Do you require the constant re-assurance of being loved?
Most people refuse to see love as a genuine sentiment. In their world, love must be loaded with high volumes of unspoken expectations, one of which being the utter need for reciprocity. In other words, to say “I love you” requires hearing “I love you” in return. If it does not happen, the absence of reciprocity is viewed as a blunt act of betrayal. To avoid feeling betrayed and therefore disappointed, life becomes a constant struggle that consists in making sure that reciprocity does indeed occur. This is a tedious process because the sentiments that fuel the demand for reciprocity are likely to be fraudulent since they are utilized to serve an agenda that is dismissive of the other person’s true feelings, and it can be lengthy. Ultimately, the search for such a specific outcome is likely to generate great upsets. But does it really matter? Why not repeating the same dynamics until the “right one” has finally bitten the bait and decided to commit to a relationship that is based on the duty to reciprocate? The motto is, “I pretend to love you and need you, so in return you must genuinely love me and need me at all times.” Now, to avoid jeopardizing the livelihood of such a mechanism, a partner may not be the solution. This is why there are so many men and women who choose to have children, and it is not always for the right reasons.
::: Why having kids for the wrong reasons?
The choice to observe attentively how society systematically promotes what the perfect family is supposed to look like can be emotionally draining and perturbing. Anyone who elects to embark on this path may not be able prevent himself or herself from judging his or her current (under)achievements. How is your situation today in comparison to what is socially acceptable for an individual of your age? Are you on track with what is expected of you? In other words, are you normal? An implicit societal rule stipulates that if you are not married and do not have kids past a certain age, you cannot feel complete. Completion is a notion that has been artificially constructed, so individuals would blindly conform to what life is meant to resemble. If you are forty and single, your peers are likely to see you as a total failure, even though they will not say it to your face. Inside our society there is so much aversion to being single that most people rush to land a deal, get married and then have children. They want to live within accepted societal norms, no matter what. This is the one and only roadmap, so they embrace it without questioning its pertinence. Consequently, a great majority of relationships are absolutely horrendous. How can anything good come out of a decision that is solely based on aversion?
This insatiable need to feel loved and needed all the times is supposedly the assurance that ending-up all alone can never occur. Remember, to be alone is considered a curse. And to avoid being alone, one must avoid rejection at all costs. The problem is that the fear to be rejected pushes people to make totally insane and unconscious decisions. To this effect, how many times have you heard a friend say that having a child would fix the problems in his or her marriage? I know, that sounds utterly ludicrous. However such thought depicts the reality that characterizes the lives of many couples out there. From a very young age, most people are encouraged to idealize the type of family that they want to have later in life, and that includes the prospect of having kids and how they should turn out. They do not have any yet, but they already know what they want them to become. Ultimately, when reality does not match the expectations, disappointment becomes the sole outcome. Then, what is left?
Per this society, a kid who delivers beyond expectations reflects how valuable his or her parents are. The parents of a child who does well in school are viewed as nurturing and caring as well as social and professional achievers. On the other side of the spectrum, the parents of a kid who fails are instantly subjected to series of judgments, all carrying a negative connotation. Moreover, parents of a child who brings home good grades see themselves as successful parents; and those of a kid who cannot elevate his or her GPA above 2.0 tend to put all the blame on their kid, so they can discharge themselves of all responsibilities. At the end of the day, the child is used as an element of measure, and the love that he or she is given greatly depends on his or her position on the measurement scale. This is a reality that perfectly describes the hoax that love is in most people’s minds. It is a measurement and not a genuine sentiment. Whether it is a lie, saying, “After everything your Mother and I have done for you!” is the tangible proof that intentions have always been loaded with requirements for reciprocity. And the kid had absolutely no way of knowing that.
::: Can you enforce being loved and needed?
There is strictly no assurance in life. Any point of view that differs from the latter can only lead you to experience major disappointments. Certainty does not exist. It is a concept that has been entrenched inside people’s minds to force them to maintain the status quo, while others are taking advantage of the situation to thrive and prosper at their expense. To blindly believe that certainty exists is undeniably misleading, because no one has the ability to predict the future with exactitude. There are individuals who are definitely more intuitive than others; however their intuition solely addresses future occurrences in a broad and general way. The love that someone is giving you at this very second may very well vanish one second, one day, or ten years from now. It is a fact and most people totally refuse to acknowledge its reality. The reason certainly lies behind the fear of losing what is already being taken for granted. When you take someone for granted, don’t you assume that he or she will always stand besides you, love you, and need you, no matter what? The one who knows that he or she is taken for granted and deliberately stays in the relationship makes his or her partner’s requirement to be constantly re-assured of being loved and needed at all times possible. Such dynamic cannot work with an individual who has even the slightest sense of self.
What pleasure and benefits can you obtain from alienating another individual, so you can have the sensation to be loved and needed all the time? What kind of relationship does it ultimately create? What type of expansion, if any, can be generated from nurturing such a constricting energy? Do you really want to be loved and needed at all times? There is only one alternative, which is to have a healthy relationship with your own self. Basically, love yourself at all times! There is no other way around. As trivial as it may sound, I challenge you to take a blunt look at the relationship that you have generated with yourself. When I ask my clients if they have a superlative relationship with themselves, most of them have the instant reflex to answer “Yes!” quite forcefully. Well, the equation is fairly simple. If you have the sentiment of missing anything in your life or the feeling that you are missing out on something, it means that you do not have a healthy relationship with yourself. It signifies that you are not content with your own self. When you truthfully love yourself, you do not need anyone or anything to fill a void, simply because there is absolutely no void to be filled. Would you like to truthfully assess how your life is today? The past does not matter any more and the future is still unknown. Only the present counts.
In our society, there is no established authority that encourages or empowers you to love yourself unconditionally. Instead, it is all about seeking someone else’s approval of you as the sole means to prove the realness of your existence. If no one loves you, it basically means that you do not exist socially. Those who firmly believe that they need another person’s attention to exist cannot be in control of their lives. They are systematically at the mercy of another individual’s choices and decisions. Every single television show or commercial to which we are continually exposed represents a piece of programming that is intended to disgust people with what they intrinsically are. The messages that are systematically hammered are constant reminders that life can only contain voids, which must be filled with artifacts to create a quick fix, so people can have the sensation that they finally fit-in momentarily, before crashing again, harder and lower every single time. Only you hold the key to your happiness. No one else does. However it is a choice to be happy.
As a kid, have you ever felt that nothing was ever enough to please your parents? Were you ever able to gain recognition for what you were and what you wanted to become as an adult? Parents who use love as a carrot to control and manipulate their children constantly refrain from giving them the credit that they deserve. They purposely refuse to see them. And the long-term consequences do not matter. After all, the only person who theoretically will continually love his or her parents is a child.