I think my spouse loves me, but I’m not sure what we have is really love. It feels more like we need each other to make us feel good. Because of this we fight a lot and always feel disappointed by the other. I’m also confused about the way you talk about trusting the journey in your articles. I get that this is so we will stop getting bent out of shape when things don’t go our way. You write about trusting the universe that things are the way they are, for a reason. But I feel if I just trust the journey to give me what’s best for me, I will become too content and I won’t try to get what I want or need. That doesn’t feel right to me. Are you saying it’s healthy to trust the universe and just be happy with whatever I get? I also think I need help on the love side, because we are always unhappy with each other. Any advice would be great.
You are confused on love and trust because you can see the far enemies, but you are missing the near enemies. Let me explain. Almost every emotion has a far-enemy that is it’s diametric opposite and a near-enemy that is a close counterfeit. The far-enemies are easy to spot, because they are so negative, but the near-enemies masquerade as good emotions, so they are tricky to see.
Here are some examples:
Compassion: Real compassion is empathy for a brother or sister (a soul like you) and their pain. It involves feeling their pain and truly wanting to lift it from them, because you care about their welfare. When I traveled to India I saw thousands of people who are suffering in great poverty for instance, and I felt great compassion for them.
The far-enemy of compassion is cruelty or not caring, even wishing harm on another person. This mean-spirited, unkind behavior is obviously negative and wrong. This would be going to India and seeing the poverty and not really caring or even mocking or rejecting the people.
The near-enemy of compassion though is pity. Pity looks and feels a lot like compassion except for one thing. It is seeing the other person as below you or less than you. You look down at them and their struggles from a subtle place of superiority. You might feel sorry for this person, more than you feel their pain with them. When it comes to compassion, you must check yourself to make sure you are seeing the other person as having the same value as you, regardless of what they are going through. In a Third World country you must check that you aren’t seeing the poor people as beneath you in any way (which is easy to do when people are dirty, poorly dressed or less educated). You have to watch for pity.
Love: This is caring about the welfare of another person more than your own. It is wanting them to have joy, security and peace regardless of what you get in return. Real love can only happen when you need nothing. If you come from an insecure, needy place where you don’t feel safe, valued or whole yourself, you aren’t capable of showing up with real love. Everything you give will have subconscious strings attached, because you need caring, validation or reassurance back from the other person.
The far-enemy of love is cruelty or hatred. This is obviously negative and is easy to spot.
The near-enemy of love is attachment or co-dependency. Here your actions towards a spouse look and even feel like love. The difference is that you are clingy, needy or dependent on getting what you need back from the other person. Overly attached spouses may be controlling, stifling or needy of time, attention or validation from their partner. You might need a great deal of attention or demonstrations of love from your spouse in order to feel safe and secure. You are giving so that you will then receive what you want. You must check your love on occasion to make sure it’s unconditional and has no strings attached. Make sure any loving service is given as a gift, expecting nothing in return. When you show up this way, your spouse will feel the authentic love and usually reciprocate.
Trust: Real trust is choosing to have confidence in the surety of something. When I talk about trusting God, the universe or the journey through life, I’m talking about trusting there is order, purpose and meaning in everything that happens. You can choose to trust God that things happen for a reason and everything that happens is here to serve you and your education. Real trust means you can set a goal and strive to reach it, working with passion and love towards what you want, but without devastating attachment to the outcome, because you trust the universe or God to always deliver what is best for you in the end. This creates equanimity (feeling the same peaceful feeling when things go wrong that you do when they go right). This can happen if you choose to trust God that he knows what he’s doing and choose to feel safe all the time.
The far-enemy of trust is fear. This is a feeling of being unsafe, insecure or at risk. From here you work like crazy to get the outcome or goal you’ve set, but you are without trust in something bigger than yourself, so you think everything depends on you and your efforts. You have no confidence in the universe or God to back you up. This is a stressful worrisome place to live from. It often includes dramatic, emotional reactions when things don’t go your way. It can include feelings of loss, mistreatment, jealousy or that life is unfair. Here you are overly attached to what you think the outcome should be, and the attachment sets you up for suffering and disappointment.
The near-enemy of trust is apathy or disconnection. These may look and feel like trust, because they are without stress or what feels like fear, but they are really still fear in disguise. Apathy is a choice to remain unattached or indifferent to outcomes, because it feels safer than caring. If you don’t care about the outcome, you can’t be hurt or disappointed. Here you aren’t upset if things go wrong, but it’s not because you trust a higher power is in charge, and this outcome must have purpose in your life. It’s just because you’ve become detached.
You don’t want to live motivated by fear and stress, but you also don’t want to get so detached that you don’t care either. Too content would mean not setting goals and working toward what you desire at all.
We recommend working hard and being very motivated to get or create what you desire, but doing it from a place of trust and love. This requires you to choose a perspective of trust with the universe that it is always conspiring to serve you and your growth. Trust it to work with your desires and choices to create your perfect classroom every day. Then, work like crazy to create what you want, from a place of passion and love for yourself, others, God or life. Be love motivated instead of fear motivated. You might want to download our free e–book on trust to help you get out of fear.
The more you trust God that you are good enough, because your value isn’t on the line and trust you are always safe in his hands, you will become more and more capable of real love. This happens because as your feelings of security, peace and confidence increase, your ability to give to others increases. Only a very secure person is capable of giving real love.
We strongly recommend that couples who aren’t happy in their marriages seek out individual coaching for each of them right away. If you would both work independently on your self-esteem and fear issues, you will find you can start giving real love and experiencing the richness of a healthy relationship.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.