Why Is Love So Hard?
Divorce. Heartache. Gut-wrenching arguments. Marriages filled with hurt feelings and repressed resentments. Sound all too familiar? You're not alone. Many of us find ourselves bewildered and dismayed by how difficult and painful "love" can be. We yearn for relationships that are better, more rewarding and just plain easier. In our hearts we know that love isn't supposed to be this way. So what are we doing wrong? And more to the point, what can we do to make our love relationships more, well, loving?
"So many of us unknowingly base our relationships on selfish love, which is a product of the ego and creates a need to control one's partner and to 'get' instead of 'give,'" says Susan Jeffers, author of The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love (Jeffers Press, 2005). "People don't do this maliciously, but rather from a sense of fear. The good news is that when you realize this truth – that your anger, blame and judgment are really fear in disguise – you can turn your relationship around. You can start practicing real love. And it's OK if your partner doesn't want to work on it with you – you can do it all by yourself."
So how do you begin? Here are just a few of Jeffers' many suggestions from The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love:
Traveling the road together can be a joyous experience. But sometimes problems with money, sex, children, work and the like can make the journey together very difficult. It is for this reason that we need to have a Higher Purpose. The Higher Purpose of a relationship is to learn how to become a more loving person – despite what problems come up. It is our using all the problems as a vehicle for seeing what we need to work on within ourselves to keep love in our hearts. In this way, problems become a plus instead of a minus. We learn, we grow, we are filled with creativity, we take responsibility, we feel strong and we ultimately experience the exquisite beauty of real love.
Pick up the mirror instead of the magnifying glass. What does that mean? The magnifying glass represents our symbolically pointing a finger and blaming our mates for our unhappiness. The mirror represents looking inward and taking responsibility not only for our actions but also for our REACTIONS to what is going on in the relationship. The mirror is self-awareness, and self-awareness is the first step toward positive change. A few examples:
The magnifying glass: I am angry he is not making more money.
The mirror: Why am I blaming him? It's my own fear that is stopping me from creating money all by myself. I have to work on my fears.
The magnifying glass: I am angry because she is taking time away from me to spend time with her friends.
The mirror: Is my life so limited that I can't function without her for a few hours? It's time for me to take responsibility to create more balance in my life so that I don't feel empty and needy when she is not around.
All of the above is about learning how to move ourselves from a "selfish" love to "real" love. It is also about radiating a positive and loving energy. Why is this so important? As mentioned above, science is proving that feelings are contagious. This means that if you think and act lovingly, your partner will actually "catch" that loving energy. You become a model that evokes love in your mate. And the whole nature of the relationship begins to move in the direction of love. Radiating a positive and loving energy can make all the difference in the world.
The best news of all, says Jeffers, is that when you commit to moving beyond "selfish" love and into "real" love, something truly amazing can happen. You may actually wake up one day and realize that you're sitting across the dinner table from that being you didn't really believe existed: your Soul Mate. "If you want to 'find' your Soul Mate, you have to become someone who lives in your soul, what I love to call the Higher Self," she writes. "We can all make the decision to live our lives with dignity, love and caring and to push through the inner fears that keep us from being loving people. We all have that choice."