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If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love

If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love

Today, it seems, we have an incredible amount of expectation of one another. The idea of unconditional love seems to have fallen by the wayside, as more and more of us want love, but are ill-prepared to give or even receive it.

To love someone under any circumstance is a true test of unconditional loving, and although it may seem simple, it is probably one of the toughest attributes to possess. This kind of love requires an unconditional love of yourself first, so you can have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another human being. This is where we fall down.

Within our society there seems to be so much pressure to be perfect that to love ourselves has become a pretty hard task to achieve, but it is the key to total, unconditional love of all others.

Unconditional love is to love someone no matter what life throws at us.

What is love? According to the book Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love and Fulfilling Relationships,[1] unconditional love is true love. It is caring about another person’s happiness without demanding for any benefits for themselves.

It is not unconditional love when someone likes you only because you can give them what they want. It is also not unconditional love when someone only loves you under certain circumstances, say when you’re happy, healthy or rich.

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Unconditional love also means accepting another person for who they are, their faults and weaknesses.

There are conditions though, no one should tolerate in a loving relationship.

Unconditional love does not mean “I love you if you hurt me.”[2]

Unconditional love doesn’t mean you should accept truly hurtful and toxic behaviors. When hurt comes in continuously, or when abuse and cheating are involved, commitment should end.

Unconditional love is never easy; but with a little bit of practice, it’s reachable.

If you’ve never received unconditional love, it can become hard to then give it out. Below are seven ways you can practice how to love in this way and truly change your life.

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1. Love is not how you feel, it is more about how you act.

Try to think of love in this way and you won’t go far wrong. If you treat love as a feeling, when you are getting something from someone else and then you stop getting it then your feelings will change along with your behavior. An example of this is when you try to be someone you aren’t, or perhaps you have to do something in order to receive love: these then make love conditional.

However, if you start to act a certain way and are not requiring someone else to be something they are not, then that love is unconditional. Your love is not based on what someone else does or says, which means you can continue to act the same way regardless of how other people behave.

2. Adapt your love to others.

Love is received and given to others in many different forms and, unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy.

Unconditional love is a conscious decision you make every day and in every new situation that comes along. There are no rules laid out for everyone, you apply it person by person.

3. Give unconditionally to yourself.

If you are a people pleaser, which many of us tend to be, you’ll be more interested in giving love to others rather than to yourself.

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The love you give to others will not be unconditional, because you’ll be allowing how they make you feel rule how much love you want to return to them. This is not unconditional.

However, if you are constantly pleasing others you are lacking self-love. So give yourself unconditional love first, and the rest will come.

4. Love can sometimes be uncomfortable.

To truly love someone, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth, and in this instance trying to protect someone from being uncomfortable is not a sign of unconditional love.

Pain and growth are part of life and shielding them from this is not love—if you only set out to make them feel satisfied and happy all the time you will do more harm than good!

Unconditional love requires you to let them experience pain so that they will find their own way and grow at their own pace.

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5. Learn forgiveness.

This isn’t about allowing someone to wipe their feet all over you; it’s about choosing to react in a better way, a kinder way for yourself.

If someone has hurt you or let you down, choose forgiveness by letting go of the anger and resentment you have towards them. How you act towards a specific person will change depending on what has happened, but if you choose to act lovingly and not hold on to negative feelings, you will love them unconditionally.

6. Show love to those whom you think don’t deserve it.

Normally when someone else is negative towards you or about you, it’s likely that these people lack something in their own life that prevent them from truly loving themselves. If you see this before you react, and put yourself in their shoes, it can help you in the situation because you know deep inside it is more to do with them than with you. It’s here where you decide to give unconditional love and give it more frequently.

Being this way will provide a good pay off for the toxic people around you, but most importantly, for you, too.

7. Practice unconditional love with a simple act every day.

Try to do this at least once a day: give something and not be wanting anything in return. It can be letting someone through a door first, giving way to another car in a traffic jam, or telling someone you love them without expecting to hear it back in return.

Do something every day and I promise—even though you don’t want anything in return—you’ll get a huge amount of pleasure from just giving unconditional love.

Reference

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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