Such a simple question. But, not so easy to answer
That’s because we each hold a different sense of what love and being loved means. We take for granted that love is a universal expression that is the same for everyone. But, in fact, it isn’t! Love is as different for everyone as our personalities are individually different!
How and when do YOU perceive that you are loved? What has to happen before you believe that someone loves you? How do you express love to others? Have you ever really thought about this?
Disparity in the way we give and receive love is the #1 reason why relationships fail! In fact, you may be deeply loved by those in your life. But, if it isn’t in a way that you need to be loved, then you won’t feel it or believe you are loved at all. You won’t feel loved or cherished
For example, you might believe love is all about romance, devoted attention, and gallantry. So, you will look for these signs from your partner. But, if your partner has a more practical view of love, he might choose to provide material security as a way of showing that he loves you. He won’t give you love the way you need it, and won’t be comfortable or receptive with the ways you express your love for him
Your parents undoubtedly loved you. But, if it wasn’t in the way YOU needed to be loved, then you will grow up feeling abandoned and unloved
Childhood observations are highly formative in your perceptions of relationships. What you witnessed and what you felt leaves indelible imprints on your limbic brain
Physical and verbal expressions of love observed very early in life will lead you to believe love is expressed in overt ways. Gifts, hugs, caresses, and expressions such as “I love you” will then become the ways you identify love
If your parents gave love in the same way to you and all of your siblings, then some of you are bound to feel unloved. You each needed love in a different way
That is why childhood experiences and memories can be so shockingly different within families. We remember best when an experience makes us FEEL something, and we then carry that memory with us
So, if you didn’t feel loved as child, you will also struggle with receiving love as an adult. Your fantasies about being loved may never meet reality
And, how can you ensure those you love feel loved and cherished by you?
Start with self reflection. How do you express love to others? This is likely the way you need to receive love, because it is what makes you feel secure. That’s why you assume others need this, too.
What do YOU need to experience in order to feel loved? There are 4 core elements in your love’s expression that are intrinsic to your ethics, principles, and values. What are they?
Make a list of the 4 main qualities/characteristics/expressions you need to experience in order to feel loved, cherished, valued, and secure. Think of these elements as 4 chair legs underneath you. They hold you solidly and comfortably in balance and feeling secure. These are traits and love expressions you want to see within your partner
Here are a few ideas :
- physical affection and verbal expressions of love
- intimacy (willing to communicate deeply and honestly. Feels safe when vulnerable)
- integrity (honesty, monogamy, moral and ethical strength, willing to apologize when you are wrong, doing the right thing)
- material security
- deep friendship, closeness and comfort
- freedom to be yourself
- being accepted just as you are
- respect, admiration
- freedom to have your own interests, hobbies, friends, activities, goals, etc
- kind gestures and doing nice things
- gallantry, being your hero, making you feel safe
- sense of belonging
Once you have your list, ask your partner to define 4 elements he or she feels are most important in order to feel loved and secure. Then share your lists with each other
People who have similar values and principles tend to have more deeply loving and respectful relationships because their ideals and needs are not in conflict. The relationship has more balance because of this a strong footing
If your core needs are different, are you willing to give love in a way that your partner can feel it? Is your partner willing to give you what you need?
This exercise can be used as a helpful tool in any important relationship, as well as when you are just entering a new relationship commitment. It can lead to a much deeper and more trusting relationship and intimacy, with greater stability and security. Sharing your '4 chair legs' also keeps the door open for honest communication
Why not try this love exercise on Valentine’s Day with your partner? Or, try it with your children, or with a parent
Looking to attract a relationship? Try Love Magnet or Goddess
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