LOOKING FOR LOVE: HIDING VS. SEEKING (Part 3 of 4)
Greetings and welcome to my post. The purpose of this post is to engage in conversation about how all of us do relationships. I believe that we are created for relationships and what gives us the most meaning in our lives is the significant relationships we have with people. When we have positive, growing, and happy relationships, then our lives become more meaningful. But the opposite can also happen when we have conflict, hate, and hurt in our most important relationships. Then life can become very stressful and depressing.
In this current post, I want to focus on what we are all looking for: Love. In 1987, “U2” penned these words in their song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
“I have climbed highest mountains; I have run through the fields, only to be with you. I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, only to be with you. But I still haven’t found what I’m look for.”
The focus of this song is a man desperately looking for love, and he is stating in his plea how much he has tried to find love but still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. He is desperate but ends up unsatisfied.
Today, we can still claim the desperation and longing we all want: To love and be loved. When you are loved, you feel connected and plugged in. You feel and know that someone loves you, likes you, and desires to be with you. Someone has chosen you and enjoys you and when you feel that chosen love, you feel very satisfied and fulfilled. Your love tank is full.
In my first two parts, I invited you to consider the various ways in which you hide from love. In these next two parts, I want to ask you to consider ways in which you can seek love. The reason I am asking you to do this is because you can find satisfaction and fulfillment by saying yes to love. In other words, you can find and get what you are looking for.
The first question that needs to be asked is this: Are you a seeker? If I were to ask three of your friends to describe you, would one of your character traits be that you are a seeker? Do you take the initiative and become proactive in your life. Do you find the motivation to seek and pursue certain things and areas of your life. Do you see value in being a person who seeks?
When we take the initiative, become proactive and seek, life does work. To live life in a passive format is to allow life to happen to you. Instead of allowing life to happen to you, make life happen for you. Life is time and your time here on earth is to take the initiative and not be afraid or be lazy and quit. For example, when you get hurt by someone, you initially find yourself hiding to protect yourself and cope with your pain. That makes sense. But long term hiding only leads to being passive and not really taking the initiative to seek help for your life. If you get a stomach ache and you start to throw up blood, I would hope you would seek the nearest hospital recognizing that vomiting blood is not normal and you do need emergency care. Seeking emergency care due to vomiting blood is similar to seeking help for your emotional hurts. Emotional hurts can get healed, but you have to seek and find the love you need.
So let’s take discuss the first need that I talked about in my last blog: Our Need for Attachment. What are some ways that you can seek and find attachment for your life? To attach means to draw close to someone and form a bond. So now you are an adult working for a company and you know that you have been hurt in this area of your life. But now someone comes up to you at work and invites you to have a cup of coffee with them. Do you take the initiative and seek out a way to participate with this person by saying yes to a cup of coffee? Do you seek and find value enjoying having a conversation with someone with the potential of gaining a new friend?
Or let’s say you love to hike and you have heard of a local hiking club. Do you seek and take the initiative calling someone informing them of your interest to join them for local hikes? Sure hiking with people may or may not lead to an attachment. But you never know. You may discover some brand new friends that you can hook up with and form a new friendship and a new attachment with.
Let’s focus on the second area: Our Need for Separation. This is an important area in which you need to learn how to set and keep boundaries. Our need to be separate is to discover our need to not get so involved in so many things and involved in so many people’s lives that we become burnt out and tired all the time. I am writing to all the caretakers, the pleasers, the givers, and the codependents. You know what it means to try to fix and care for someone else.
But to be separate means that you recognize the need to set boundaries for yourself to that you are taking better care of yourself versus the tendency to try to care or be overly responsible for others. For example, let’s say you are in the helping profession as a nurse or a social worker. You want to help others. So you give and give trying to care for others. And your boss comes up to you and he or she asks you if you can work an extra shift or put in more hours and you say yes. You do this because you don’t want your boss to be mad at you and you want to please.
But the reality of this situation is you need to be separate and learn how to say no. You probably have already put in enough hours this week and you need to recognize that you cannot do more. But you don’t know how to say no and set boundaries so you can take care of yourself and be separate from others. Can you say no and value being separate from others by learning about boundaries?
Or you are married to someone who is manipulative and has a tendency to control or has a drinking problem. You give to this person with hopes of caring or fixing them due to your fear of being separate from them or your inability to say no and take care of yourself. You find taking care of yourself as something that is foreign or frightening to you and you are not too sure how to do this. So you keep on giving trying to fix this problem person in your life which only leads to you feeling defeated and unhappy. Is this working?
So to have boundaries and find the need to be separate is so important for our lives. To be separate and set boundaries means to be a seeker and learn how to say no. To do this, you might want to start with your best friend by testing them and start saying no to them. Can you take that risk and say no and can your friend hear your no. My hope is your friend will accept and support you when you say no and start to set a boundary. Seek setting boundaries and your life will go much smoother. We all need to seek better ways to make improvements in our life and learning how to say no and value our boundaries is very important for our lives. Be a seeker and not a hider.
Phil Kiehl, LMFT, M.Div.
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject. Share your comments and share this article with others. Thanks.