Everyone wants to be loved just as they are.
We don’t want to be loved, despite our less attractive bits. We want to to be totally and unconditionally loved. This is true of us all, from the poorest to the richest, from the kindest to the maniacs.
Ironically, a lot of our less attractive behaviour comes from this one truth, because our brain kind of mixes up what ‘Love’ is an what it feels like.
Let me do some science, (but don’t expect scientific language for me, and feel free to add it if you would like to).
This is how our brains work generally ….
- Something happened. Hmmm, I wonder what I thought about it. Yep, this is my view/perspective/judgment of it. Right let’s store it under this category.
- Something else happened. Hmmm, it’s a bit like the last thing, but not quite the same. So let’s store it in the same place out of laziness because it’s sort of the same.
- Lots more things get stored in the same category.
- Several months later, something else hardly the same at all happens, but by then we’ve forgotten the first thing, so it appears to match the same category.
So, a child child looking to feel more loved over a period of time can put these thoughts together: ‘I feel loved when my Mum gives me attention’ -> ‘When my mum looks at me she is giving me attention’ -> ‘Hmm, Mum is ignoring me, but if I do something naughty she will look at me and give me attention’ -> ‘Result, she shouted at me’!
Of course, there are other reasons for unpleasant or unsociable behaviour, after all some people just like being irritating etc, we don’t just want to be loved, we do want other things too which give us a pay off that we like. But it’s always worth wondering what’s going on in your child’s head when they behave in a way which just doesn’t make sense. Especially if the way that they react is quite extreme. You’ll probably be able to ask them what it’s all about, if you wait until they have calmed down.
How do we make people feel loved?
So the next question is how on earth do we make people feel loved, because it’s not as easy at is seems? I bet there are times that you’re loved ones don’t feel totally loved. If you don’t believe me, ask them (I’m going to do another post about Curly Headed Boy soon, to show you that you aren’t the only one).
There are two sides to it:
- Really getting to know them so that you know what makes them tick, and what makes them feel cared for.
- Learning how to see them totally, and loving them just as they are. It’s about aiming to love them totally including the ‘less attractive’ bits, rather than what we normally do, which is to love them despite those bits.
I can show you how to do understand what makes your loved ones tick (1) quite easily, and if you put a bit of effort in, then you can definitely do it. Some of us naturally know what is important to our loved ones, but it’s much more likely that you don’t and just assumed that you did.
Loving people unconditionally (2) is more difficult, because it’s not about being infatuated/in love with them; it’s about unconditional love which is quite illusive. I think that Mums often (but not always) feel this naturally for their children. But eventually the stresses of life make it more and more difficult to love our children’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts, without wishing there was less of the ‘bad’. I learnt how to get to the point of totally someone or something by learning the Demartini Method from Dr John F Demartini (I’m one of the few Senior Certified facilitators globally). I’ll post some blogs about it over the coming months in ways that will be really applicable to your lives; but to truly learn it, you really need to do a course, or go to a facilitator for a 1to1 session, it’s just one of those things that needs more than a blog post to learn in full. There is a book if you are interested though, called ‘The Breakthrough Experience’.
So how to get to know someone better?
First find out more about them and their values/priorities, you’ll be surprised what you don’t know about your loved ones. These questions will help and if you want more info then you can read Dr John F Demartini’s book ‘The Heart of Love’ where he shows the full Twelve Demartini Evaluation Method questions:
- What do they tend to spend their time doing? Why do they like it?
- What do they like the house to be like? Why?
- What do they like to spend their money on? Why?
- Who do they like being around. Why?
- Then try actually asking them!
What Makes Them Feel Loved?
I’ve found a book by a guy called Gary Chapman called ‘The 5 Love Languages’ to be very helpful with this on top of what I learnt about values from Demartini (he’s also written a pile of others and one for kids, but be warned he is very christian which might be off putting for some of you, and it shows up more in the other books). He says that most people favour one or two of the five which are (I’ve translated them a bit):
- Quality Time/Conversation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
The problem with these 5 options is that, if you don’t know your loved one very well, you could say the wrong things, buy the wrong things, do the wrong things, talk about the wrong things, and even touch them wrong! That’s why it needs to be combined with the more practical general understanding from the first questions. (If you want to see an example, I wrote a more specific post called ‘what to do if your wife won’t sleep with you‘).
So why am I writing about this? Well someone popped me an email about their grand-daughter, and it was spookily similar to some problems that I’ve been having with Curly Headed Boy, but before I could launch into a blog post to answer it I needed to do some background stuff first … keep watching for the next post.
If you ever need some hints of ideas on how to do this, remember there is my question corner for anonymous questions/advice.