What's Love Got to Do With It?

Let's talk about what love really is... and isn't

What do you mean when you say you love someone? What do you really mean?

If you’re a parent, how often have you said to your children, “I worry about you because I love you”?

How often have you heard the same from your parents and how did it make you feel when you let them down?

Guilty. Obviously.

Because no matter how hard we try, we’re bound to upset them somehow — by coming home late and forgetting to call, by getting a bad grade, by not getting an offer for that stellar job and so on.

Consider why you’ve felt guilty in those moments. Do you feel like you’ve let them down? But why?You’re the one who had to deal with the let down. You’re the one who didn’t get the job, the grade, etc. If the tables were turned, do you consider why you feel the same way about others?

If you think it’s because they love you or you love that person, then you’re wrong. Why? Let’s dive in.

First, let’s clarify the difference between loving and projecting.

Loving is…

  • Supporting your loved one’s ideas and efforts (and actually believing in them)

  • Encouraging and praising (even the tiniest achievements)

  • Avoiding guilt-tripping at all costs

  • Expressing your honest thoughts and opinions in a respectful and calm manner (realizing that your opinions may and often will differ)

  • Drawing clear boundaries between your “space” and theirs

Projecting is…

  • Emotional blackmail (“I love you so much, I need you to be ______ !” — fill in the blank)

  • Guilt-tripping (“I love you so much, and you didn’t _______ !” — fill in the blank)

  • Hiding your own fears behind a “caring attitude”

  • Losing your marbles when they do something you haven’t had the guts to do yourself

  • Losing more marbles when you disagree (you feel like you’re losing control, which you never had in the first place)

  • “Blending” to the point where you don’t know what’s yours

Love is a manifestation of courage, whereas projection is a manifestation of fear.

Always remember that whatever you feel, becomes the type of energy you project into the world. People feel that energy, although they may not always be able to identify it. One thing is clear — you are drawn to people who project courage and happiness. So, logically, it’s better to love than to project, right?

In most cases projection occurs when you don’t love yourself enough (or at all), so you need other people to fill that gap. You become an energy leech. You seek the positive energy and reinforcement from others, rather than putting your own positive energy into the world.

There are some handy techniques to master love over projection, but for starters, you can go back to the lists in the beginning of this post and analyze your own traits based on each point.

If you do more things listed in the Love list, you’re in good shape, although, some minor tweaking will always be in order — such is the nature of life.

If you find you’re recognizing yourself more in the Projection list, start by slowly peeling yourself from these destructive patterns and moving up to the first list. Be kind to yourself, be patient. Realize that this transition may take a while. You’ve built up these projections for as long as you’ve been alive and you weren’t born yesterday, so give yourself time to change and develop.

Here are a few tips on how to get started:

  • Identify your projecting thoughts and actions

  • Figure out why you’re thinking and acting this way, i.e., what are you afraid of?

  • Do something to get your mind off these thoughts and actions (go for a walk, meditate, exercise — whatever works for you!)

  • Come up with a list of things to do to make this process familiar and quick, so you can nip these issues in a bud in the future

I have developed several techniques to make this transition easier. I offer them to my private clients and at my seminars in Manhattan. Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to find out more, at victoria@ensoheal.com or book a consultation on this site!

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