Do you believe you can actually create love in your relationships – or – do you believe you just have to be lucky? And what does being lucky mean to you? Does it mean you have to choose the right partner who is a naturally loving person that knows how to treat you – or – does it mean you have to be born into the proper family with the proper upbringing to learn proper love skills?
Love is a natural inborn instinct, a natural emotion, a feeling, a thought, an experience, an attitude, and even a belief. One of the reasons most of us are so touched by a baby’s smile is that we sense the pure love emanating from such an innocent being. A baby is pure love, even though it is completely dependent and demanding and needy. Because we know how dependent they are, most of us easily forgive babies for crying, screaming and making demands upon us. We know they need something and we do whatever we can to find out what it is they need so that we can give it to them.
Household pets are also pure love. Yes, they make certain demands. They need to be fed and they need to be walked. Sometimes they make a terrible mess. We forgive our beloved pets for being so needy and so demanding and for messing things up when we least expect it. They look at us with those sad sweet loving eyes, and we melt in forgiveness and acceptance.
Most of us adults, even though we may look mature and even very old, we still want to be loved and accepted and forgiven in the same way that we wanted that as babies. We are only grown up versions of those needy, dependent and demanding babies that most of us shower with love and attention and forgiveness.
Have you ever looked at the adults in your life, beyond, behind and beneath their apparent adult personalities? Have you ever seen the needy, dependent and demanding baby lurking within everybody you meet? Imagine thinking that way when your boss is criticizing you at work or your spouse is screaming at you at home.
A screaming adult is just a child acting out, acting as if they are strong and powerful when, in fact, they are feeling weak and helpless. If they felt strong, why would they have any need to scream? Likewise, a demanding and self-centered adult is behaving like a needy and self-absorbed infant, not realizing that other people exist and have their own needs.
So, if you are in a relationship (friendship, business, family, or intimate love) with someone who is not loving you, not treating you in a loving way, not showing they are a loving person, not feeling love and not behaving in a way that enhances your relationship, what can you do about it? Well, your instinct is probably to respond in kind, that is, if they are being unloving then you should become unloving, if they are screaming, then you should scream back, etc. Or, perhaps you have taken some relationship courses that have told you not to react. So, you give them the silent treatment, you walk away, you abandon them, or you berate and belittle them for behaving so badly, so childlike, so unproductively.
I am offering a new approach to handling people and situations that do not feel loving to you. Look at the person who appears to be causing you some upset feelings and see that little needy baby, a baby just yearning for love and attention and acceptance, a baby who has been left alone to cry and is literally screaming for attention. What might you say to such a needy, frightened little baby? How might you respond that would be completely different from your natural instinct with this unruly adult in front of you?
If you actually do this little experiment, you will have taken the first step toward creating love in your life. Imagine having such a perspective every day, in all sorts of interactive experiences with other adults. Imagine focusing on the needs of all the people you meet rather than merely being concerned with satisfying your own pressing current desires. Imagine really being this way in your most intimate relationships.
Taking this perspective does not mean you have to become close and intimate with someone who is truly behaving like an infant. The goal is to be able to see that person and their behavior, clearly, exactly as it is, so that it no longer has to affect your own emotional equilibrium – and – you can continue to hold loving feelings for them no matter how they behave and no matter what they seem to be feeling. You can also walk away, regardless of what you have previously experienced together, retaining loving feelings for your own self as well.