We’re all familiar with the phrase, “love hurts”. Too often, we take a witty cliché and assign truth to it. We then refer to it in times when it brings comfort, helps us to make a decision, or emphasizes a point. In reference to “love hurts”, those who have been betrayed by someone they loved and trusted may be deeply wounded by their actions and vow never to love again. One who has buried a loved one, either human or pet, feels the excruciating pain of the loss and refuses to ever allow themselves to feel so deeply for another living creature. And while many singer/songwriters have declared the heartache associated with love, the truth is that it is not love that causes pain. That, in fact, contradicts the very nature of love. In 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, the Bible tells us that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” If, in fact, love doesn’t hurt then where does all the pain come from in relationships?
Hurt, one of the three root causes of anger, is the result of such behaviors as:
• Disrespect – when one feels devalued due to the words or actions of the other party.
• Anger – raging against the other party rather than calmly discussing what’s bothering you.
• Expressing little if any regard for their partner’s feelings or well-being.
• Being left out or ignored – a covert message that you are not important.
• Pain results when one fails to keep their word, when a promise or trust is broken – the very foundation upon which a loving relationship is built in order to survive and thrive. Clearly the offending party does not consider their partner nor the relationship important enough to remain trustworthy.
• One who betrays their beloved by finding another love interest sends a clear message that there is another who is superior to them, one that they hold in higher regard and care more deeply for.
• A partner asking or insisting that the other one change relays a very powerful message that “You are not ok the way you are.”
• To place unrealistic expectations or demands on one’s companion creates added stress that clearly shows a lack of regard for the other person’s health or happiness.
• Hurt in relationships occurs when one party takes personal offense to the actions of the other or judges or labels their partner.
• Clearly, actual love is not the source of our suffering. It is in our selfish attitudes, insecurities, and mean-spirited behaviors that hurt originates.
If not recognized and healed, hurt can easily escalate to anger, an emotion that restores our sense of power and fights to re-establish our authority and control in the relationship.
Love is a choice, a decision to always see the goodness in the other person, to see God’s presence within them. It is a verb, an action word, to always honor and value (respect) them, to treat them as though they are the most priceless gift in your life even and especially when we are upset with them.
Love is thoughtful, kind, compassionate, considerate, accepting and appreciative. It sacrifices for the good of the other, and puts their love’s best interest above their own. Love supports that which is important to the other, refrains from criticism (even the so-called constructive version), and wishes for nothing but abundant blessings to flow into their lives. It is never jealous but rather encourages as much love to enter that person’s life as possible from other sources as well.
Keep in mind that what you say to yourself about your partner determines how you feel about them. It is your thoughts that dictate your feelings.*And your feelings determine how well or poorly you treat them. Therefore, if you want to feel more love, think loving thoughts. It’s that simple.
Valentine’s Day, although promoted as a day for romantic lovers, is also the perfect time to remind anyone and everyone in your life that you love just how deeply you hold them in your heart. Re evaluate your love relationships. If there is pain, rest assured that it is not a characteristic of love. Look closely at the above mentioned causes and take the necessary steps to correct any hurtful, selfish behaviors. Replace them with kindness, compassion, acceptance, appreciation and the like and you will witness a joyful transformation of your relationship that reflects the love you contribute.
“I love you for who you are. I appreciate you for what you do.”
*Refer to TECO Magic in The Secret Side of Anger
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