How many times have we heard someone say “If you loved me you would…”? This idea is pervasive in our culture. Today we will take a look at what is behind the scenes when we hear these words.
Could it be false self?
I always cringe when I hear someone say these words. How about you? I don’t cringe only when someone says them to me. I cringe when I hear them on TV, in a movie, or read them in a book.
Why do I cringe? I am glad that you asked that. What makes these words so unbearable for me is that all I hear is a false self attempting to control someone else. On July 17 we touched on this idea in our post that talked about breaking illusions. We also chipped around the edges of this idea in our series of posts about painful family relationships. Today we will concentrate solely on this one idea.
Over the last few months we have discussed the idea that false self wants life to be simple. False self also wants to be accepted. However, false self is so insecure that it wants that acceptance to be guaranteed. It wants to see signs that will prove that it is being accepted.
Forcing the acceptance
As we have also discussed many times, false self is a bundle of fears and attachments. Let’s take a look at the fears having to do with being loved and accepted.
For today’s example we will talk about the fears and attachments of a false self in a marriage. This example is not meant to reinforce any stereotypes. If you feel this example is about stereotypes please just switch the characters and genders around until it works for you.
Also, this example could be seen as a chacterization. The intent is to understand the process therefore we are looking at a simplistic example. Please understand the process and then discover for yourself how it applies in situations that are around you.
We start our example with a man who wants to have his dinner on the table shortly after he gets home from work. He was raised in a home where the women always prepared the meals and the men never did anything in the kitchen. For him, the last thing a man would think of doing is preparing a meal.
Now the wife of our culinarily challenged man has been working at her own job outside the home. She has an opportunity to work overtime. Of course that would keep her from being able to prepare her husband’s dinner. It is no surprise that he says “If you loved me you would not work overtime and make sure I ate a hot meal.”
Let’s apply this idea
Remember, this example is deliberately very obvious. We all saw this coming. But do we see the attachments? Do we see the false self at work? Can we take this example and apply it to situations in our life?
In our example the husband is clearly a self centered lout. He is clearly attached to his experience and does not want to break those attachments. He wants to make his wife change so that he does not have to change.
Do we see that any time someone utters the words “If you loved me” that we are dealing with false self attempting to dominate? Any time we hear those words someone is attempting to manipulate at least one other person into behavior that proves a false self concept of love.
You know what? You can’t prove that you love someone. If the other person does not want to believe that you love them, nothing you do will ever convince them. If they put up one condition, like making dinner in our example, then they will come up with another condition when the first one is met.
Think about children to see how this idea works. “If you loved me you would buy me a candy bar.” You buy the candy bar and then you hear “If you loved me you would buy me a toy.” You buy the toy and you hear “If you loved me you would let me stay up late and watch TV.”
It never ends once you start to attempt to prove that you love them. Eventually you have to discuss the meaning of love with the child or they will keep looking for proof of being loved.
Adults are no different
Do you really think that as we grow older we stop acting in this manner? We learned this behavior as children and never really grow out of it. As we mature we tend to mute the extreme nature of this behavior, but for most of us it is still there.
We see it all around us from others. We must be vigilant of our own thoughts and behaviors. We must take responsibility when we see ourselves looking for proof of love and acceptance. We must realize that there is no proof of love and stop looking for it. More importantly, we must stop making others do things to prove that they love us. We don’t like it when people do it to us, we must stop doing it to others.
The only appropriate words
When we hear “If you loved me you would…” there are a few words that are appropriate to finish that idea. Those are “you would love and accept me for who I am at this moment.”
That is all. When we truly love and accept someone for who they are, we accept them for who they are at each moment. That is all we can do to show them that we love them.
Many times their false self will not recognize or understand that acceptance. We cannot do anything about that. Their false self will ask for proof because it does not see that it is being accepted. We can offer no proof other than continuing to accept the other person for who they are.
This post touched on ideas that were discussed in many other postings on this site. For further reading please refer to our posts about acceptance. Also please look at our series of posts about dealing with our family.
That is all for today.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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