There is a Swedish proverb that states: “Love me when I least deserve it for that is when I really need it.” Truer words were rarely ever spoken and we can all relate to this statement.
When we consider relationships in our lives, whether there are addictions involved or not, we recognize that there usually is some type of conflict that exists. The important issue to analyze is what we ultimately learn from each of those conflicts within each relationship. Those relationships may be with spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers, or siblings. All relationships give us an opportunity to be better human beings.
Recognize that it is challenging to respond in ways that leave us feeling both good about ourselves AND that support and nurture healthier relationships. Learning to love “better” means we must work at changing our rigidly held beliefs and ingrained habits. Being a closed and protected person within a relationship only leads to a negative experience yet being open and vulnerable allows for growth between people and enhances the relationship.
How do we make that shift? M. Scott Peck in his book, The Road Less Traveled, stated this: “Loving behavior is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” So what does “loving behavior” look like? I believe we all know what those behaviors are when we see them or have them demonstrated for us personally. With that as a truth then it is necessary to engage and respond in a loving way REGARDLESS of how the other person is behaving.
Although this may feel awkward at first, the more you practice this behavior the easier it actually becomes. Realize we are not stating that you allow another person to abuse you with their behavior – boundaries remain important – yet we do support challenging yourself to react positively rather than negatively which creates conflict.
We all want love and support. Those traits come into our lives when we are willing to demonstrate those to other people. Work on your own actions and other peoples’ actions will eventually follow to the end that loving behaviors are ever present. Oh what a feeling!
“Love me when I least deserve it for that is when I really need it.” — Swedish proverb