Where Does Your Love Come From?
Loving from competition leads to lack.
Loving from a place of gratitude creates abundance.
Years ago, I read a piece about motherhood. Back in the days when I never thought I’d ever want kids, I was curious enough that Google sent me links to articles I didn’t even know I’d want to read. That’s Google for you. This particular piece focused on the frightening side of motherhood as your heart exists outside your body in the form of a tiny human body. There is a massive vulnerability in becoming a mother. It didn’t sound fun.
When Tyler and I got married, that article popped into my head. Not because I was ready to become a Mom at that point, but because I felt a new fear creeping up my spine that I had never felt before. I remember laying in bed next to him one morning as he slept, trying to identify what this fear was. I was very nervous. It wanted me to pull him into my arms and hold him with all I had. This fear was anxious and vulnerable. That’s when a phrase from that motherhood article popped into my head.
My heart was living outside my body. As I looked at my new husband, my vulnerability became alarmingly apparent when I considered all the ways I could lose him. He was everything I’d ever wanted and more… and that was terrifying.
What if something happened to him? I’d be broken along with him.
What if he left? I’d be devastated.
What if he died? I’m not sure I’d be able to keep living.
What if we created a tiny human together and I had two of him in my house? I’d lose my mind.
From time to time, that profound love I feel for my husband is gathered up as ammunition by my inner critic. The bullets start flying in my head and penetrate my heart in the form of comparison.
BANG – “I’m not good enough for him.”
POW – “He’s too good for me!”
KABLAM – “I’m too much. I’ll drive him away.”
And the kill shot – judging myself as I project my insecurities into his view of me
Once again, perfectionism morphed into comparisonitis through these thoughts and caused me great pain. Fortunately, I already knew the only balm that could soothe the emotional pain came from an entirely different mindset. I had to practice compassion.
At the root of the thought process wasn’t any comment Tyler made or any sense of competition within my relationship. The root of my suffering was me. Which also means the healing of my suffering would be found within me. If I want to feel more confident in myself, feel more secure about myself in my relationship, and love from gratitude rather than comparison, I knew I had to change the way I was speaking to myself.
As a speaker and a coach, I really hate it when I have to take my advice. I hate it, even more, when I uncover a NEW way in which I have to take my own advice. My ego takes a hit, but my heart grows by two sizes overnight.
The idea that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else is some of the most cliche advice I read on social media. And yet, here I am, telling myself I have to love myself better so I can love my husband better. Notice how I didn’t say BEFORE I can love my husband. I am growing and evolving at the same time he is growing and evolving. We are not perfect humans who decided to embark on a lifelong journey together. We are messy, beautiful, colorful, imperfect, sarcastic, sincere, and weird humans who decided to do life as partners while we continue to learn about ourselves as individuals.
Sometimes, it’s really hard to see where insecurity is causing pain. If you’re not used to feeling through an emotion, holding it before it becomes a reaction, you may never realize the fight started because of triggered insecurities. It can be equally as difficult to believe there is another way to process emotion when what’s always been seems to be the only way.
My time in therapy has helped me identify the grip perfectionism has on my brain. Therapy also taught me how to use compassion as my healing balm. My coaching practice provides me with the chance to remain curious and help clients access their highest selves. Very few people have both elements in their life.
So, if you’re with me at the end of this blog, the question I want to pose to you is…
Are you loving from a place of gratitude or a sense of competition?