If there’s one idea or lesson I would like to bestow upon all my readers, it’s the idea that your thoughts create your feelings, which stimulate your actions and others people’s (individually) thoughts create their feelings, which stimulate their actions. We aren’t some hive mind society, although, a lot of times it may feel like that with the presence of social media. Since we as individuals are held accountable for our behaviors, then we as individuals alone are responsible for creating our thoughts and feelings as well.
One exception that always seems to come to mind, though, is the idea or notion that we can use our “love” for another person to change and stimulate their behavior in the direction we desire in a long term capacity. True, this can be done in short-term spurts, but long-term behavioral changes start from the individual’s mind. There is no magical love spell you can employ to affect someone’s mind, as many of us would like to believe.
There are many different ways to define love and no two or exactly alike, but many of us do still prescribe to the idea that “if someone loved us, they would change their behavior for us.” Let me be the millionth person to tell you that is a false notion. Human beings don’t usually change their behavior in any long term capacity due to the “love” of another human being unless they believe physical consequences are involved. And even then, once they stop believing or fearing the physical consequences, their behavior will likely revert.
LOVE IS ACCEPTANCE
How can you say you love a person, if you’re using that love to try to get them to change who they are? All that says is that you want to love the person you get them to change into, which.. is fine, but why are you wasting your time pursuing a fruitless endeavor? Human beings at our core are probably more selfish than self-less and the reason we do things for others is because in some way, shape, or form the behavior benefits us… But only, when we have to exhibit it in order to get the benefit.
At the end of the day, giving out in order to get someone else to give in, just isn’t sustainable and this is the moment in time where we really have to look within ourselves and ask ourselves why we need this person to change in order for us to love them? Our answers might surprise ourselves.
ANSWER #1: WE BELIEVE WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR LOVED ONE’S BEHAVIOR
This is false. You are not responsible for another adult’s behavior. You two are individuals. However, when two people are attached in relationships, we tend to believe that we can be held responsible for our significant other’s behavior and that it can potentially reflect negatively on us. In essence, we’re just afraid of being judged by society for not being able to control someone else’s behavior. Society will judge you for something so mundane as sleeping on your side, so you can’t really spend the rest of your life being bothered by the thoughts of others. Especially when those thoughts have no physical effect on you. Let this idea go and learn to enjoy your relationship for what it is.
ANSWER #2: WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE WORTHLESS AND FAILURES IF WE CAN’T CHANGE THEM
This, too, is false. You are an individual. You relationships do not represent you as a whole, nor is it the most important aspect of who you are. Society places such a huge emphasis on finding love and romance that we often times forget that there’s significantly more to living than being attached to someone else. Don’t waste your time trying to make your relationship fit into the perfect box deemed by society. Enjoy life and that person’s company for as long as you can.
ANSWER #3: WE’LL FIND THAT WE DON’T TRULY LOVE THIS PERSON AND HAVE TO LEAVE
A relationship ending isn’t nearly as scary as we like to think it is. We all need to accept and expect this possibility with every relationship we enter. Sometimes it happens really early and sometimes it happens after the 10th or so year. It really doesn’t matter. The point is that you entered the relationship because that person made you happy at that moment and that’s entirely OK. Trying to change someone else in order to resist the relationship being over or needing to change, is only going to hurt you and that other person in the long-run.
If you can’t get past another person’s behavior’s by accepting them, then it’s probably not the relationship you need to be in. I think in this situation it’s our definition of “love conquering all” that is actually holding us captive. It’s keeping us in a relationship we don’t want to be in because of our thoughts with regard to the meaning of love. Don’t obligate yourself to anything on account of love that you DON’T want to be obligated to. You know what it feels like to suffer or be in an unpleasant situation because of your relationship. Learn and practice letting it go.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHALLENGE SOCIAL NORMS
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to change your definition of love. When you are confronted with real human experiences that do not reconcile with the definition of love that society has taught you over the years, do not be afraid to adjust your thoughts and your feelings towards the idea of what you think love is in order to set yourself free from the pain of enduring society’s “disappointment.” No one can judge you. Love is a feeling that only you can feel for yourself, so only you can define it. Do not fear taking ownership of your individual thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Matters pertaining to love and relationships are not exceptions.