By Basee Saka
We’ve all got that friend or relative that just frustrates the heck out of us. They are in a relationship that is going nowhere. Even a blind man could see it. Their justification is ‘I love her/him’.
LOVE? Is that what it is? Love doesn’t use you, it doesn’t make you a doormat, and it doesn’t spend all your money and eat all your food and leave you alone at night. Or does it?
So many times we ask each other, ‘what makes you love him/her?’ What about them makes you happy? We automatically presume that love is something that requires reciprocation.
We tell people that they don’t love that person, that what it is, is low self esteem, it’s dependency, it’s mind games and other definitions of that feeling the person has. If that was the case, why do so many people, intelligent, competent people, who KNOW that the object of their affection is a right royal pain in the butt, stay and hold on? Why do they allow themselves to be mocked, ridiculed, and embarrassed even? It’s because love is something that can’t be controlled!
There is a strategy in many spiritual tenets that encourages us to accept our emotions, but not be controlled by them. The idea is that we accept the emotion, know the emotion and separate it from our ‘reality’, ‘reality’ meaning our day to day life, our ability to function at optimum level. I have read this ideology on numerous occasions; have tried to turn it on its head, back to front every which way, to see if it could make sense. For many years it was a complete enigma to me. How in the name of all that is good do you feel something and not respond to it? Well there is a saying, ‘who feels it knows it’… and the key word in that phrase is not FEEL it’s KNOW!
When we know our reaction to certain emotions, the trick is to stay one step ahead of them. We know that when we are angry, we behave in a certain way, the anger is leading. In a calm state we would not behave the same way, so we KNOW that we don’t HAVE to react to anger. We give up control TO anger and blame anger for our behaviour. The same way we do with love.
When we get to the point of being able to recognise our emotion building, we should be able to think ahead and make the decision NOT to be led by it. Easier said than done, yes, but a skill that will not only save a lot of heartache but also a lot of trouble too. If loving someone is causing you to behave in a way that results in you not being able to function at optimum level, it’s not that’s persons fault. When we say, ‘you allow a person to make you feel that way’ it’s not entirely true. Well allow them to behave the way they want to behave, but the way we feel about it, is our responsibility.
So your cousin’s partner is a lazy, shifty, no good waste of space! Is your cousin complaining? Is your cousin still making a life for him or herself? Is your cousin making the most of other areas of their life? If so, maybe unwittingly they have developed the ability to separate emotion from reality. It might not make sense to those who have not. These people claim their ‘Pain’. They know the person they love is a pain in the rear end, but whether they express it or not, in their minds and in their hearts they accept ‘S/he’s my pain!’
As someone who cares for that friend/relative/co-worker; we need to remember that people will love, regardless of how appropriate or inappropriate it might be. What they need is not for us to tell them they shouldn’t love, or that they need to ‘get rid’ of that ‘no hoper’. What they need is for us to respect their feelings but encourage them not to let those feelings control them. That is the difficult part. Helping someone to understand that loving someone doesn’t mean they can’t be successful, motivated, adventurous, and sociable; they might want to please their partner but that doesn’t mean neglecting themselves in the process. So instead of trying to make them see something they already know, introduce them to something they might not have realised. Eventually, when they see their love being taken for granted, trampled on and wasted. They’ll chose them self over love. That affection will still be there, love isn’t a switch, that familiar flip in the stomach when they see that person will still happen, but as time passes they will recognise it for what it is; a reaction to an emotion that no longer controls them.
What say you? Enquiring minds want to know. Please leave your comments.
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