The truth about control and love

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I tried to control him
Boy did I try
It did not work out (clearly)
But not for lack of trying.

If you’ve ever been in the hair products section of a Wal-Mart or Target, you’ll get an idea of how much women love control. We want it, we need it, we thrive on it.

Most of my life has been me trying to control what happens around me…and failing miserably. Unfortunately we cannot apply the same strategy we use for frizz to life, especially not to relationships.

Were my intentions bad? Not really, the need to control is typically motivated by fear – I was scared.

The thing is, there is no room for fear in love; meaning, there is no room for control in love.

Why?

Love is free – a gift given to be received, not possessed.

Love is free.

We can only choose love in freedom and give it freely, not expecting anything in return.

I tried to manipulate and finagle him so that he would do what I wanted – what I felt was the loving thing to do…for me.

‘If he does x, then he loves me – if does y, he doesn’t.’

In other words: ‘if he does x, I can trust him, I am happy with him, relieved, at ease. If he does y I’m angry, upset, hurt.’

I put very strict restrictions around his love and my love for him. I couldn’t let go, I had to control.

There is no room for control in love.

We must allow our beloved to be who they are, do what they want, love us how they love.

They can disagree, they are allowed to disappoint, and so are we.

Our loved one is not an extension of us. They are a person, entire on their own, with a past, dreams, hopes and fears of their own. Embrace their otherness. We should strive to learn, understand and empathize as much as we can with them – but not change, modify, or even “improve” them.

Love demands that we give the other person freedom to choose us in return, not out of obligation or fear, but love.

This doesn’t mean a free pass for them to do something immoral, unhealthy or intentionally hurtful. It does not mean they can walk all over us, always get their way or act in a way that negatively affects the relationship.

What it does mean is that we should trust. We should let go, we can allow them to be and love them for that.

Control is unnecessary, and imaginary anyway. You don’t actually have the control you might think you have.

Don’t do what I did and set conditions around their love and yours. They can do that thing that bothers/frustrates/disappoints/scares you and love you.

A secure attachment is just that, secure. It’s not secure if or when this does or doesn’t happen. It just is secure.

Love trusts, love believes, love hopes.

Their love is not limited to your subjective interpretation of what their actions mean.

If something they do legitimately upsets you, think about the reason behind your hurt feelings. Why are you hurt by it? Explore the feeling with open curiosity. Don’t feel guilty for feeling what you feel, but don’t be afraid to question it either.

Often our hurt has much more to do with something inside of us than the act that caused it.

Granted, sometimes we will hurt and it will be justified. It is important to note these times and discuss them.

However, sometimes we get upset because we’re scared; and sometimes our fear bosses us around too much.

He wants to go out with the guys? Yes, great, go for it. He wants to join a sports team? Go team. He wants to buy a boat? Fun! He dreams of traveling the world? Me too!

Sometimes even the seemingly most inconsequential things like those I listed above can terrify us. What if he meets some cute girl while he’s out? Why doesn’t he want to spend that time with me? Will we be able to travel together? Is he going to sail away forever?

Goodness I remember these fears. They tortured me as I tried to love a good man but felt the insecurities building a wall between us. I wish, I wish I had done a better job of handling these demons. Instead of dismissing them I tried to control everything else – namely him. If he did exactly what I wanted/needed, I would know the fears were untrue. What actually would happen is that then another fear, suspicion, uncertainty would creep up – my thirst for security, certainty and reasons to trust could not be quenched.

Now I know that confidence truly is key, not control. Confidence is simply relaxing. Feeling the fears without acting on them. Choosing to trust over and over and over.

Don’t let fear have the last word. I did and ended up hurting myself more out of fear of getting hurt than anything else – not to mention the man I loved.

It’s so hard. It really was one of the most difficult things, to ignore what the voices in my head were screaming at me, what my emotions were overwhelming me with. You think that because a thought is in your head or because you feel a certain way that the thought you’re thinking or the emotion you’re feeling is objective truth, but that is not the case. I failed too often to love and chose to obey fear instead.

I tried to control
Boy did I try.
But I won’t try now, not anymore.
Love doesn’t control, it just loves.

Keep your affections in boxes, keep your heart free, that’s what they told you those sly foxes but that don’t faze me.
AB

 

xo

Miranda

 

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