NEEDLES OF LOVE
If you love or are loved by someone, then it is likely that you feel pushed or pulled by them at times. Perhaps they expect something from you that you don’t feel capable ofproviding. Or maybe they criticize you so that you never feel quite accepted by them. It may be you who wants something you’re not getting.
This makes you feel hurt and/or angry. You want the problem fixed. It makes your life more difficult and less rewarding than it could be.
Whether you realize it or not, this is an opportunity for you. Your loved one is needling your boundaries, pressing you to open up to them, hacking at your resistance to change.
You have a choice here. You can see it as their problem and resent their demands. Or you can look at yourself and see if there is some need for you to grow. None of us is finished yet. We all have room to improve.
Only a loved one has the power to aggravate you like this. And it is love that will challenge you the most to do what you could never do before. Only those who love or are loved ever feel this kind of pressure. If it weren’t for love it wouldn’t matter. You could just walk away.
Someone who knows you well and spends time with you, someone who cares what you do, who has a personal stake in your behavior is well positioned and qualified to jerk your chain. And you’re going to feel it. It probably won’t feel good. And when they hold the mirror up to your face and show you yourself, you will see your defects and we all have them. You will be expected to be accountable for yourself. This is perhaps the biggest challenge with monogamy (aside from having to give up all the other possible lovers in the world, that is.) This can feel like an attack as your partner criticizes and attempts to make you over. You don’t have to cave in but you do have to respond and it will help you a lot if you can see things from your partner’s point of view when asked to do so. Try having some compassion for their plight. Don’t imagine this is easy!
Love doesn’t require that you sell yourself out or rigidly defend your boundaries against attack. But love does require that you allow yourself to be affected. Love does require your presence as a person.
Next time your loved one tortures you, try asking yourself if there’s a lesson in it for you. When you’re up against your own limits you might be able to see beyond them.