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You Can't Make Other People Love You

Updated: Jun 6

Spam Filter For Your Brain - Episode 77

Here with the brain-breaking news that you can't make other people love you. Just really disappointing, isn't it? Sorry if this comes as news to everyone. I think that most of us probably know it, but most of us don't want to know it. We don't want to believe it's true. We think if we do particular things or if we behave in the right way, or we look a particular way, or we magically have some particular formula that we haven't quite deduced yet, that love is going to come rushing at us in the format and shape that we desire it to.

But love isn't a gift that someone else can give you. Love is an emotion which is caused by your thoughts. Now that isn't the romantic instagrammable meme that any of us were seeking, not what we were taught to try and look for when we were teenagers. But actually, love is an emotion, and just like all emotions, they are caused by the thoughts in your head. (Not all emotions are caused by thoughts in your head. All of your emotions are caused by thoughts in your head. All of my emotions are caused by thoughts in my head). Just looking at how we process love in our lives can tell us a lot about what we're thinking about things. And I think that love is an area where so many of us believe that if we just get things right, then we're going to win this prize of someone else's emotions.

I just want to break this down a little bit because I know that many of you have heard me talk, either on courses or on the podcast before, about the idea that our thoughts and thoughts cause our emotions. Yeah, cool, but not in this situation. And I just wanted to sort of break down a few scenarios so that you can have a little think about how this could apply to your life.

And I firstly invite you just to have a little think about how if it was true that love was just something that was a fact, was a thing that you can donate to someone like a pie, then everybody would feel the same amount of love for exactly the same things all the time and the same people all the time. And we know that that's not true. We know that that's not true because people have different thoughts about particular people, particular places, particular things. And I just invite you to get a little bit curious, maybe a little bit curious, with a pen in your hand, do a little writing exercise, should you so wish. What kind of things do you think when you think that someone loves you? So when I think that someone loves me, sometimes I might be thinking, "oh, that's really kind", "they're really amazing", "I'm really happy to be here", "they're really wonderful too", "I'm really fortunate that they feel this way about me..." It kind of gives me a little glow. And that little glow of validation, let's face it, comes from the thought of me reciprocating, liking, loving that person in return. It is all the thoughts that I have about them that are causing me to feel all of this goodness.

Apart from... when someone loves me who I don't love back? Now, this might obviously be the scenario that I think would spring to mind for most of us is a sort of unrequited romantic relationship. Or it could be, I'm sure we've all been in a situation where someone's had a, you know, made it clear that they've got a crush on us, and it makes us feel a little bit uncomfortable. So maybe I could be thinking, "oh, I don't want to give that person the wrong idea", "I need to be really clear about things", or "I need not to have any contact with that person", or "I can't just be myself around that person because I will take it as a come-on." All of these sorts of thoughts lead me to feel a little bit icky, a little bit like I want to step away, a little bit less connected to that person. They certainly don't lead me to love. And if love was just something that you could give someone, surely the fact that they love me would make me feel love. But it doesn't because I have different thoughts about it.

And so what happens in a different scenario when I think someone doesn't love me? It could be a situation where I'm thinking that I feel rejected, that I feel hurt, that I feel abandoned. They feel like I'm not good enough. I could start questioning what I've done to cause them to not think that I'm worthy of the love thang. Whatever it is that's going on for me, that is going to lead me to a place where I feel very fragile, very pained, very destructive, and probably very disconnected from the relationship. They didn't take any love away from me. They didn't have the capacity to take an emotion out of my heart and go and put it on ebay, tell me that I can't have it anymore.

My thoughts cause these sensations I'm having in my body. And so let's have a look at the opposite of that. When I think that someone doesn't love me and I don't care about it, could that be possible? Well, I think there's a load of politicians I think don't love me very much. I think some of the decisions that are made towards disabled people in our society show quite a lack of love on a number of levels. Do I feel like them taking love away from me has cost me anything? I mean, probably in practical terms, but emotionally, I don't feel bereft by the fact that they do not consider me. I don't feel like if Boris Johnson came to me and said, "I don't love you. I don't love you anymore, Anna". And I'd be like, yeah, you do you honey. I think we're both good here. There is no feeling of someone having sort of taken something very precious away from me. And the scenario is still the same. It isn't that he took love away from me; it's just I'm having different thoughts, and so I'm feeling different things.

And what about when someone thinks that I love them? Well, maybe they might be thinking, "this is really nice", "I quite enjoy this", "this is a bit of external validation", "I feel a bit special" or whatever... I should probably have more conversations about this. Ask people what do they think when they think that I love them? What does that give me? That gives me a feeling of I love letting my friends know that I love them. I tell people that I love them to the ends of the earth regularly. I would doubt you would find a social group that is more informed of how much love I have. I dish my love out to my friends willy nilly. I want people to know there is no chance I feel that I will ever reach my grave and my friends will have any kind of ambiguity about how I felt about them. I profess my love left, right and centre, and I love doing that. When I think of love in my life, one of the thoughts that I have isn't one that I've ever really contemplated, I'm just talking to you now, but I think one of the thoughts that I have about love is that I don't ever want to reach a point where I have any regrets about love. I want to sing my Love from the Mountaintops and let people know how much I care. I want to profess that I don't ever want to be in a situation where I feel like I should have done more, I should have said more. I hope they know that I love them because, damn, my mates know that I love them. As in my family and everybody else. I sing it loudly to the world because it's important to me that I don't think of love as a finite resource and I dish it out wherever I possibly can.

And when I say dish it out, that gives me a good feeling. It's not like I transpose like this little slice of pie into someone else's heart and they get to feel all the warm fuzzies. Some people might be like, "Oh mate..." in fact, I've even had friends be like, "Yeah, no, you need to tighten that down a little bit. It makes me really uncomfortable..." I do it from a place of this is what I choose to do, because it makes me feel really nice. And that might sound like a weirdly selfish way of approaching love, but actually, that's why we all do anything. We do it because we want to feel a particular way about something.

And so it might have come in with a very peculiar title of this podcast that we can't make other people love us. But I hope that these different scenarios have given you some food for thought about where in your life you feel like you are able to give someone else love and it is benefiting them. Where are you trying to give someone love in a way that they might not be receiving it? And you feel a little bit resentful because, damn it, why can't they just see that you're trying your best? And where are you not giving yourself the kind of love that, frankly, you are hoping to receive from others? All of these things make up a great big jigsaw of the thoughts that we have about love. And these thoughts are the things that cause our emotions, which cause our actions, which get to write the great big old love story of our life, with our life with other people and with our relationship with ourselves. There's a whole load of ideas in here for you.

I hope it's been some food for thought. See you next week.


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