To love someone is to know and understand them.

To love someone is to know and understand them. It takes time and experience.

Sometimes, we believe or assume that we know someone (or they know us). Then it becomes patently clear over time that there’s an understanding gap.

Much as we might feel loving feelings towards someone whom we just met or haven’t been with for that long, it’s not love. Even if that same person claims to feel similarly, we must ask ourselves: Does this person truly know and understand me? Or is it they love what they think they know or that they love the best bits?

As humans, we all want to be accepted, and we all fear rejection. When we truly know and understand a person and are open to getting to know and understand them further, we accept that person. It’s not just for who they’ve been and are right now but also for who they might become. Conversely, when we’re willing to know and understand ourselves and to allow ourselves to be seen and heard as part of that process, we accept who we are right now and our past and future selves.

When we pretend to be perfect or stress over why we can’t be perfect for a partner, we are shutting down knowing and understanding and closing down love and acceptance.

When we pretend to be someone we’re not, refuse to know ourselves, or even refuse to reinterpret our previous judgements, we’re also closing down.

The moment that we seek to blend in or appeal to the other party in an effort to be who we imagine would be the ‘right’ person for them, we’ve just blocked love.

When we discard who we are by blending in to be like ‘everyone’ else, we lose our appeal. The partner with whom we can experience a mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust and respect is not looking to be with a face in the crowd. They’re not looking to be with the homogeneous version of girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse. They want to be with us.

If we’re trying to be like ‘everyone’, we’re no one.

We often fear self-knowledge and self-awareness. It’s due to fear of discovering that some of the story security blankets we hold on to are based on faulty premises designed to hide our fear of committing to what we want and need and our responsibilities. We reject the possibility that there’s an even remotely different interpretation of events. This is even if our belief about something or someone represents our understanding from long ago. We refuse to understand the circumstances and conditions that have contributed to who we are today. We beat ourselves up for being “not good enough” to be superhuman. There’s the unrealistic expectation that we ‘should’ have got everything right the first time (or quickly). This is even though we need mistakes to shake out what we don’t know and also to discover who we are through discovering who we’re not.

Avoiding knowing and understanding ourselves is a refusal to overturn our judgment and become more open-minded. We feel safer blaming ourselves or even blaming others, even though we don’t feel happier or more loved for doing so. This blocks growth, as well as love and acceptance.

If we don’t seek to know and understand ourselves and continue to evolve our self-awareness and self-knowledge over time, we can’t love to the degree we expect to give or receive. We can’t give something that we don’t have.

When we know it within, we know it outside.

When we know it within, we know it outside.

Of course, if we’re beating ourselves up internally and believing that we’re not lovable because of what we inferred from our childhood experiences, we stick to what we know. It feels more familiar to be around someone who behaves similarly than somebody who contradicts our interpretation.

Empathy and compassion are full-circle actions. If we’re not empathising with ourselves and living with self-compassion we’re not empathising and being compassionate with others. We need to seek to empathise with our past circumstances and conditions. When we do, we no longer beat ourselves up or make false gods out of others by giving them authority over us and our future.

Blaming ourselves for other people’s feelings and behaviour and regarding ourselves as the solution to other people’s problems communicates:

I don’t see you; I see me. I don’t know, understand and love you anywhere near as much as I think. I’m so embroiled in my concept of myself and the fear, guilt and pain of my past that it’s hard for me to recognise that you have a backstory, too.

We have crossed from empathy to over-empathy and gotten lost.

We all want to be accepted, especially by the people who claim to love us. If we cannot trust that they’ll be there as they gain more knowledge and experience of us or we cannot trust that they won’t make our every thought, action and feeling about them, we won’t feel safe. We also won’t trust that this person is legit. We will slip into our destructive patterns that sabotage intimacy, commitment, balance, progression and consistency (the landmarks of healthy relationships). It’s like, Here we go again! Yet again, someone who doesn’t truly see me. Better stick to my pattern.

Patterns happen when we are living unconsciously. We have to wake up to love.

If we’re not seeing ourselves, we’re not seeing others.

Love is an action and mentality, not just a feeling. We can only know the truth and extent of our feelings when supporting them with loving actions and loving thinking. Anything else is just going through the motions and simulating intimacy and love.

Love is a responsibility. There are people who’ll talk a good game without the wherewithal to back up the chit-chat with deeds. We have to be responsible with our yeses and noes because we want to foster a loving relationship with the healthy boundaries it needs. When we are boundaried, we are for us and the relationship. We value our integrity and that of our partner. We also don’t want to assume the worst or rely on untested assumptions in lieu of showing up and dealing.

To love someone is to know and understand them. When we truly strive to love, we also know and understand ourselves a great deal more as part of that process. We are part of a team where their high is ours, and their low is ours, and vice versa. We are not competing or battling. Their growth does not threaten us. We honour the separateness. So we’re a team, but we also know where each of us ends and the other begins.

Ready for love? Be prepared to know and understand you better.

Your thoughts?





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