Giving unconditionally to our partner can be one of the greatest expressions of our love. When we feel great about ourselves, our lives, our partner and our relationship, it is completely effortless to do all those things that show our love and appreciation for our partner. When we feel good and give from our hearts unconditionally, our partner feels good too.
And if we just stopped there, all would be well, but we don’t. Many of us find ourselves feeling like we should be doing things to please our partner, whether it’s self-imposed or expectations our partner has communicated to us, either way, this is where we get into trouble.
When we don’t really want to give but do anyway, we set the stage for two things to happen.
1. We start to feel uncomfortable. Feelings like anger, bitterness and resentment pop up and we find ourselves starting to keep score or exhibit other behaviours that do not serve our relationship and are no longer loving and wonderful.
2. Our partner realizes our actions are conditional and our ‘good deeds’ start to feel phony and uncomfortable for them too.
So, why do we do this?
We believe that if we do things that are pleasing to our partner, they will love and accept us. We do things we feel we should do because we are either scared that if we don’t, our partner will no longer love us or we feel that if we just please them the ‘right way’ we will feel good about ourselves and we will feel loved.
And if we reverse the roles and expect our partner to do things to please us, then we judge them for their ability to please (or not) and we use this as our measurement for how much they love us. It is really just another by-product of us looking outside ourselves to feel loved and accepted.
Giving or pleasing in order to feel loved and accepted backfires because when we give with expectation, it leads us to feel more empty and more unloved than ever before.
So what do we do?
We start to become aware of our motivation behind giving. We learn that our actions are not meant to be used as currency to buy the love we want. We understand that taking care of ourselves and feeling as good as we can is the key to feeling the greatest love and acceptance ever.
I encourage you to become aware of your desire to please or be pleased this week and see what you discover.