When Knowing You're Loved Is Not Enough - Tobi Atte
It starts…without us even thinking much. We find ourselves acting like we are more hurt than we really are when they make a mistake, we get a bit more careless with our negative emotions and habits, and we silently dare our significant others to deal with it because they have no choice…we enter a fight knowing we are partly at fault but we put our significant others in a position where they are the ones saying “I’m sorry”. We don’t even realize when these thoughts pop in and how we make these decisions. All we know is how we feel and that we don’t feel loved.
You’ve just come to that point. That point where knowing you’re loved is not enough…that point where you want to feel loved. You need evidence. You are restless about it (and perhaps rightfully so) and you are getting the bold blood flowing… You’re ready to hold an emotional gun to your significant others’ head and demand that love. You want to tell them to get on their emotional knees and fork out the love money.
Here are some fixes that are not popular but are fundamental and important. They may not solve all your love woes but they will surely help…a lot.
1.) Stop asking “why” ask “how”: When things are not going great…when we are not “feeling the love”, we start asking ourselves “why?”. Why isn’t he /she showing me love anymore? Why has her/his behavior changed? Why are things different? The problem with that is that there could be a million reasons and it is too complex to comprehend, manage or change. You may even cook up more to the situation than there really is. You may create a monster that you have no idea how to kill.
The better question is “HOW?” How is he/she not showing me love anymore? HOW has her/his behavior changed? HOW are things different? This line of thought makes things more specific and brings the thought to HOW “specifically” things have changed. It isolates the current issue from others that may not have anything to do with what you are going through now, and allows you to deal with the issue in front of you on a smaller and manageable scale. It focuses on the PROCESS of change not the REASON for change and the process of change is often more important than the reason.
Think about it. Think about something foolish you did before, that you don’t want to do again and ask yourself: “WHY did I get there” and compare that to the question “HOW did I get there”, and you’ll see that with WHY, it can get a little vague. Even if you could pin-point the reasons, it is still difficult to orchestrate the changes you need to make so that you don’t do that thing again. Not so much with HOW. “How” lets us take our emotions out of it a little and see with a bit more objective eyes. It lets us see “process” and if we see process, we can orchestrate change better. So back to love. Ask “HOW”.
I think there are two levels to “HOW”, and I have nicknamed them “HOW-Situational” and “HOW-Meaning”. The description I just gave above about HOW, is the first part- Process- Identifying HOW the behavior has changed?
The first step in the “HOW” questions is seeing specifically HOW the behavior has changed. That’s the HOW- Process
The second step is to seek meaning. “HOW does this change mean xyz…?” That’s the HOW- Meaning. In other words, we have to ask how this change in process “means” what we think it means. In this case, we are talking about relationships. Once we ask ourselves HOW the love has changed, then we can take the answer and plug it in the “HOW –Meaning” equation. For example:
Step 1 (How-Process):
Question-HOW has he/she changed? How is he/she not showing me enough love right now?
Answer-He /She used to call me first thing in the morning to say good morning and I liked that. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Step 2 (How-Meaning)
Question-HOW does that mean he/she does not love me anymore? How does that mean that he/she loves me less?
Possible Answer-Maybe…maybe not. Does he/she spend more time on the phone with me at other times of the day? Does he/she have later nights or earlier mornings now? Do we have more intimacy in other areas of our relationship? Am I going through more emotionally draining situations in my own life that requires a bit more from him/her? DOES he/she know…did I ever verbalize how much I really enjoyed those early morning phone calls? Even if he/she did know, did they know just how much that meant to me to the point where they knew that if they stopped doing it, I would interpret it as a reduction in love?
Here is a good one: “Does that morning phone call really define love for me, or have I just associated that call with love….furthermore, can I find other things in our relationship to associate with receiving love?
Powerful…because it’s important to know that just because there is a change, doesn’t mean that there is now an absence or reduction in love….or it might. Who know…the point is that this mental process gives us OPTIONS…Options as to how to manage our emotions and keep things positive. By the time we go through this exercise in our head, we “may” see that the situation may not be as grim as we made it to be.
The good thing is that even after going through this process, we still come to the conclusion that we are in a wrong relationship, then we would have arrived at that conclusion having taken the right mental journey. We would have RESPONDED not REACTED.
This isn’t to down play that need to be showered with love “just because”. Oh no. It isn’t always a scientific or psychological exercise when we feel a little pang of physical or emotional loneliness for whatever reason. No this is simply giving you a powerful tool to protect your relationship when that little pang goes for a little longer than expected or when the panic meter spikes a bit. This thought pattern may not even solve the problem at all but it will certain put you in more control of your emotions when do go through this. Go ahead...get your loving…but know this tool to keep sanity in the relationship.
Tobi Atte is the writer behind www.ijustmetme.com and a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner and Motivational Coach. He is a dynamic speaker on several topics such as motivation, change, leadership, success empowerment, relationships, fresh perspectives on faith, and personal growth in general. Read the first in this series at “I know…but that’s not enough Part 1”