There’s a great quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” I love that. Love should never make someone feel trapped. Whether that love is romantic, family, or friends, the people you love should feel free.
Free love is confidence. It’s honesty. It’s strength. It’s hard. But it’s the most powerful love, that someone is free, yet chooses to love you. To understand giving someone the freedom to love you, we must first understand what we do to take away that freedom.
I have been passive aggressive. I’ve thrown little jabs, just to be petty. It’s manipulative and just brings the ones you love down. They start to feel angry and resentful and they become tied up in knots.
Word games are the worst. My favorite words used to be “I’m fine.” I would say it when I was not fine at all. But, if people didn’t try to come and help me, I would be hurt because they failed me. If you feel something, or if you need something, say it out loud, to the ones you love. People are not mind readers, and should not be expected to know what you need.
Guilt…I’ve done it. Tried making people feel guilty for not wanting to be with me. Well, that is a sure way to make someone feel trapped. If you are upset that someone may not want to do something with you, speak your truth in a healthy way. Don’t use guilt to force them. It’s not authentic, if they really didn’t want to be there anyway.
So, what does loving someone so they feel free look like? It is honesty. Say what your feeling, ask how the other person is feeling. Work through those together without blame. Know that there may not be blame. Sometimes, you may find the feelings are misunderstandings. If you need something, ask for it. Don’t assume the person will know, and defintely don’t be angry because they didn’t figure it out.
We must understand that we do not possess other people. So, when I say “my kids” or “my boyfriend” I don’t say it because they belong to me. I trust that they love me, that they want to spend time with me. That doesn’t mean they cannot spend time away from me. When my kids chose to spend time with their dad, I think it’s great that they have a good relationship with him. When my boyfriend leaves for a golf week with the guys, I love that he has some time away with his friends. I don’t feel hurt. I know the kids love me. While the time we have is limited, it is always quality time, and I soak it all in. My boyfriend and I spend so much time together. When he can get out with his friends, I love that for him. It’s the same with friends and family. I have learned it is not rejection if I ask someone to do something and they can’t. I know the people around me love me, and they are free to have other friends and other interests.
If someone doesn’t make me feel free to be me, or if they really don’t want to spend time with me, it doesn’t matter if I love them. I must be strong enough to let them go…let them be free to walk away. After all, I really don’t want to be with anyone that does not give me autonomy, nor do I want to be with someone that doesn’t choose to be with me.
So, when someone feels free in your love, their love is powerful. They love without resentment. They love without fear. And, most importantly, they are with you because it’s a choice, not out of guilt or duty. Being loved just because someone loves you for who you are, is the absolute best!!!!!