Monday, February 3, 2014

Assume You Are Loved

I'm going to make a couple sweeping generalizations: 1) people get married because they love their significant other and 2) children love their parents. There are many examples to the contrary, but in most cases, I think those two statements are true. It seems safe to say, then, that within a family, there is love.

But lots of people either forget or cannot believe they are loved. When love is in doubt, we feel insecure. We perceive intentional slights and attacks where they do not exist.

"You always have time to go out with your friends, but never time to spend an evening with me."
"You're always waiting for me to make a mistake so you can gloat."
"My kids know exactly how to push my buttons. They're just trying to make me miserable."
"You won't back me up in front of your parents."
"They do that because they know it drives me crazy."

To protect ourselves, we might launch a preemptive strike, throwing accusations and sarcastic barbs. It is all downhill from there. Words are said in anger. Emotional wounds fester. Eventually it seems like everyone is at each other's throats all the time. Hopefully apologies can be made and healing begun, but that may be a long, hard process. Is there a way to avoid this altogether?

Assume you are loved. Assume your husband or wife loves you. Assume your kids love you. Then when a situation arises in which is certainly seems like you are being attacked, you can hush the voice that whispers, "He did it on purpose." Of course not. He loves you. She loves you. Love does not seek to injure. When you are confident that you are loved, you can more easily dismiss the initial hurt and seek to better understand the situation.

Your spouse loves you. What seemed like a critique was truly an innocent question.

Your kids love you. What seems like intentional goading is the only way they know to express the frustration/confusion/anger/sadness from some other situation.

They love you. Do your best to respond lovingly. It will make a world of difference.

Anne's first "selfie"

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