by Tammra Broughton
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I am hoping to spread this article across the world - especially to shelters, schools and counselling offices. I often hear and see how confused people are about Love and what it really is - I can empathize with their frustration! This article was an epiphany I had shortly after “failing” at a marriage and almost sabotaging a new relationship.
This article could also be about your relationship with yourself, family, friends and partners ... as well as “God” or Spirit or Universal Life force, whatever you want to call It ... it’s within you.
If you want to know if the guy or girl you are with is the “One” (for now), or take your relationship to next “realistic” level (with self or others) ... or you want to know when “the one” shows up ... then read on...
I spent a weekend with a fellow student who has her private practice called "Better Choice " – counseling, coaching and consulting. She uses "Choice Theory" to explain why we behave the way we do, with her clients, friends and family. I was just staying with her because we both attend the same school studying NLP; Sheila is also my friend. As we drove back and forth from school, had dinner with her family and shared tea in the evenings she began to explain what Choice Theory is to me. She started out with telling me the reasons why people behave the way they do and that "we all have the same four basic psychological needs and one physiological need from the time we are born to the time we die. We all do our best attempt to have these needs met on a daily bases. Our daily behaviour can produce a healthy life or less than healthy life for ourselves. We all want them met, somehow. These five basic needs are: Love and Belonging, Personal Power, Fun, Freedom and then Survival. Ask yourself, how are these needs being met? In cases where there is addiction involved (of any kind) be very, very aware of how you are getting your needs met. Also ask yourself, are these basic needs even being met at all? They are always being met, either in a healthy or unhealthy way the best way we know how at the moment. All of the needs are of equal significance. In practice, the most important need is Love and Belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs."
Sheila then explained to me that "in life we all have to drive our own "car" and that our 5 needs are under the hood of our car."
She showed me a few of the numerous cars she uses to teach people about driving their own car throughout life she pulled out some toy cars with Miss Piggy and Ernie. She told me that she does this work with people of all kinds, even corporate business men. She said that "most people aren't even driving their own cars and that sometimes we allow people to drive our cars for us" (children must be in the car with a loving adult or can be visiting with loved ones who can drive their kid cars for them). When I thought about this it made me think of how some people allow a parent (like a controlling mom or dad) to drive their car. Or they allow their partner / spouse or even a friend to drive their car. I know I have done this many times in my own life. Sheila said, "with depressed people, they aren't even in their car", she said “depressed people have left their car door wide open and are sitting on the side of the road.” My guess is that someone who is depressed (or someone who is depressing them-self) is allowing anyone who “seems to care”, to drive their car (my first guess would be the Doctor who prescribes the drugs to suppress the symptoms of depression – notice how I didn't say heal or cure … also this does not give a depressed patient any control over their own response-ability).
Then she said something that really got my attention. Something that many of my new “teachers” have been trying to drive home to me lately.
Sheila said, "the front wheels of your car are THINKING AND ACTING and the back wheels are EMOTIONS AND PHYSIOLOGY." Most of my life I have been re-acting from my emotions, always justifying my emotions, which is normal but I was not doing a lot of thinking logically and even less acting or simply doing something about it.
Again this made so much sense to me. So now when I am feeling really emotional I ask myself these questions:
Am I driving my own car” (also am I driving anyone else’s?)
Is there anyone with me in my car? (should I kick them out?)
Do I have all 4 wheels on the road and am I driving forward / am I moving?”
Another incredible thing that Sheila did while we were visiting was she would catch me saying “He convinced me that it wasn't worth... she made me feel terrible... I felt so hurt because they... They made me think that I was useless...” What's very interesting about this is that I am very aware of language and words people use, and thought I was hearing my own words, yet when I would get stuck in an emotional state I would say things like this. Sheila would stop me and say “You chose to feel terrible because...” “You chose to be convinced by....” “You chose to be sad because...” Like I said above ... “She choosing to be depressed (unconsciously)... or she was depressing herself because...” (Be /cause). Now I am able to catch this before or after I say it and it's extremely powerful because I am back being the cause and real-eyes I am choosing this behaviour, thus I am thinking and acting on a way to get out of a feeling loop and this gets all 4 wheels back on the road. I can then put the car in drive. Noticing this kind of behaviour in others is also a flag to let you know that the other person just may be looking for you to fill that void within them. If you do this for them this is may not be true Love and could only cause a weak link in the relationship and could be very exhausting and draining. We have all heard that interesting word “enabling”. This “catching myself” is already helping me a lot with building my career as well as I am finally beginning to understand relationships, past and present.
What happened next was the quickest most instant wake up call I think I can ever remember having. It's so very crystal clear to me now!
Sheila gave me a book called “What is This Thing Called Love” by Dr. William and Carleen Glasser. I feel as though I must share what I learned from this book because it's the kind of information the school system could add to “sex” education. Also, this could save people from getting into the wrong relationship, from having babies that eventually grow up in a dysfunctional family because the parents couldn't get along, could save a lot of pain and heartache caused by divorce. This could even help to stop the spread of STD's and the vacancy felt from a one night stand.
Are you ready to know What Love REALLY is?
I won't go into too much detail about the book other than to say the couple in the book thought they were in love but the woman felt like something was off when her partner would say “I Love You”. They argued a lot but they thought that this was normal in a relationship and like many, sadly, they thought if they argued then they could have make-up sex. This they thought was also making Love. The woman was very clear about wanting to get married (or some kind movement / progression) because she thought that this is what people do when they are in Love and wanted to grow with him into a healthy and functioning family. But the man did not want to move forward and asked her to wait. Saying “I am happy where we are, why the rush? We will get married, I promise, just not now.” Three years passed and she decided to see Dr. Glasser and together they never did any therapy, but they did begin a lengthy and deep dialogue about Love. The conversations were recorded and she openly shared this with her partner. She invited him to come and he agreed because it was not therapy it was a discussion. Basically she eventually realizes that it's the idea of Love that her partner is in love with, not her. She felt as though they were "stuck" (no movement, no growth, stunted). That what has been taking place is a fantasy.
Dr. Glasser says that if we live our lives in love with love, in this fantasy you might as well be a prostitute. To me, this is using people and when the infatuation is gone, like it always does to some extent, a person in love with a fantasy will get bored of the person they are with.
Side note: use NLP and hypnosis to access and anchor those first love feelings, they are always there!
Another huge part of the success for a loving relationship of any kind and even more importantly one-self, is that it is vital to completely eradicate these LOVE KILLING HABITS: criticizing, blaming, coercing, bribing, punishing, threatening and rewarding to control. Avoid the above Love killing habits for one week and see what happens in your relationship. ALSO be aware of when you do it to your Self. Then ask if you are creating these LOVING, CARING HABITS and ask: “Am I supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting – are we equally negotiating differences?”
I underline "negotiating differences" because this doesn't mean giving up your dreams for another person, the flexibility has to be 50-50 and that is love ... if the other person cannot see how important something is to their loved one then they may not have the true unconditional Love that is required to maintain the relationship. Ask these things also of yourself and practise them until the love killing habits are gone. Once we are completely full of truthful self-love then and only then can we grow, progress and cultivate a relationship with another, both facing the world together, otherwise we will desperately need to get that love from another person which usually leads exploiting each other. In fact, if I could be happy with myself and never worry that someone might never want to be with me, this would be the ultimate in self love and my guess is that someone would literally appear right before my eyes the very next minute!
Love, simply and clearly put = COMMITMENT. Bottom Line.
I really get this! I was never taught to practise this kind of self care, this valuing of my personal space nor did anyone ever model it for me growing up (that I am aware of and it wasn't likely taught to our guardians) so now why would I ever want to allow anyone to be in my space that wasn't willing to make a commitment to a co-creative relationship that has an outcome signifying real exciting growth? When there is no love or when there is only being in love with love then would sex, too, be just a fantasy? The way I see it is that infatuation is fun and can be done without the act of sex. Once the infatuation is gone, and there is a real and clear commitment, then Love can blossom. If you make this commitment right now to yourself, to be aware of fantasies and gift yourself this True Love, then you must love yourself a lot. Imagine what this can do for religion / spirituality. I hear it all of the time “I practise spirituality but my life still sucks” if this is you, read this article again. Or better yet read Dr. Glassers books on Choice Theory and Love.
So, where does this leave me in my own life? I have decided that I am filling my own personal love tank back up to the top ... again. If no person appears to be a match (someone who's Love tank isn't full for themselves) that's ok... I 'm not looking for someone to fill a void or heal my wounds. I am happy to say that rebounds are a thing of the past and anyone who thinks I would ever just have sex with them without any commitment now, can be either just a friend or could simply be deleted from my peripheral vision all together. I am owning my power again and it's empowering. To me this will clearly weed out the people who are living in a fantasy world.
Trust me, if you say commitment and they run, it wasn't Love, it was a fantasy.
UPDATE: It was only days after writing this (and 3 days of liver / gall bladder flushing - search Dr. Hulda) - I told my new man Tony, that I wanted a commitment and showed him this article, now we are engaged, standing side by side, facing the world together...
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Hi I'm Tammra
I live in Squamish, BC, Canada and I am uber passionate about holistic well-being, music, art and being playful. Want to know more about me- read my story here.