"How do I know when I am caretaking and when I am being loving?" I get asked this question quite frequently. The answer lies in understanding your intent.
More from YourTango: Relationships: When to Talk, When to Act
Caretaking comes from the ego wounded self and the intent behind caretaking is to control. When you are caretaking, you are giving yourself up to do what someone else wants you to do in the hopes of having control over getting approval or avoiding disapproval or anger. When you are caretaking, you are taking responsibility for another person's feelings while ignoring your own. Frequently, you are doing for others what they need to be doing for themselves — which means that you are enabling them.
While it might look loving to caretake others, it is anything but loving. It is not loving to abandon yourself. It is not loving to give to get — giving with an agenda to get approval or avoid disapproval. It is not loving to enable others in not taking responsibility for themselves.
Loving behavior toward others comes from our loving adult self — which is who we are when we are connected with a spiritual source of love and wisdom. When you are loving others, you are giving to them for the joy of giving to them. The intent behind the giving is to share your love. You don't need anything from the other person because you are already full of love from having taken loving care of yourself.
More from YourTango: Stop Escalating Conflict!
There is no agenda attached to loving behavior. How the other person responds is fine, because you don't need anything back, nor do you expect anything back. You are giving for the pure joy of giving and are further filled in the act of giving. Keep reading...
More Couples Content from YourTango: