2 Phrases that Can Kill a Relationship
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.” -Rumi
As with a lost key, the harder we search for love, the more elusive, frustrating, and often times futile it appears. Then when we stop trying so hard, the key somehow turns up. So perhaps with love, the thing to do is not to go looking for it but rather, to first figure out all the things we do to keep love out.
May I suggest you start with these two deterrents? You’ve heard these phrases before, and you might have even – gasp! - spoken them yourself.
1. “I’ve been hurt before.”
2. “I’m not looking for anything serious.”
These phrases can kill a romantic relationship. If you ever caught yourself saying them, be careful! You are erecting barriers to the path of true connection and possibly, even true love.
“I’ve been hurt before.”
Have you ever caught sight of the “Baby Onboard” signs attached to car windows? Some well-meaning parent wants the world to know that she or he is carrying precious cargo and wants others to proceed with care. How effective is this sign to bad or indifferent drivers?
When you tell someone that you’ve been hurt before, it has the same effect as the “Baby Onboard” sign, only you’re saying, “Don’t hurt me. I don’t know if I can deal with any more heartbreak.” But will bad drivers heed your warning? No. Bad drivers will be bad drivers.
Unfortunately, the good guys you’re hoping to attract may do the opposite thing you want them to; they may put on the brakes. This particular phrase gives off the perception that you’re stuck in your past, and that you see yourself as a victim, which we know is not emotionally healthy. Emotionally healthy people want to have a relationship with well, emotionally healthy people. That generally means someone who has learned from their failed relationship and has appreciation for the experience.
“I’m not looking for anything serious.”
When you say you’re not looking for anything serious, what you’re really saying is, you don’t want to put anything on the line, least of all your heart. You’re protecting yourself by keeping things casual. You don’t want to risk vulnerability because that would expose you to pain.
Someone with an average intelligence will see right through that statement. They will know you still have some work to do and move on to someone else who is willing to risk more.
Others may take what you say at face value and go along with your terms. What happens when you do want more? Now you’re setting yourself up to be hurt.
What’s always at stake for two people looking for love and connection is the risk of vulnerability. The ability to be vulnerable with someone is truly an act of courage. It is also self-affirming because when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you are boldly declaring that no one can take anything from you. That is true confidence. It’s also a mark of an emotionally healthy person.
The next step is up to you. What will you risk for love? How far will you go?
For more on building stronger relationships, you might enjoy “How to Keep the Magic in Your Relationship.”
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