Identify ways you make mistakes in love and find out how to fix them.
The kind of love that characterizes what we feel when we fall in love is not empowering love; it’s not unconditional; indeed, it is based failingly on need and powerlessness. Just think of the familiar colloquial phrases to describe this feeling of falling in love: “Falling head over heals”; “Being swept away”; “I’m crazy about you.” All of them indicate a state of ungroundedness, as if a force has taken us away from our sanity.
Immature love says, “I love you because I need you,” while mature love says: “I need you because I love you.” Mature love is a state of productiveness, which implies care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. It is an active striving for the growth and happiness of the loved person, rooted in one’s own capacity to love.”
When need is dominant, we are ultimately weakened- we ourselves as dependent on other people as the source of love we need, and anytime others do not meet our needs in time, place or manner we desire, we are set up for disappointment and suffering. At this point we often try to seduce, cajole, manipulate, control, and attack.
When Love Isn’t Empowering Love
Appointing someone as special: As soon as we appoint someone as special, we set the stage for our own disappointment. For by deeming that person special, we are asking him or her to live up to our expectations of what we want him or her to be. We immediately are asking that person to be someone for us, instead of being that he or she is naturally. We confuse love with specialness. Then do we not live by the belief that if we find someone special we will be happy? We often believe that there is just one true love that will bring a marriage made in heaven. Are these not all myths, quite prevalent in our culture, but ones that do not hold true in our experiences? Problems come with appointing anyone as special. We may think of our children as special, but when we do, we impose more of our expectations upon them as pressure. Or we live in fear of something happening to them. We also attribute specialness to parents or friends. But specialness, as we commonly live it, so often destroys love instead of increasing it; it means that we believe love lies outside us rather than within us. As a result, we feel we have no control, protect, criticize, and try to change the special person- instead of accepting and loving them without conditions attached.
Needing to control those we love: We often think our attempts to control another’s behaviors, attitudes, feelings, values, morals, interests, activities, and bodies comes out of our love for that person. Hence we may want to know exactly where they are all the time, who they are with, what they are doing, and for how long. We may even try to control what they eat, how much they sleep, and how often they exercise! This is the result and cause of our fears and insecurities, and makes Love impossible.
Confusing worry with love: Many believe that to worry about someone means that you love that person. Worry, however, is not love, but in reality a form of fear. The worry can be about a person’s health, safety, future, or even that we might lose that person to someone else. You may worry that they don’t take care of him or herself. You worry that your children won’t do well. When you are worrying you are really showing concern about your own needs. You are afraid of potential loss or damage to your self image, created by the ego mind. This fear ultimately displaces love. . We need to transcend such ego thoughts and let go of the barriers of fear and worry in order to love.
Needing our loved one’s physical presence: In this case, the other person’s physical presence is viewed as the literal embodiment of love, which means that when your lover’s body is not there, you feel that you are being deprived. There is a difference between enjoying being with another person and a need to be with that person. You tend to believe that another’s presence will fill or complete you. Yet often when two people are together in this need state, they complain about each other instead of enjoying the time they do have together.
Genuine love strengthens and brings joy, it never results in pain or diminishes anyone in anyway. It is unconditional, and expects nothing in return. And if we expect nothing in return, we will never be disappointed. But most of our egos are probably demanding that we have a right to expect something from the person we love. And what would such a love without expectations of anything in return actually look like? Love is not just liking someone when he or she is delightful- for that is easy. It means loving someone when they are down. By loving in an empowering way, you are connecting with your True Self. The loving comes effortless and natural; it continues to grow, moment by moment, spreading the healing through you and to your partner.
Ways to Express Pure Love
Love is a verb: Then giving and receiving it are ultimately the same, and love is both inexhaustible and infinite. We are in control of the love in our lives, not others. Loving is therefore a conscious act of creation and not some thing or even an emotion that controls us.
Love is a conscious focus of mind: To redefine love and to see it not so much as an emotion as a conscious, willful decision that one makes in one’s mind.
The main function of love is to forgive: Forgiveness and acceptance are the essential conditions of empowering love and though they may feel similar to falling in love, they come from a solid foundation and from conscious choice rather than hormones or our illusions about the other person or ourselves. Forgiveness becomes an ongoing state of mind, not just an occasional act, although it may begin that way. When you forgive, you are basically overlooking those things that you had previously judged to be bad or in error. Forgiveness is seeing that there was no sin committed, only mistakes. Forgiveness sees appeals for love in the place of perceived attacks. Forgiveness is the core expression of love in the world.
Love is the desire to bring only healing to any situation: Since genuine love is never harmful, it can only heal. In fact, love could be considered the basis of healing in every situation. Love’s healing power never creates conflict, but teaches us how to accept those we say we love as they are, and to see them as perfectly themselves, allowing us to be perfectly ourselves as well. Love’s desire is to only be truly helpful.
Love is the absence of fear: Love is the only real antidote to fear in the world. Fear always comes from an illusion, for it has to do with a possible future occurrence. Since the future does not exist, but is only a figment of our imagination, fears does not exist either, it also being a figment of our imagination. Such a demand only leads to become counter-phobic, compensating for the fear that has been suppressed. Yet, when we lovingly reassure ourselves of our safety, our well being, and our ability to handle anything, we are giving love to ourselves. When we are able to give loving support to ourselves, we are much more likely to give it to others as well.
Love is gratitude: Where there is gratitude, love cannot be far behind. When we focus on what we are thankful for, the state of appreciation evokes loving thoughts and feelings in our minds. When we focus on what is missing, how we are being deprived, and what we are yearning for, we push aside love and falsely see ourselves as empty or incomplete. But if we experience gratitude, we focus on our fullness, which is our true nature as whole and complete, knowing we already have an endless supply of love to give.
Love is the basis of happiness: Acceptance and forgiveness are the basis of love, and are also the basis of happiness. Without forgiveness, happiness is impossible. Anytime we judge, focusing on what’s wrong with ourselves or others, we immediately lose our happy state of mind. When we fight against what is, it immediately takes away our inner peace and our strength. When we hand over our power for happiness to another person by saying, “If you will change, the I will be happy,” not only are we unhappy, but we either do not see or we actually repel the love that others may be offering to us. But when we accept someone just as they are, we feel genuine love and are happier and stronger as a result. Love, being the absence of judgment and expectations, cannot bring anything but happiness.
To learn more about Henry Grayson, Ph.D. and his work please visit his web site.