Every February, in honor of Valentine's Day, I write an article about bringing more love into our lives. The particular topic that captured my attention this year was how to respond when people, in the name of love, unleash negative emotions on the object of their attention.
The incident that sparked my interest had to do with worry. Like many children, I learned to believe that worry was a sign of love. I felt good that people cared enough to make themselves miserable about my well-being. I often returned the favor.
Over the past several years I've noticed that I no longer feel that way. Instead I felt that in the name of love someone was expressing anxiety and bombarding me with their fears.
I realized that the worry of others made me feel guilty that I'd somehow caused them suffering. When I tried to figure out what I did to make this person upset, I often discovered I didn't say or do anything to make them worry. Then I sometimes got annoyed.
Worriers sometimes get the response, "I'm fine!", sometimes even if the others aren't, because they don't want to worry about the thing the other person is worrying about. Children get irritated when their parents demand to know their whereabouts at every given moment and expect military-style promptness of them -- because otherwise they'll worry.
Another reason both children and adults get irritated is that they see another's worry as an expression of possession that limits their own freedom. One major aspect of this possession pattern is, "I don't want anything to happen to you because you're mine."
Possessiveness, whether or not it's accompanied by anxiety, also transmits the message, "I know what's best for you. You don't." Although many humans have suppressed their innate and intuitive certainty that they are the ones most likely to know what's best for them, that knowledge exists in all of us.
Ultimately, many recipients of worry and/or possessiveness hear the worriers and possessors saying, "You have to behave a certain way in order for me to feel happy, and if you don't, it's your fault I'm miserable."
There are several articles on the web site with possible guidance for those who would like some freedom in the areas of feeling worry, possessiveness, or generally wanting to control the behavior of others. (I'll list links at the end of the article.)
This article explores how we can respond when we find ourselves the targets for the worry, possessiveness, and controlling behavior of others.
Our tendency is to try. Their worry or possessiveness makes us unhappy, so it seems reasonable that if they'd justs stop doing it we'd be happy again.
Trying to change them, though, doesn't work. Have you ever been a situation where a mosquito starts buzzing around you? You bat at it in the hopes of discouraging it or getting it to buzz somewhere else, but it always comes back. A mosquito's overriding need is to satisfy their hunger, and people are convenient food sources.
You can, of course, speak to a human in a way you can't to a mosquito. You can tell them how it bothers you that they worry about you or try to tell you what to do; you can point out that this tendency of theirs is getting in the way of your relationship. They may listen thoughtfully and say they understand. They may even promise they'll never do it again.
Then they will, because humans may have more complex behavior patterns than mosquitos, but their needs can be just as overriding. The person who worries about you is absolutely convinced that their worry keeps you safe. Ultimately, though their worry is bigger than both of you. It's a behavior pattern that runs on automatic pilot.
The biggest reason your trying to change them doesn't work is that you end up doing what they're doing. They want you to act a certain way so they can be comfortable. When you ask them to change, you're doing the same thing. It's the most no-winning of no-win situations.
Let's go back to that persistent mosquito. Even if you kill the first one who buzzes around you, looking for an opportunity to draw blood, another one will show up.
There are some basic reasons for this. If you sitting outside on a hot summer evening, especially, if it's recently rained, mosquitos are likely to be around. However, I have noticed that mosquitos are much more attracted to certain people (like me) than they are to others.
The reason people who buzz around you is also based on attraction. Each of us give off particular vibrations that draw people who are a vibrational match to us. When we like the relationships that develop with people, we never complain about this basic universal law. When we don't like what's happening we look for loopholes -- but there aren't any.
I said I didn't want anyone to worry about me, but when it kept on happening, I had to reconsider my absolutely firm position on this subject. I found that there was a lingering belief that it did mean caring and that I was making a big mistake by rejecting it because what if a better form of love never came along?
I didn't have a long or hard search to discover that about myself, because I knew the answer was there inside myself. If you accept -- without blaming yourself -- that you've played an equal role in the dynamics between yourself and another, you will begin to experience a feeling of lightness about the relationship, and your understanding will deepen.
As I was writing this article, I was also searching for quotes on a different subject. I came across this quote made by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh:
"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.
Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change."
One way to provide fertilizer, water, or sun for your relationship is to think of everything you like about the other person. Focus on these positive aspects when you're thinking about them or are with them. If you want to, tell them what you like about them.
As you shift your vibrations from resisting what you see as their negative traits to allowing within your awareness their positive characteristics, they will change and grow. As you nurture their self-appreciation, they may forget to worry for hours or days at a time. As they begin to discover the wonder of themselves, they may pay less attention to the doings of other people.
And you will find that every time you shift to a state of allowing, you will discover that you've given not only other people but yourself room to grow and be nurtured by love. You will discover, as Deepak Chopra says, that love is a force as real as gravity and that being upheld in love every day, every hour, every minute is not a fantasy -- it is intended as our natural state."
I don't usually include hematite as a stone related to love, but in writing this article I realized how helpful it can be to have it as a psychic shield to deflect the emotions of others. Meditate with this stone, carry it or wear it when you're with a person who tends to push your buttons.
Rhodonite is a perfect companion to hematite, grounding the energy of love in patience.
The calcites all help us access new levels of understanding and alternate perspectives. Pink calcite is particularly valuable in the area of love.
Kunzite, the stone for loving choices, helps us to shift our energies to a plane of understanding and love.
Dr. Edward Bach said of Holly that it dissolved everything that wasn't universal love. This Bach Flower Remedy belongs in every essence collection. Another excellent essence for love and gentleness in relationships is Deer (Wild Earth Animal Essences).
Impatiens (Bach) is the essence counterpart to rhodonite; while Pink Yarrow (FES) is similar to hematite in its protective capacities.
Red Chestnut (Bach) is for those who worry about people they love; while Chicory (Bach) is for possessiveness. Those who have worried or possessive people in their lives can dissolve their own attracting energy by taking these essences.