Achieving Happiness Column
By Tom Muha, Ph.D.
AFRAID TO BE LOVED
people are afraid to be loved because they fear being hurt again.
they lost their mom or dad when they were young, or had painful relationship
with a parent. Maybe they’ve been betrayed in a relationship as an adult.
doesn’t really matter what has created their fear of letting someone get close,
individuals who feel unloved need to recognize that they are keeping people at
a safe distance.
who suffer from lack of love find themselves becoming ambivalent as another
person gets closer. As intimacy increases, they begin to look for any problems,
mistakes or weakness that their partner may exhibit.
course, since people aren’t perfect, they’ll always find the other person’s
flaws. If you’re going to have love in your life, you’re also going to have
pain. No partner can be perfect (your self included), so problems are
a dilemma. Love is the best feeling in the world, but to have it you have to
endure the painful parts of a relationship as well.
a person to do? The first thing is to recognize that the past cannot be
changed. The only useful purpose the past can play is to offer you lessons that
can be used in the present.
everyone has been hurt in the past. To be able to get over it and go on to
giving yourself the gift of a satisfying love life means mastering the art of
neutralizes your feelings about the past, freeing you up to make choices about where your life is
headed. The present is the only place that you have any power.
brings us to step two - where do you want to end up? Do you have a vision of
yourself being happy? Can you see yourself relishing being a loving
can only move forward to a good place if you know what that place will be like
for you when you get there. To make choices about how to proceed in the here
and now requires that you have a destination in mind.
is how what you’ve learned in the past about yourself can be helpful. Read that
sentence again. Notice that it doesn’t mention other people.
lessons that have any value are always about how we can change our own
behavior. We have no control over others, and to try to exert such control is
an exercise in frustration and futility.
instead on what can you learn from past problems that will help you make
different choices in the present. Perhaps you need to pick a different type of
partner, but most likely you need to learn how to deal the problems you have
with the person you’re with now.
you contain the conflicts that arise or do you let them contaminate the entire
relationship? Containing conflict requires that you tell yourself that the
problem will subside shortly and that you can maintain a good connection in
other aspects of your life together.
leads you to the third step. You must go on to create positive experiences with
your partner regardless of where the relationship stands.
I don’t feel like it,” people whine. “My partner did this bad thing and I can’t
make myself to do something nice for them.”
You can make whatever choice you want. Do you always feel like doing what you
have to do to keep your job? Of course not, but you do it anyhow because you
want the paycheck.
same principle applies here. If you want a positive payoff in your personal
life there will be times that you have to do things that you don’t feel like
it feels good to have done a good job, to have received rewards and recognition,
and even to have been promoted to a higher level.
there are problems at work, you put more energy into the situation to turn it
around. What makes you think that you don’t have to do the same thing at home?
of yourself as being your own personal CEO. As the leader of your life, you are
responsible for using your values to develop a vision of the future, as well as
being committed to doing whatever it takes to get there.
addition, you must motivate others to help you in your efforts by providing
encouragement to get them going in the right direction and plenty of positive
reinforcement to keep them moving.
Tom Muha is a psychologist in
Annapolis. He welcomes your comments and questions. To contact him call (443)
454-7274 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.