Three common obstacles to love
Updated: Feb 25, 2021
Love, in my opinion, is the most powerful, beneficial emotion that we can have.
It drives us to be who we really are.
Recently, I shared how valuable our relationship with ourself is.
It determines how we do life and it determines how we love others.
This week let’s talk about loving others.
We tend to believe we don’t have a choice about how we feel about others.
We tend to believe that other people’s actions control our feelings.
But here is the liberating truth.
You can choose love or any other emotion whenever you want to.
Because, if you remember, our thoughts create our feelings.
You don’t have love for someone. You just feel love when you think about them in ways that create love.
If we love someone or not is up to us.
Taking responsibility for how we feel is liberating and empowering.
You get to decide how you want to feel about someone and create that feeling by what you choose to think about and focus on.
Sometimes it seems harder to love than others.
When that happens it’s usually because we’re confused and believe that someone else is causing our feelings.
And that doesn’t feel good.
Allow me to share three of the most common obstacles to feeling love in our relationships.
I see these time and time again with myself and with my clients.
As you read through these, pause and ask yourself, if and where you see this in your relationships. These obstacles can apply to all relationships - parents, children, friends, partners, coworkers, bosses, strangers, and you.
Awareness is where your power is. Awareness leads to change.
We all have a book of rules and expectations about what is normal, kind and acceptable behavior for ourselves and others.
Manuals sound like: they should or shouldn’t..., I would never..., that’s not right... And when others don’t follow our manual it creates annoyance, judgment, resentment, and disconnection on our part.
We assume that everyone knows what’s in our manual, (because they should have the same one) and if they really loved us they would follow it.
But that’s the problem. They don’t know what’s in your manual and in fact, they have their own manual that you probably aren’t doing a great job of following either.
Manuals ruin relationships.
The solution: Become aware of what’s in your manual and why.
Discover it, be curious about it, communicate it if it’s really important to you, and then let it go.
Adults get to do what they want.
We can be aware of what we would like others to do and we can even request it but we must also give them the freedom to make the choice.
Expecting others to magically know what we want and why and then being angry at them for not following our made-up rules does not lead to love.
Communicate your desire for the purpose of knowing, connecting, and intimacy not for expectation and control.
Allow others to be and do them. And you get to be and do you.
Meeting our own needs creates freedom, respect, and love.
Confusing Emotional Boundaries and Emotional Control
Control is focused on the other person and leads to disempowerment. Because as much as we would like it, we do not have control over others.
Control is telling someone what they can or cannot do.
You can’t yell at me. (Guess what? If they are adults they can do what they want.)
Control looks like, you have to... you need to... you better...you should...
Control creates frustration and disconnection.
The solution: Healthy boundaries
Boundaries promote self-responsibility and empowerment and they lead to closer relationships with others.
Boundaries are always about you and your behavior, not the other person.
There are two steps to setting boundaries.
1. The request: Please don’t yell at me.
2. The consequence: If you yell at me I will leave.
The focus is on what YOU will do which is loving and empowering.
Emotional Childhood As children, our brains are not developed enough to realize that our thoughts cause our feelings. We think everything outside of us is causing our feelings.
And honestly, most of us are never taught differently.
So, many of us grow up believing this as we create relationships with others.
Living in emotional childhood looks like blame, shame, and powerlessness.
As emotional children, we blame others and circumstances for how we feel, how we act, and for the results we have in our life.
The solution: Emotional adulthood
Take your power back by taking responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.
Don’t force your manual on others. Create an amazing relationship with yourself and meet your own needs. Focus on you, who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world.
Create and enforce boundaries that allow you to be you and allow others to be who they want to be.
Realize that when we choose to think thoughts that don’t create love we are ultimately hurting ourselves.
Ask yourself, with compassion and curiosity:
What’s in my manual? Where am I trying to control? How am I being an emotional child?
These are questions for people who want to have amazing relationships!
Ready for a more loving, more meaningful relationship with yourself? Others? Life?
Relationships are one of the foundational pillars that create our life. And one of the life skills that my clients and I work on. Contact me for a free one-hour phone consultation to see if life coaching is right for you.