Do You Give Away Your Power?
By William Martin 12 Comments
When you love someone do you give your power away?
This may seem a strange question to ask and you may wonder what 'power' has to do with 'love'.
However, if we take a look we might see that love and power are very closely linked. This may not seem very romantic, but that does not mean it is not true.
We see another person as attractive depending on the level of 'personal power' that they hold. Things like good looks, money, success (however we define it), musical and artistic abilities, and the like all, can add to attractiveness - and 'attractiveness' is a form of personal power.
When we love someone it is natural to want to give to him or her. It is part of the fun of a relationship. Yet, if we try to give too much of ourselves before the other person is ready the chances are that they will run a mile...
Has anyone not experienced that kind of 'rejection'? I don't see any hands going up...It seems to be part of the human experience for everyone no matter what their status in life.
The problems start to arise when we place another person above ourselves. If we do that it can come across as if we feel that the other person is more important that we are.
"What is wrong with?" that you might wonder. "Isn't that how love is supposed to be?", you may ask.
Well, the problem with it is that it is not sustainable. The other person is looking for an equal not for more members of their 'fan club'. In order to have a meaningful relationship they need more from us than simply adding ourselves to their list of admirers. Sooner or later they will believe our own low assessment of ourselves.
The more we look up to someone the more we reduce own status in their eyes. Indeed, perhaps the more we look up to someone the more reason we give them to look down on us.
This does not mean that we cannot admire qualities and abilities in others. It just means we need to do it with a feeling of equality and not with a feeling like we are some kind unworthy creature admiring someone far better than we are.
Love is really something much bigger than us as individuals. In a sense, love is a process. How we love has to do with how we respond in that process. It may have little to do with the other person because we will respond the same way within that process with someone else.
If our response to love is to try and raise up the other person by lowering ourselves then that will be our experiences of the 'process' of love. We will experience being reduced and diminished when we love.
If our response to love is to raise ourselves up and the other person too - then that will be our experience of love. We will experience love as enlivening and enriching. Yes, we may still have our disappointments - but, overall it will raise us up and not diminish us.
We need to look at our response to the process of love and see it is different from the 'object' of our love. In that way we can find more skillful ways to express how we feel.
And, the expression of love is a skill. It is one of the highest of skills, but it is still a skill. It is something that needs to be learned - often through trial and error. There is not sense beating ourselves up when we make a mistake because it is just part of the process of learning the skill.
Part of the process is learning to feel good about ourselves as part of our own experience of relating to others. If we try and exclude ourselves from our own ability to love, that is what makes us want to sacrifice ourselves to the image we make of the other person. We have set ourselves up to lose if we do this as it makes a false god / goddess out of them.
Then we begin to look at the other person as if they are source of love in our life. Which is a dangerous thing to do to another fragile and quirky human being. It is dangerous as it is too much power to give another person - especially when it is someone we might hardly know at all (except that they are 'so wonderful'...).
We need to recognize the source of love in our lives. It is a deeper and wiser part of ourselves, which lives within us waiting recognition. That is our true source of personal power - and our true source of love.