Confession: I’m one of those people who loves and cares for others way too much.
I could never just let go of someone. I’ve always stayed until it hurts me, and then stayed even longer. I even feel sorry for ***holes because I believe everyone has something amazing.
I stay in relationships and just keep giving it everything I got. Is that not enough? Let me give you my kidney, too. Do you want my soul? No problem! I just don’t know how, why, or when to stop.
Unlike many who have this problem – (most of them seem to be females) – I am a male who has emotions that go deeper than the Mariana Trench.
It scares people because they don’t know about it at all. Some people seem to understand me a little bit, only after I try to explain in 1,001 different ways just how my emotions don’t have an on/off button.
How do you live with the people who just don’t get it, or the ones who take advantage of it? And do you feel the same? How do you deal with all this in your life? What obstacles do you come across in life?
-Mr. Lover Teresa
Dear “Mr. Lover Teresa,”
First of all, why are you all in my business, lol… Didn’t I spill enough “tea” in “The Care and Feeding of Sex Symbols” when it comes to my issues? Hahaha. How about we just focus on you and your problem, (which – alright, you pulled my arm – yeeessss, I’ve related to in the past), and get right down to it, shall we.
First of all, I want to say that it’s great that you’re going into a relationship focused on what you can give. Too many people are focused on what they can get, and all that leads to is a bunch of horse trading and taking score.
However, when it comes to love, well, I’ve got some news for you: If you think you’re giving love to someone else and it’s hurting, guess what, it’s not love. It’s something else.
You see, love is not like anything else. It’s a magical, connecting, powerful, good-feeling, healing force that just exists in nature. All anyone can really do with love is feel it and allow it to flow through them, (which feels good as hell), or resist/block it, (which sucks major balls).
Now, when you allow love to flow through you while simultaneously holding another as your object of attention it seems like you’re the one giving them love, but in reality they’re either just choosing to let love in at that moment or not. You can influence someone to make the choice to let love flow through them at any given moment, but ultimately it’s their choice and – clutch your man pearls – has less to do with you than what romantic films like “The Notebook” and “The Titanic” want you to believe.
So, what else might you be giving “until it hurts” if it’s not love? Why, a reason to stay, of course. After all, “Who else is gonna love the poor bastard like you do?!?”
“Giving” in this sort of self-sacrificial way is something born out of fear, not love. Or, more accurately, a deep down fear that you’re not worthy of love and have to bend over backwards to deserve and get it…. You know, low self-esteem type stuff developed in childhood that causes us to put others’ desires and approval ahead of how we feel.
Alright, now, take a second to breathe. I know I hit you with a lot, but, don’t worry, I’m about to show you the light I found at the end of the tunnel.
Getting out of this frustrating “I love you so much it hurts” cycle requires you to do three things:
First, you have to focus on improving your self-esteem so you that you know you’re worthy of the love that’s available to you day-in-and-day-out and don’t have to kill yourself trying to get it from others. I give some tips on how to do that when answering this question, but my book goes deeper into how I did it. And if you’re too lazy to read, I highly recommend checking out this video with Marisa Peer. She’s all about raising self-esteem, and can teach how to do it with the simple phrase, “I am enough.”
Then, once you’ve gotten your self-esteem up, you’re going to make sure that when it comes to love YOU EAT FIRST. Focus on keeping your spiritual “cup” full so that all you “give” to others is what spills over. The overflow. When you’re full of the love that is your birthright you feel good, and any positive affect you may have on another as a result is just a bonus, not your reason for living.
Stressing out over the love you’re “giving” from now on will simply be your sign that you’ve disconnected from your true source of love and have reverted to casting another in the role of your cup-filler. So, step back and take the time to reconnect to your cup-filler’s true source by doing the things you learned that raise your self-esteem until it’s second nature.
Finally, once you’ve started to get a hang of all this, become okay with the fact that sometimes you’ll be in a more loving place than others. The same way a millionaire would be cray cray for begrudging a deep-in-debt partner for not going half-sies on a yacht, don’t expect others to be able to “give” love they don’t have/aren’t allowing in at any given moment.
And since, like a low-rent masseuse in Montreal, I’m known for my happy endings, I’ll end by giving you the good news. Doing all this work does not mean that you have to end up with some unappreciative, depressing a**hole. For just as self-made people eventually disconnect from any and all mooching friends and go on to bond with those they can just sit back and enjoy their newfound prosperity with, people who become “rich in love” also get tired of hanging around those who aren’t on their wavelength and eventually find each other. And once you find your loving tribe you’ll never look back. Best of luck.
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.