21/11/2019

“I love you”…. Whatever that means!

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:19 am by The Water Bearer

“I love you”

Three tiny, yet pretty loaded and confusing words aren’t they?

They’re the stuff Rom-coms and Spotify playlists are made of, but the word ‘love’ is a slippery thing.

So when someone says “I love you” it could quite literally mean anything..

  • 1. To one person it could mean “I can’t stop thinking about you, I long to be with you every minute of every day, I need you!” (or some varying intensity of that)
  • 2. To another person it means “I accept you as you are, I appreciate you, and cherish our time together.” (or I’m learning what that looks like at least)
  • 3. To the rest it could mean anything from “I own you”, to “I hate you” and through every shade of grey or rainbow in between. (Let’s leave that group of extremists for another post on another day)

I know which one I’d prefer.. How bout you?

There was once a girl who believed she had found love. She spent all her time imagining their future together. She created fantasies in her mind of how their love would become the stuff of legends. He was going to always be there, and hold her when she was scared or sad, he would kiss her intensely when she was bored or lonely, he would be playful and romantic and make her laugh, and he would help her find solutions to all of life’s problems. He would fill all her empty spaces and she would finally be happy.

You can imagine her despair when in reality he had lots of friendships and activities to keep him busy away from her, and he actually pulled away when she was sad because he believed she needed space. He couldn’t tell the difference between when she was scared and when she was mad, so he gave her space then as well. He would kiss her intensely but only when he felt like it, which was usually when she was tired, which annoyed her. He wasn’t really the romantic type, thinking all that was soppy crap! And problem solving wasn’t his strong suit. He let things figure themselves out, while she found problems in almost everything and demanded he try to fix them… Instead he saw past her wild changes in mood, and he accepted her extremely affectionate nature even though he didn’t really like PDA’s. He dedicated himself to appreciating just having her as his special person, no matter what.

So, do you think she loved him?

Did he love her?

Do you think their love became the stuff of legends?

You guessed it!

Of course not! She thought she had chosen the wrong guy, she thought her passionate love was being wasted on him and perhaps the next guy (who she couldn’t stop thinking about) would make all her dreams come true. SPOILER ALERT : That guy didn’t last either… and neither did the next.

The problem was “LOVE”.

What she thought was love was actually insecurity, sentimentality, obsession, expectations and control All of these depend on her emotions and how she viewed herself.

Don’t get me wrong here.. It’s not always the girls who have this co-dependent view of love, in fact many young men are now looking to this generation of confident, independent young women to become the very oxygen they breathe.

Its important to realise that our own emotions, identity and self-confidence have a huge impact on what those words “I love you” mean. They can change what we mean when we say it, but they can also change what we hear when someone says it to us. We can expect certain things that they never promised to give us. Or they may expect more from us than we signed up for.

If we are emotionally aware, meaning we know emotions are fickle and we don’t always trust them, and we have a good foundation of self-worth and a solid identity, then we are more likely to find love in the 2nd way.

However if we have some insecurities, and are not accepting of ourselves, or have a warped sense of identity, and our emotions take charge of us more than we take charge of them, we are more than likely to fall into category 1… or God forbid, category 3!

There is an ancient guide to what true love looks like. It can serve as a template to meditate on when we are dealing with matters of the heart and relationships of all kinds. So before we say those words “I love you” perhaps we can check this guide to see if we really mean it. Now granted this is a divine form of love which doesn’t come naturally, however it is possible with help from God to manage our emotions, gaining our sense of identity from being His much loved creation, and understanding the goal of what love should look like. Could you love anyone like this?

  1. Are you patient with your loved one and try to keep the peace?
  2. Do you treat them with kindness, are thoughtful and understanding of them?
  3. Do you resist the urge to feel jealous and possessive over them?
  4. Do you refuse to boast to your friends about your love, not showing off on social media to compete or compare against other’s relationships?
  5. Do you apologise when you take your frustrations or emotions out on them?
  6. Are you in the relationship for what you can get out of it, or do you simply want to give love to them?
  7. Do you try not to get angry or emotionally sensitive with them easily?
  8. Do you forgive and forget when they take responsibility for their mistakes?
  9. Do you encourage each other to do your best, tell the truth, never lie to them nor tempt them to do wrong?
  10. Do you refuse to give up on your love when times get tough?
  11. Do you trust them?
  12. Do you always look for the best in them?
  13. Does your love get weaker depending on your emotional state, or does it stay stable no matter your mood?

26/05/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love!*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:10 am by The Water Bearer

“Come Back!” I yelled through the tears streaming down my face as I ran up the street after him. My heart was twisted in turmoil, my head full of confusion and raging emotion. I was a child in an adult’s body and he was my boyfriend. We hadn’t been going out very long, a few months maybe, but once I had allowed him into my life physically and emotionally I began clinging on for dear life, pinning all my feelings on him. If he told me he ‘loved me and couldn’t live without me’, I was over the moon, if he told me to ‘get lost and leave him alone’, I was on the floor in a heap, devastated by his rejection.

This time he was going out with his friends for the night, but I had spent the day looking forward to spending the night with him. I had conjured up in my head a scene straight from a movie, that he would see me, run to me, hold me, tell me how long his day had been without me, yadda yadda yadda. I would have sent these expectations with my will-power out into the universe and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less!

However I would have no choice but to settle for something much less. He had walked through the door earlier that evening, thrown his work bag on the ground, grunted a ‘G’day’ at me and headed for the shower. I slinked up to him, trying to use my features and curves to get his attention, but he had had a long, hard day and wasn’t biting at any of the bait I was casting his way. All I got in return was that he had to get ready because his mates would be here to pick him up soon. Well, I had just practically thrown myself at this guy and had simply and coldly, been brushed off. Feelings began to build up in my chest and spilled over into my heart, they made their way up into my mind trying to grab onto some logic, something I could say to convince him to stay and make me believe his love for me. I gave him everything that came to mind, but what it boiled down to was ‘If you love me, why are you making me feel bad?’ He didn’t buy into any of my arguments, said of course he loved me but was still going out tonight. A car had pulled up out the front, he turned his back and walked away toward his waiting friends. I was pleading with him to stay, demanding he not leave me. Yearning for him to change his mind and do something to take away the pain, the rejection, the loneliness and fear I was drowning in. I banged on the window of the car and told him to “Get out and talk to me!”, yet instead he gave me an angry, confused look and told his friend to drive. So here I was, running after the car, screaming like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the supermarket over a lollipop they had been refused.

I kept on like that with different boyfriends for many years, every now and then my expectations would not be met, I couldn’t understand why and would become irrational. I couldn’t get my head around this one main question, the question that lit my heart on fire with anger, and devastation.

How can you say you love me, seeing me in tears, being the only one able to take away my pain and still not do what I want you to?’ … I always concluded ‘Then you can’t possibly love me!’

It wasn’t until much later that it all started to make sense to me, I realised that while I thought I had been a good child, I was also very good at turning on the waterworks at the onset of any event I might like to avoid. Being left with teachers, or babysitters, or eating my dinner, or sleeping in my own bed were certain to evoke tears. Like most parents, my Mum found it was simply too hard to stand up to me and my dramatic, emotional manipulation. She couldn’t bear to see me cry.

Who else remembers a typical kindergarten day? Mum or Dad showing you the toys pretending they were staying to play with you, and once you were distracted they would sneak out to avoid seeing your tears and hearing your screams. You would turn around to find they had simply disappeared, and they stayed gone for a many hours. (That’s a long time for a little child). Perhaps you too became scared that if you let go of someone you love they might not be there when you next looked around. Then Mum began making food that I didn’t fuss about so she wouldn’t have to fight to get me to eat, and eventually let me sleep in her bed every night without dispute. I came to believe that the people who love me don’t let me cry…for long.

As I got older, and through some therapy much later on, I came to understand that I suffered from abandonment fear and a misconception of love. My tantrum throwing was as distressing for me as it was for my loved ones. It wasn’t until many conversations with my Dad, where he helped me see that I was also a victim of my own emotional blackmail. In other words, I was allowing my inner enemy to create unreasonable emotions that overpowered me, and then expecting my loved ones to adjust themselves accordingly. Once I realised I simply couldn’t trust my emotions, and accepted that I was misunderstanding what love is and how loving people treat each other, I began the journey to keep my emotions in check and try acting in a loving way rather than an irrational way. It takes a lot of persistence to change a behaviour and a belief you have had all your life, and I am certain I would have had no success without my faith.

There are many others out there who have some experience with these types of overpowering emotions, and they may not have any similarities in their childhood to mine. I believe it is possible for any form of trauma that rocked the foundation of a child’s perception of trust, and love would still carry some weight to create this inner enemy.

In my next blog Discipline + Trust = Love! Part 2 I will continue with this story, and will detail the efforts I have made to prevent my children from following in my footsteps. I also feel compelled to write about how my attitude towards men changed and how wonderful the results were. You can read that here..

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