Love In Practice: Communicating With Care In Your Heart
In all communication, there is one thing that each and every one of us requires. We all want to be appreciated, honoured, and respected. None of us want to feel criticized, rejected, ignored, or manipulated. To reduce it to its simplest terms, we each want to feel loved. I do not mean love in a romantic sense, or some outpouring of emotion, but simple caring. This is the universal bottom line of every human relationship. We all want to feel cared for.
If each of us would like to be treated with care and respect, then it should be our intent to do so for others. But what often happens is the exact opposite. Instead of trying to ensure that the other person feels loved and appreciated, we end up in a vicious circle of recrimination and attack.
It usually starts by our feelings hurt over something someone said or did. Whether they intended to hurt us or whether it is all our own creation does not matter. The fact is we feel hurt, and if we are not fully conscious of our own inner processes, we are likely to defend ourselves by attacking back in some way. It’s not the most noble or wisest response, nevertheless that is the way us less-than-enlightened folk sometimes react.
We may respond with a cutting remark or criticism, a resentful tone of voice, a shift in body language, or simply by making no response at all. Whatever form it takes, the underlying intention is that the other person should feel just a little hurt—not much, not enough to disrupt the relationship, but sufficient that the other person should not feel totally, one hundred per cent, loved.
But if the other person is also less than enlightened, their response to a perceived attack will probably be similar to ours. They will probably attack back, and do or say something intended to make us feel a little hurt and not totally loved.
So the vicious circle begins. It may not always be that obvious. On the surface it often looks as if the relationship is going well; both people are friendly, with no open hostility. But underneath, a sad game is being played out. Each person, in their attempts to have the other person behave in a more loving manner, is actually withholding love from the other. It is little wonder that many couples end up in therapy.