>Love me like a dog…

happy dogDogs love fearlessly. Show them a smile and friendly tone, and they’ll show you their belly. Loving dogs is easy; it’s loving people that gets complicated.

We all have ‘baggage’, that’s not what makes it hard to love and be loved. What makes it hard is alllllll things we do that prevent us from really being seen. Over time, we raise a wall to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We add bricks to the wall when we get rejected, abandoned or otherwise hurt, swearing that we’ll never feel like that again. We add spikes to the top of the wall when we experience trauma, because we will never allow ourselves to be in that kind of danger again. We build these walls to protect us, to protect our hearts. We have good reasons to build these walls with the best materials, thick and heavy, impossible to penetrate.

At the time we build them, the walls make sense; we had to survive in a parent/child power imbalance. As we grow to adulthood, craving closeness with our partner, we see that although they protect us from pain, they also keep others out. There is nothing that measures others’ intention built into that wall. So we tend to treat everyone as if they deserve to be held at that comfortable distance. At best, we use humor or logic to keep people at bay. No one looks particularly safe – unless they’re a golden retriever, tail wagging and fearlessly ready foe anything. When you treat people like they deserve the wall, they start responding to the wall instead of you- you’re hiding behind the wall, so sure that no one wants to see the baggage you keep back there; or that they can’t handle it. We tell ourselves we have power as long as we are in control, but it’s a loveless power. It’s a power built on fear; and it creates a cycle of fear and resentment between you and your partner. You partner wants to be let in, but doesn’t know how to approach you fearlessly, either, because they’ve got their own baggage.

That’s why we can’t end the argument about loading the dishwasher, or what to do with the tax return. Our defenses are talking to our partner’s defenses, and we’re not even aware of what’s really behind them, because the walls have even cut us off from that part of ourselves. Only when we find that part again, can we tell our partner about it, and move toward bringing that wall down with them. We can find a way to be curious and playful with each other – and then, we really can have our dog’s life! 🙂







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