When we love someone, we are of course concerned about their well being, happiness and success. When difficulties arise, this concern about our loved ones easily turns into worry. Many even feel that if one does not worry – then it may be perceived as we do not love someone. On the contrary worrying has an all around negative impact because of the amount of negative energy created that may weaken love.
So how does one show their love when difficulties arise? How does one not worry when there is a perceived risk to the well being, happiness and success of our loved ones? How does one be there for their loved one while strengthening the other and the relationship.
While our intentions are very good when we worry for our loved ones, it has many negative implications that we need to understand:
- first and foremost worry inadvertently undermines our loved ones self confidence in dealing with their own situation by subconsciously communicating that “the situation” is beyond their capability to handle or that “their approach” is not the right approach
- we feed negative energy to the difficult situation and make it worse – rather than focusing positive energy towards a better outcome by emotionally believing in the power of the loved one to overcome the situation
- over time, as we worry and offer our solutions – it weakens our relationship with our loved ones as we keep giving unsolicited advice – which may not be right for them or they may not be ready for it
- it makes our understanding of each other weaker as regardless of our well intended advice, we are bound to give solutions that are not the best for them as it’s impossible to truly understand another and what they are going through if your mind is constantly in advice mode
- our behavior creates a wall between us and our loved one as we keep pushing advice and they keep asserting their right to handle the situation their way (the best way as they know best their situation)
Build your strength
When I first traveled by Air, I heard the air hostess remind us that in an in-flight emergency oxygen masks will drop from the cabin above each seat and that we should put the mask on ourselves first before trying to help others. The attendants know that our immediate reaction in an emergency is to help our loved one, e.g., a child, before ourselves. Under such circumstances we do not have the presence of mind to understand that we will be of little use to others unless we take care of ourselves first. This is a valuable lesson for life in general.
Many times we feel, how can I be happy when my loved one is not. Your happiness is your joy that creates the strength to support others in their pursuit of their own happiness. Understand that our joy and our beauty is our strength. This is best conveyed by my all time favorite quote by Marianne Williamson in ‘A Return to Love’ (from the chapter ‘Personal Power’):
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be – brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. You playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
See the best in them
What you see in others they become. When I was a about 8 years old my maternal grand father saw me a successful engineer who traveled the world and was successful. He never understood studies, never helped me with anything but to this day I believe that that belief of his (even without any actions) was the seed of why I achieved what I achieved. We need to be believers of others potential and not drivers of their life.
The irony of the situation is that the more we love someone the more we are bound to get tripped in trying to help. It takes real courage and faith in our loved one to stay on the side lines (ready to provide support) while they live, learn and grow.
‘Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring’
– Karlfried Gras von Durkheim
Let them struggle
The struggle between loved ones begins when we try to look out for each other and push each other out of harms way instead of “silently holding each others hands”. Instead of trying to protect one another, focus on your commitment of being there for others and let them be there for you. Make sure you are not worrying about each other and simply making decisions that you think are best for them.
Suffering and pain are the crucible in which strength is built. Let our loved ones experience the pain of their reality and challenges, and overcome them. The irony of life is that even though I took over 8 years to handle a separation, I now expect my loved one to know and learn things faster.
It is not just for strength that we need to let our loved ones experience life in their own way. It is only through this experience that they will learn where their true happiness lies. Once pain is fully experienced, whatever the outcome or their decision, they will never waver in their life in similar matters! That is the beginning of their true happiness.
Offer – Don’t impose, your love and support
- Follow a base level connecting routine and rhythm
- Let them express feelings
- Be a reflector of feelings – don’t focus on outcomes
- Let them ask for love, support and advice
- Give advice (only if really asked); stay away from decisions
Love can be our strength or our weakness. When we worry about the other, when we over reach and try to help them, we take power away from them and the relationship. When we have faith that “all will be well”, stay calm and become each others strength, we strengthen our love.
The beauty of love is really in how magically we become each others strength – even when times are tough for the other or for both.