Love and Kindness
As a clinical psychologist that works with individuals and couples there is one major complaint I hear from my patients. While dealing with the conflict between couples they often express their desire for the other to treat them with greater kindness. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. I have often asked couples why they have a difficult time treating the other with kindness. Sometimes they respond with the defensiveness of “well they started it” or “they hurt my feelings and I wanted to hurt them back”. While others responded with “I just can’t help it, I get mad or angry and just started to yell back at them”
At the heart of these responses is our ego.
That is our ego wants to “be right” or it attaches to our feelings to defend ourselves. While our ego is necessary to navigate the world – it can cause us all sort of problems with our relationships. Many times the couples pine for a time like the beginning of the relationship where they both experienced the feeling of love. Who does not like the experience of the feeling of love? It seems that is what everyone wants to experience. If we could just find that one special person who would love us so we could experience the feeling of love or kindness. What could be better? Yet, once we find that one special person over time the feeling of love comes up missing. What happen to it? Where did it go? Over time life hurts us and we want the other to save us We want the other to bring us the feelings of love.
While the feelings of love are wonderful and we all like to have it – the experience of it can be fleeting. It is often lost in our day to day struggle where ego will raise it’s ugly head. We need not only the feeling of love but the value of love. I suggest that love is at its foundation a value. Any one who is happy or “in love” can give the feelings of love. But what do you do over time when things are not easy in the relationship? You need the value of love. I define the value of love as the deep caring of the other’s well being regardless of the circumstances or consequences back me.
This value of love is a very difficult kind of love to give and express to the others.
It requires to lose your ego and defensiveness towards the other. It requires a deep caring for the other. It is an action verb. It requires one to be proactive. Anybody can love the other when the other is good to them. But the value of love is not depended upon how you feel. Your feelings of love are not required to express your value of kindness and love towards the other. The value of love expresses itself toward the other with a sincere sense of love and kindness. The very thing that we all want in our relationship.
Who will go first?
It does not matter. If you have the value of love you always go first. It might not be fair but values have nothing to do with fairness. Over time during a relationship most of us want the emotions of love. But what will sustain the relationship for the long haul is the value of love. If you first show the value of love then the emotions of love and kindness may follow.
Is it time for you to develop and demonstrate the value of love?