Have you ever wondered why most of us could never believe another when he or she lovingly tells us “I love you”? It is either we don’t believe that we are that lovable, or in a very deep seated way, we know that he or she is not loving our true self, but a façade we put on to make him or her love us. How true is this for you?
During my younger days, I had my fair share of experiences of men falling in love with me, or so they think. I was very good at portraying myself to be their dream girl – anything they wanted – from someone who was a goody two shoes, someone who drinks, parties and smokes, to one who has a ‘genuine’ interest in golf. In those relationships I had willingly got myself involved with, I’d find myself unhappy, unsatisfied, and I remember insatiably asking them this question, time and time again, “Why won’t you just love me?” when from moment to moment, they were telling me that they love me.
Now I know. I was asking them, if they could love me for who I truly was beneath that mask I had put on to make them love me. But again, how could they know and love who I truly was when I myself could not be courageous enough to show them who I truly was inside? When I put on a façade, I am telling the world that who I truly am inside is not that lovable, so because I want your love and your approval, I will be who you want me to me, as long as you love me. That was really weak, now that I’d come to think about it.
And then I’d get really tired after a while. It is like having to put on heavy make-up every day for the rest of my life; and I needed a day or two to let my skin breathe. I needed to breathe, too.
Eckhart Tolle wrote in A New Earth, that when two people first meet, they are at the best behavior, to show to the other how he or she is the best fit to another. Byron Katie in her book, I Need Your Love – Is that True? says, that people do that because they are focusing on someone out there to give love or approval to oneself. In most cases, both parties are doing it unconsciously. A girl may portray that she likes football to get his attention, and a boy may claim he loves homey Saturday evenings when he rather enjoys a round of beers with his buddies at the bar. Until the relationship stabilizes to the point where both believe that they’ve been approved of, they begin to relax and ease up for a while: less effort is then needed to please and charm. Soon, they’d find themselves in a dilemma – Do I compromise myself further to keep this relationship? Or do I give up this relationship so that I could begin to do the things I want? It is no wonder that most couples, after some time in a relationship, find it somewhat exhausting to keep up with the relationship.
Just to share a personal experience, when my partner went back to the ‘partying’ phase in the midst of our marriage crisis, I actually found it quite scary for I never knew that part of him before. When I began to question my discomfort of the whole situation without pointing my finger at him, I realized that my perception of my partner was painted during the first year that I had met him, and at that point in time, we were probably putting our best foot forward to please, seek love and approval from each other. It was with much courage when we both admitted to each other what we truly liked and didn’t like in our own true space. Although I wouldn’t classify that moment of confession one of the best times of my life, but I’d say that it was the most favorable moments for both my partner and I as we conscientiously gave each other permission and blessings to be our own authentic self again. We’d figured that since we were in this for the long haul, we might as well put down the mask and be true to ourselves! This was very much accompanied by a renewed sense relationship with him. It felt as if I was getting to know my partner all over again, even up till today. And there is much freedom, peace and love within myself too. I didn’t need him to make me happy, because I made me happy. He just so happens to be an add-on. We are both, in most ways now (since we are still very much work-in-progress), free of each other; coming together without having to try too hard, but simply allowing our self love to draw each other closer, in sync.
As Byron Katie shares,
How can you know that a particular relationship is good or not? When you are out of sync with goodness, you know it: You aren’t happy. And if a relationship is anything less than good, you need to question your thoughts. It’s your responsibility to find your own way back to a relationship with yourself that makes sense.
When you have that sweet relationship with yourself, your partner is an added pleasure. It’s over-the-top grace.
Romantic love is the story of how you need another person to complete you. It’s an absolutely insane story. My experience is that I need no one to complete me. As soon as I realize that, everyone completes me.
I couldn’t agree more.