Do you know the song "Hearts and Bones" by Paul Simon? He’s written in it a great line, "This is how I love you baby." He is pointing to the fact that we frequently don’t let others express their love for us in the manner and the way that they express love. As soon as we are in a relationship with another, we bring all of our "stuff" to it. And we often demand that the other love us, OUR WAY. Have you ever heard, said, or thought, "If you loved me, then you would…"
This communication reveals something important. When we are frightened, we try to control others and our environment. We get scared that the person we love, doesn’t love us, then we try to squeeze it out of them. When we begin to feel the need to control the other and their expressions (e.g. to elicit from them some statement about their love for us) we strangle it. We want them to show affection our way and not their way. We want them to stop doing that and do this other thing instead. We try to turn them into what we thought we needed as children. Suddenly all the care and love we didn’t receive becomes their job.
When you catch yourself insisting that the other needs to change for you to be happy, it is an important time to pause. To slow down and ask yourself, what am I afraid of? If you do not identify the fear, you risk acting from it in ways that do not reflect your true thoughts and feelings.
If you want to jump ahead a few chapters, what we are truly seeking is not another’s love, but an experience of our own love, boundless and without conditions and limitations.
One minor postscript to this, that we know some of you will be wondering about, is that it is critical in relationships to state your wants and needs. This is a separate and distinct point that perhaps we will speak about in a future newsletter.
To loving and being loved simply,
The Workability Team