You have to have a pretty strong, tough, courageous heart to love another person deeply. To commit your being to another. Oh and then to have it smashed and broken by them and to be brave enough to fall in love again.
Humans, they’re tricky. We all are. What is this fickle falling in and out of love thing we do?
I think it would be amazing if we all came with operating instructions. A dashboard or a manual for our hearts. Something that could show our significant other that deep down, we all need the essentials – to feel love, appreciated and accepted.
Read Simple Reminders
So what happens when we don’t feel loved? When we don’t feel like we are getting the love we need? The respect we want?
We feel threatened and we feel vulnerable. We fear being abandoned, rejected, thrown away. Discarded.
The more vulnerable we feel, the more we want to run. Sometimes in the heat of an argument, we lash out.
We say such harmful words when we are angry. Words we don’t really mean.
Because words are powerful and we think they will protect our hearts, they will shield us from heartache and protect our need to feel loved and accepted.
Why we think it works.
Because it does. Temporarily. Until it doesn’t.
Think about it. What’s more powerful than telling someone that you are done with them, you are leaving? It’s over. I’m out of here.
Look at how powerful you look when you say or do that threaten to leave thing you do out of fear. You were the one to say it first. You won. You protected your heart.
Now they can’t hurt you. Momentary relief and then comes regret. You didn’t really mean that.
What you really wanted to say . . .
You mean so much to me. I am scared you will leave me. I am afraid you won’t love me. I don’t want you to manipulate me. I need you to accept me. Why won’t you work this out with me? Don’t you really love me?
So why do we rage at the ones we love? Threaten to leave. Break up?
Because we are terrified.
Where did you learn such behavior?
These poor coping skills were learned from watching others. From past relationships.
This lack of self-awareness and emotional maturity creates disasters. Disasters that keep failing forward into relationships all over the world.
A Better Way to Protect Your Heart
It begins with understanding yourself better. Knowing what you are afraid of and facing that fear head on. The second step. Showing the world that vulnerability.
Perhaps you have had your heart broken. Maybe you were hurt badly by someone in the past. Anyone – your mom, your dad, your uncle, sister, brother, friend. . . .
Perhaps you were abandoned.
You made a sworn promise to yourself – that will never happen again. I will be loved, accepted and cherished for who I am. I will never be left alone again.
When you are threatened you have a choice. You can try to scream your feelings from the roof tops and curse your way into a frightening rage to be heard or you can softly surrender and open your vulnerable heart to another.
Read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Flip side: What you need to know if you are really being manipulated.
Tomoki Hayasaka is a self-taught artist and designer from Sendai Japan. He makes surreal-conceptual art and design.