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 us) but it becomes patently clear over time that there’s an understanding gap.
Much as we might feel loving feelings towards someone whom with just met or havenât been with for that long, itâs not love. Even if that same person claims to feel similarly, what we have to ask ourselves is: Does this person truly know and understand me? Or is it that they love what they think they know or that they love the best bits?
What we all want as humans is to be accepted and we all fear rejection. When we truly know and understand a person and are open to knowing and understanding them further, we are accepting that person, not just for who theyâve been so far and who they are right now, but who they might be in the future. Conversely, when weâre willing to know and understand ourselves and to allow us to be seen and heard as part of that process, we are accepting not just of who we are right now but also our past and future selves.
When we pretend to be perfect or stress over why we canât be perfect for a partner, we are shutting down knowing and understanding, and so closing down love and acceptance.
When we pretend to be someone that weâre not or refuse to know ourselves or even refuse to reinterpret our previous judgements of us, weâre also closing down.
The moment that we seek to blend in or to appeal to the other party in an effort to be who we imagine would be the ârightâ woman or man for them, weâve just blocked love.
One of the things that we forget when we discard who we are is that by blending in to be like âeveryoneâ else, we are losing 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 are not looking to be with the homogeneous version of girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse. They want to be with us.
If weâre trying to be like âeveryoneâ, weâre no one.
We often fear self-knowledge and self-awareness due to fear of discovering that some of the story security blankets that we hold onto are based on faulty premises designed to hide our fear of committing to what we want and need as well as our responsibilities. We reject the possibility that thereâs an even remotely different interpretation of events, even if the belief that we have 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 ânot good enoughâ to essentially be superhuman. We have the unrealistic expectation that we âshouldâ have got everything right first time (or very quickly) even though we need mistakes to shake out what we don’t know and to also discover who we are through discovering who weâre not.
Avoiding knowing and understanding ourselves is a refusal to overturn our judgement and become more open-minded. We feel safer blaming us or even blaming others even though we donât feel happier or more loved for doing so. This blocks growth as well as love and acceptance.
The truth is, if we donât seek to know and understand ourselves and to continue to evolve our self-awareness and self-knowledge over time, we canât love to the degree that we expect to give or receive. We canât give something that we donât have.
When we know it within, we know it outside.
Of course if weâre beating ourselves up internally and believing that weâre not lovable because of what we inferred from our childhood experiences, it feels more familiar to be around someone who behaves similarly than it does to be around somebody who contradicts our interpretation.
Empathy and compassion are full circle actions. If weâre not empathising with ourselves and living with self-compassion where we seek to empathise with our past circumstances and conditions so that we donât beat ourselves up or make false gods out of others by giving them authority over us and our future, we are not empathising and being compassionate with others.
When we blame ourselves for other peopleâs feelings and behaviour and we regard us as being the solution to other peopleâs problems, do you know what we communicate to these people:
I donât see you; I see me. I donât know, understand and love you anywhere near as much as I think. Iâm so embroiled in my concept of me and the fear, guilt and pain of my past that itâs 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 that person will be there as they gain more knowledge and experience of us or we cannot trust that they wonât make our every thought, action and feelings about them, we will not feel safe. We also wonât trust that that person is legit. We will slip into our destructive patterns that sabotage intimacy, commitment, balance, progression and consistency (the landmarks) because itâs like, Here we go again! Yet again, someone who doesnât truly see me. Better stick to my pattern.
Patterns happen when we are living unconsciously. We have to wake up to love.
If weâre not seeing ourselves, weâre 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 weâre supporting it with love actions and love thinking. Anything else is just going through the motions and simulating intimacy and love.
Love is a responsibility. There are people out there that will talk a good game without the wherewithal to back up the chit-chat with deeds. We have to be responsible with our yes and no because we want to foster a loving relationship with the healthy boundaries that it needs. When we are boundaried, we are boundaried for us as well as for the relationship because we 1) value our integrity and that of our partner and 2) because we donât 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 and 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 our high and their low is our low. and vice versa. We are not competing or battling. We are not threatened by their growth. We honour the separateness and so weâre a team but we also know where each of us ends and the other begins.
Ready for love? Be ready to know and understand you better.
Wondering where to start with breaking patterns? Get a free copy of my tips, Getting Started With Reclaiming Your Emotional Baggage.
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