#119 Saying 'love' at the right time / Am I stuck making others wrong?
DEAR ABBY: I have strong feelings about the word "love." I use it only when I truly mean it. My husband’s family, however, bandies it about as a common word.
How does one respond when someone says "l love you" when you know he or she doesn’t mean it and is only saying it as a pleasantry? I hate saying it back to someone I don’t really love. I feel the phrase should be reserved only when you are saying it from the heart.
Any advice on what I should say, if anything at all? - KEEPING MUM IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR KEEPING MUM: Because you are part of the extended family, and family is supposed to "love" each other, the expected and appropriate response would be, "I love you too, darIin’!" But since you can’t bring yourself to go that far, just coo in return, and, "you’re such a love to say that!" —Abby
Hi Mum: What a great letter. I have similar considerations about auto-hugs and all the new hand-shakes.
You and I are automatic judgmental machines. We've also accumulated a lifetime of withholds and incompletes; in truth we are out-integrity, we don't automatically experience the experience of love with everyone all the time. Judgments and thoughts withheld (but communicated non verbally) serve as barriers to the experience of love. These non verbalized withholds make it virtually impossible for another to experience love in the space between us due to our non verbal emanations. Instead of our loving self we most always present our friendly, polite, love act. Usually we unconsciously make a decison within nano-seconds of meeting someone as to how close we're willing be with them. BUT, there is hope—it's possible to restore ones integrity through communication—to complete the incompletes*.
If per chance you were to run into the Dalai Lama without knowing it was him you'd most likely instantaneously experience an overwhelming experience of love. His love and acceptance is contagious.
We learned how to relate by emulating our parents and teachers. In communication coaching lingo this way of relating is referred to as the Adversarial Communication Model (right-wrong, fault-blame, win-lose). Coaches refer to this model as talking. In support of communication mastery coaches make a distinction between talking and communicating. The difference between talking and communicating is that with talking the experience of love is a happening, which is to say it usually can't be created at will, especially during a divorce settlement. I know of no schools that teach communication through to a skill level, consequently we end up mastering talking which occasionally produces peak experiences of love as happenings rather than through conscious intentions.
Most couples in the middle of a divorce talk as opposed to communicate, they use the Adversarial Communication Model characterized by make-wrong, blaming, badmouthing, and arguing. They don't know how to create/recreate the experience of love at will because they have yet to master communication. Couples who have learned to communicate even divorce lovingly and supportively.
First a few corrections:
Re: I have strong feelings about the word "love." What's so is you have a self-righteous position about the word love. Your position about the word love sometimes triggers upset for you. Instead of verbally sharing your experience of the upset spontaneously you stuff it and self-righteously judge the person non verbally.
Once you've learned to communicate from your experience, instead of from your mind, you could reply, "I’m experiencing an upset with your use of the word love."
Re: "I use it only when I truly mean it." I believe this is not accurate, very likely you have unconsciously used the word without having meant it. It would however be accurate to say, "I only express love when I'm experiencing it and I don't know how to create the experience of love at will." Put another way, "In-law, I know I love you but I'm not experiencing it right now."
The meanest angriest person you know absolutely loves you and is in fact expressing love as best he/she knows how; like yourself, they simply have stuffed thousands and thousands of thoughts, each serving as a barrier to the experience of love. Love is like water to a fish, it's always there.
Re: "How does one respond when someone...?" This is rhetorical. It reveals that you were unconscious when you wrote it. A conscious person, would write, "How do I respond when...?"
Re: "My husband’s family, however, bandies it about as a common word." Your use of the word "bandies" is a covert make-wrong. It reveals that you have other thoughts (mostly judgments) about each that you haven't shared verbally; in fact you are not communicating openly, and honestly, and spontaneously with anyone. You can't yet be trusted to tell the truth in the now. A person who communicates openly, honestly, and spontaneously, zero withholds, would have shared these thoughts with the in-laws, perhaps first with your husband, and through communication you would have had an experience of love.
Your leadership-communication skills mirror those of your in-laws, your husband, and in fact, 95% of the population. Stuffed thoughts (considerations) serve as barriers to the experience of love. You all have mastered talking. Now it's time to start studying communication. When communication takes place there is always an experience of love upon completion.
Your position about love is inaccurate. Positions shut down communication. It’s true that most often when someone says, "I love you" they are not experiencing the experiencing of love at that moment. What's so is they are unconsciously telling you (as opposed to consciously communicating from his/her experience) that they know they love you but that at that moment the experience is missing; they are communicating non verbally, "Please accept this expression of love. Forgive me, it's the closest I know how to get to you. Trust me, I do have a sincere intention to experience love with you." Or, "I sure would like to experience the experience of love with you but I have lots of embarrassing fears. I don't know how to create love and I don't know if you want to love me. Please accept this token of love as an intention to experience love with you."
BTW: The ideal is to come from love as opposed to making people jump through hoops before you'll bestow your love on them.
With love, Gabby
* Here's four free communication processes in support of communication mastery—The Clearing House.
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