In this blog post, I would like to talk about the 7 things that we mistake to be love. We were all taught many different concepts about what love is, but many of these things are not actually love at all. When we think we are loving someone, but we’re not actually loving them, then we aren’t going to feel that love. We aren’t going to experience fulfillment. Yet, the fulfillment we are looking for in life really comes from giving love, and not from receiving love.
The content in this post is meant to help make you aware of when you are mistaking your thoughts, words, actions, and feelings to be love… because this will give you the opportunity to come back to love.
What is love?
Before we start talking about what love is, I would just like to briefly discuss the 3 main qualities of what love is:
- Love is complete acceptance – We don’t see anything about the person to be insufficient or not good enough.
- Love is completely unconditional – Our love can’t be affected or lost based on words and actions
- Love is completely selfless – Love doesn’t need or want anything in return
Here are the 7 things we mistake to be love:
1) Pursuing someone to love us revolves around finding someone to use
Most of us go through life seeking someone to love us. But why are we seeking this? Why do we continuously look for a partner or someone to love us? Really, what we want more than anything else is to feel peaceful, happy, and whole. We just happen to believe (often unknowingly) that if we got someone to really and truly love us, that would make us feel happy and whole.
Basically, we create a vision of the “perfect” future where we are loved and happy, and then we look for someone to fill the open position of the one who will love us. In other words, we are looking for someone who we can use to make us happy. If we are looking for someone who we can use to make us happy, then when we find someone to love us, we are setting ourselves up to be using them to make us happy. If we are using someone to make us happy, then we aren’t really loving them.
2) If you are trying to change or improve your partner, in that moment, you are not loving them
We might try to our partner’s habits, their physical appearance, the way they speak, or just try to make them happier. But why would we try to change them? Sometimes, we recognize that we are trying to change them to make ourselves happier… thinking something like “if he loved me, he would change for me”.
We think that if someone loves us, they should change to make us happier. But that’s not love. What this really means is, “I want you to change so I can be happy”. But what we are missing here is that if we truly love someone for who they are, then we wouldn’t try to change them. If we weren’t using them to make us happy, then we wouldn’t be trying to change them just to make us happy.
Sometimes, we may think that we are trying to change them for their own good. But, that’s a trick. Even if we think that we are trying to make them happier, we are actually just not accepting them for who they are in that moment.
3) Positive thoughts is not love
We often confuse positive thoughts about someone to be love. Having great thoughts about someone feels really nice and enjoyable. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But even if you think your partner is the most wonderful, nice, and beautiful person, that is not love. It is not love for 2 reasons.
- When we have positive thoughts about someone, we meet our thoughts about them and don’t actually meet them. We don’t truly connect with them or experience them, because instead we experience our thoughts about them. (I know this is a little difficult to grasp as a concept – don’t worry if you don’t get it)
- The pleasant feeling positive thoughts give you is dependent on the other person’s words, actions, and appearance matching your definitions of “perfect” or “great”. It is therefore only a matter of time before they do something to have negative thoughts about. We can’t think everything that they do and say is “great”, we will think other things they do and say are “bad” or “not good enough”. If we think their appearance is “great”, that will eventually change. This isn’t love because it is completely conditional and dependent upon how the other person acts, what they say, and how they look. Moments of enjoyment (what we think is love), will be mixed in with moments of disappointment, anger, and all that stuff.
4) Excitement about the future isn’t based on love
Many of us innocently mistake excitement to be love. This tends to happen most often in the beginning of relationships. This excitement is the feeling that most of us consider to be love. It is the feeling of being overwhelmed with joy, or maybe having butterflies. But these feelings are actually created by thoughts such as “I finally found someone who will make me happy”, “We are going to have such a wonderful life together”, “He loves me and I love him”, “I can stop looking for a partner and worrying about whether I will never find one”.
Once again, this is a wonderful feeling. It’s very enjoyable. There’s absolutely nothing wrong or bad about it. But, it just can’t last. It is all created by positive thoughts about the future. Eventually, the positive thoughts of the future will go, and we begin judging what we have. Since it doesn’t last, and is dependent on thoughts, it is not love.
5) If you require your partner to do things for you, in that moment, it’s not love
Most of us have been taught that love means doing things for your partner, or in other words, sacrificing for your partner. Therefore, we generally look to our lover to fill our needs. When we look to our partner to fill our needs, we are using them.
Sometimes “using” our partner in a relationship is just a normal and healthy part of being in a relationship. As part of a relationship, each person has tasks that they perform for the other person. You do some things for me and I do some things for you. That makes sense. But this part of a relationship just has nothing to do with love. This is just the business and practical side of a relationship.
In addition, a lot of the times, we tend to think things like “If you loved me, you would … cook for me, clean the room, take the kids to school more, sacrifice for me, buy me more gifts, compliment me etc”. After all, our lover did fill the position of the one who is supposed to make us happy. But, when we try to get our partner to sacrifice and fill our needs just to make us happy, it often creates suffering.
Sure, when we love someone, sometimes we want to sacrifice our time, energy, and money for them. Since we love them, we don’t view it as a sacrifice, but as a joy. However, when we try to force our partner to sacrifice for us, and do something they don’t want to, that is not love. If we loved them, we would not ask them to do something they don’t want to do. And of course, we don’t stop there, we often try to guilt them into doing things for us and make them feel bad about it when they don’t. In doing this, we are unknowingly disregarding how the other person feels. In that moment we are only concerned about we want.
There’s no problem with that. It’s not a personal issue. It’s not like you are to blame for it. This is how we have all been trained so naturally that is how we are going to act in our relationships. But, when we are truly loving someone, it is selfless. We don’t need anything in return.
6) Loving how someone seems to make us feel isn’t love
When we are with someone, we may love how we feel when are around them. Sometimes, we feel so great because we are loving the other person… and there is just a connection that allows us to feel accepted, peaceful, or happy.
Other times, we might love how we feel around someone because they compliment us, we may love it because we have positive thoughts about them, we may love it because it distracts us from our negative thoughts, maybe they buy us stuff, maybe they agree with us, or maybe it is just a lot of fun. That’s nice.
However, after we enjoy being with someone, we often decide “I love them”. That’s no problem. But if we love them simply because they seem to make us feel good, this isn’t really love because then we will hate them when they do something to seemingly make us feel bad. This isn’t love because it is completely conditional upon how we feel. It is basically “I love you when you make me feel good” or “I love you when you do what I want” but then “I hate you when you don’t make me feel good” or “I hate you when you don’t do what I want”.
7) The fear of getting hurt isn’t part of love
If you are afraid that you won’t get someone’s love (hurt) in return, or are worried that you will lose their love, then in that moment, you are not loving. These fears and worries are created by the concept that it would be “bad” if you don’t get the love that you want. In other words, in the moment that we feel fear or worry, we are unconsciously believe “it would be better if I received or kept their love”. This means “I would be happier if I received or kept their love”.
If you want something from them (love), then you are not just purely loving. You want something in return. But love wants nothing. Love doesn’t care what it receives…. Because love itself is fulfilling in and of itself.
In a moment that we feel fear, that is just thoughts about how we might not get what we want. This doesn’t meant that we don’t love the person. It just means that in that moment, we aren’t in touch with this love because we are believing thoughts that are creating our experience of the situation.
These indications don’t mean anything about you or your love for your partner
Those are the 7 things we mistake to be love… or 7 indications that we may not be loving in a specific moment. There’s no problem with any of it. None of it signifies that we are somehow “bad” or “worse” than others. This isn’t about creating an idea of a “perfect” relationship then comparing our relationship to that, and deciding our relationship isn’t “good enough”. This is how we’ve been trained to “love” and relate to people so of course this is how we are all going to live.
The bottom line is that if we don’t truly love someone, then we don’t feel this love or the fulfillment that comes with it. This is how thoughts relate to love. But all of these thoughts actually prevent us from loving others. As most of us have already discovered, this type of “love” doesn’t fulfill us and often creates a lot of anxiety, anger, disappointment, and hurt. That being said, even though all of these thoughts may be there, your relationship may be filled with a tremendous amount of love beneath or behind all of these thoughts that create all of these emotions.
The opportunity to love
Now that you are aware of these 7 indications… when you notice that you are doing something or believing something that is preventing you from loving… you have the opportunity to stop, take a step back, and look to see what thoughts are preventing you from experiencing love in that moment. Then, you can choose to disbelieve these thoughts (using The 5 Steps), or you just watch them.