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Have you ever wondered why we sometimes treat the ones we love the worst? The reality is that when we treat them poorly or hold back love from them, we often blame them. In time, we become irritated with them, but often, we are really just mad at ourselves for letting someone else’s off-putting behavior make us into unpleasant, angry versions of ourselves. This kind of emotional behavior is part of our unconscious mind that makes up 95% of our actions and desires as an adult. (1,2)
It’s Time To Drop the Old Layers of Protection
Science tells us that these unconscious behaviors are all learned in the first 6 years of life (3-6), and they drive us to do the same dumb things again and again in our lives. Maybe when you were three years old, someone hurt your feelings, and to survive, you needed to protect yourself. To do this, you employed the services of your mind to help you create a personality that would keep you safe. Maybe you became the rebel, class clown, a straight-A student or Mom’s best helper – the better you played these roles, the more you earned their approval. You were safe, loved and appreciated – who could ask for more?
We are all playing a lead role in a movie made by our minds designed to protect us from getting hurt, and we try really hard to make a movie that everyone will like. We casted ourselves in these roles when we were young, when our brains had a high degree of plasticity and impressionability (3-6), and we are often still reading the same lines from the same script in that same movie thirty or forty years later. Instead of pleasing our parents, we now (as adults) find ourselves pleasing our boss, our spouse, and even our kids because the script says, “If I do these things, they will like me.”
Love With Expectation Hurts
Our minds have convinced us that in order to feel loved, we have to continue to perform – even into a state of exhaustion. Soon we become resentful, because while bending over backwards for everyone else, sooner or later they will let you down. We find ourselves saying, “For crying out loud! I do so much for them – you would think they would show some appreciation!” Or, “If they would change, or just stop doing this or doing more of that, I would be willing to love them so much more.” When we expect everyone in our world to change or love us back as a return on the investment we made to them, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and disaster.
Star In Your Own Movie – And Make It A Good One
The mind has created this world of illusion to keep us safe at a time when our senses, emotions and intellect were not yet developed. When you were two, you needed this type of protection. But now, in your adult years, you can become the director of your own movie and change the script, create a new scene, and even take on that role that you were always meant to play – your real, vulnerable, loving and powerful self. Science tells us that we do retain a certain amount of brain plasticity as adults (3) — thus, we have the power to leave our childhood patterns behind and create new ways of being — living as the true you. Living a life without access to this part of yourself can be, in due time, a very depressing experience.
Your senses will only offer temporary pleasure, and your emotions will distract you from yearning to be yourself for only so long until, sooner or later, you have to step into this new role. The problem is that the mind has convinced you that you can’t do this. “If I risk being myself fully and love everyone unconditionally and they don’t love me back, I will be hurt and devastated. It is way too risky. Just play it safe and stuff those delicate feelings.”
Be Happy Even When Something ‘Bad’ Happens
In the world of illusion, we can only be happy when something good happens, and if something bad happens, we become unhappy. In truth, the joy of our soul is available to all of us, all the time. It is not dependent on something happening – it is the expression of our true nature – and by definition, truth never changes. It is the emotions or moods that change, but the joy is always there for us.
A flower, for example, doesn’t count the number of bees that come, nor does it pump up its smell just for you when you walk by. Its nature, as is ours, is to expand itself no matter if anyone ever loves it back. The flower will be colorful and fragrant no matter what, because that is its nature. We think that we will feel better when “Mister or Miss Right” comes along and loves us, fully making all our dreams come true. The reality is that this kind of love will rarely satisfy you.
Write a Love Letter
Please try this exercise:
Take a paper and write a love letter to someone you love fully, completely. Someone you trust with all your heart. Tell them all the ways that you love and appreciate them – really go for it. While writing it, know that they will never read this letter – it is for your eyes only. As you write it, become aware of how you feel writing this letter. You will see that as you write this letter, you will actually feel loved, appreciated, cared for, and even important.
All the things we so desperately think we need from someone else to make us feel good are things we actually experience all by ourselves when we give love fully and freely – without any concern of receiving love back in return.
“I love you… but it is no concern of yours”
This is the game the mind has been playing on us for all these years. To truly win, we must taste the vulnerability of true love by allowing ourselves to love without the need for any return on investment. “I love you… but it is no concern of yours” means I now know that what I really seek is to “be love” rather than “be loved.”
So, find that family member that both pushes your buttons and yet you love them deeply. Write them that love letter and take a risk to act on the things you love about them with no concern that they love you back, appreciate, or approve of you. Simply act on your truth – that you love them. For a moment, just forget about the little things they do that set you off. Reacting to that is not you doing you, it is you reacting to them. For this exercise, just do you!
What are ways that you let the truth of you shine and express your love freely and openly to others? How does that make you feel?