers an extreme situation that would reflect a deeply traumatizing childhood absent of any healthy definition of love. We know that for abused children, love is a very confusing concept because the abuse is coming from a parent or caregiver, who should be showing them “love” – so this mistreatment is what “love” becomes to them.

As an emotions therapist, I know that when we can heal the trauma that underpins anger, fear and shame then there’s an opportunity to let the good feelings in, like peace, kindness, and most important, LOVE. This personal transformation is essential to our future.

Personal Transformation leads to Cultural Transformation

To attain healing and transformation in our culture, we need to first focus on our own personal transformation and healing. In other words,

we can’t have cultural healing without individual healing.

But how does someone break through to a person who sees violence as a way of navigating life? 

It’s a very important question that I don’t have an answer for. This person (with the family of guns) may be “too far gone” to ever be able to give and receive love in a healthy way. OR, quite the opposite of that, some earth-shattering event could shock him out of his disempowering belief that the world is a very dangerous place.

I’m for whatever works to catalyze an earth-shattering event. Many in the psychedelic world vote for this happening through taking psychedelics – and I do include microdosing of plant medicine in my work to effect these changes. However, my favorite work is to personally help people become experts in learning how their emotions feel and why the emotion is arising – so that they can be in touch with what’s standing between themselves and more love.

Interested in learning more? I’m taking a break while I make my move to Europe (more about that later) but meantime, I invite you to hop onto my interest list so I can be in touch when I open my new online and retreat offerings!

With Love, Becca

P.S. What do you think of this “family of guns” picture, connect with me and let me know your thoughts. I always love to hear from you.