How to love, that’s the question. The answer is simple. It’s love, stupid!
“It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against George Bush. The point they were making was that to win an election you must pay attention to the basics.
Well, in romantic relationships, “it’s love, stupid.” So many times we have interactions—or altercations—with people we love and because of a few silly words, or the tone of voice or insufficient attention we pull back and protect ourselves in the veil of anger or fear. This is because we don’t know how to love.
And the anger and fear is an absurd waste of time and energy—for which the solution is NOT to spend endless hours processing the incident. The answer, well—it’s love stupid! Just love her. Just turn toward her. Remind her that you love her. That’s the foundation, the underpinning of your romantic relationship. Go right to the core. Turn toward her and love her. Whatever the friction, it will dissolve. Whatever you need to learn—some people think that a fight or disagreement is a chance to learn something—the learning will more easily take place after you reconnect. There is no downside to loving her.
Stop holding back and finding reasons to justify your anger and hurt. Just love him. Just turn toward him. Remind him that you love him. That’s the foundation, the underpinning of your romantic relationship. Go right to the core. Turn toward him and love him. Whatever the friction, it will dissolve. Whatever you need to learn, the learning will more easily take place after you reconnect. There is no downside to loving him.
Yes, I know, many people will say that my ideas about how to love are harder to do than to say. That’s because we’re all so damn insecure. I don’t say that as a criticism, it’s not an indictment so much as it’s a statement of biological fact. We are wired to protect ourselves when we feel threatened. We either fight, freeze, or flee. And when our identity—our sense of who we are—is perceived to be under attack, our reaction is fear based. In that moment we forget how to love.
But this is the wrong reaction in romantic relationships…for two reasons. First, it’s only our identity that is being challenged, not our survival, so it’s not necessary to be reactive. Second, the context for a romantic relationship is love—your partner is your friend, not your enemy—so you are fundamentally safe.
But, we forget this. That’s why I’m telling you, it’s love, stupid! Remind her of your love. Remind him of your love. Just because you disagree doesn’t mean you don’t love each other. Just because you may be disappointed in your partner doesn’t mean you don’t love each other. Remind each other of the context and you will feel safer, more relaxed, and be less likely to react as if you are under threat. You’re not.
The only threat to your romantic relationship occurs when you forget the context. It’s love, stupid!
I needed very much to hear this and when I read the article about How To Love, it was like duh,…..this is how to love stupid! lol I have always been prone to self preservation and would close off my heart to protect it. It is so hard to stop this because when my heart is broken, it hurts so, so bad and seems to lasts for months because when I love, I really love, I give it my all. I don’t hold nothing back whatsoever. When I was a child and dating my mother once told me that I needed to always hold something back, sorta like a safety net so I wouldn’t get hurt so bad or love being something like a game. You don’t won’t to lose so you keep an Ace in the hole so to speak.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jerry.
I understand that tendency to protect ourselves. It’s what we do when we feel threatened. But the point I wanted to make in this article is that many of the times when we have been hurt, it may be because we stopped loving and started protecting ourselves.
That idea your mother told you, “hold something back . . . so you don’t lose the game,” well it’s part of the problem because it frames love as winning or losing. As soon as we think we might lose, we start holding back and protecting ourselves. But, if we do away with that notion of winning and losing we can take love to whole new level.