Are you on a treadmill?

‘You don’t tell someone you love them; you DO things for them!’

This was the comment mum would often make after I told her I loved her. In truth, I would say this when she was angry because I wanted to prevent any punishment coming my way. I wanted her to love me. This was the beginning of my life-long journey of trying to make people happy. Now I understand that my mother was not in a place to receive love, so my comment annoyed her.

These words come back to me again and again as I interact with people each day. I have often pondered them, as they have a ring a truth. She did have a point; sometimes it is easier use words to avoid acting. But are these words true in every situation?

Our receptivity to love is determined by how we perceive it. In my relationship with my mother, I was not the only party to the transaction; mum also needed to do something.

Trying to please people is the same. It takes two to make a relationship; what you do for me is only part of the story. I must choose to be pleased by your actions. It is important to understand this, or you will find yourself stuck on a treadmill just like I was, working hard but never achieving. It is a cycle with no end. I spent my life trying to ease other’s pain by making them happy so that I would be loved.

But the truth is, no one can make us happy; it is our choice to be happy. Nor can anyone make us feel loved. These things do not come from an external source. Buying a new car, or latest mobile phone brings us short term pleasure, but they do not bring lasting happiness. A new relationship may bring feelings of love, but both parties must work at the relationship to keep that love alive.

Over time I have learned that my effort to make others happy was my attempt at satisfying my mother’s needs so that she would love me. But it never worked because mum had to make the decision to love me herself. Even if she had given me love I could not have accepted it as genuine because I had worked for it. Because true love is a gift; it cannot be earned.

Are you caught on treadmill? What is your motivation? I hope you can find love for yourself within. Message me for a chat.

In love, Jenny

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