The greatest proof of love is to let the beloved one be themselves. It is also a great sign of maturity. And it is very difficult to put into practice because the society “programmed” us to own. In a culture where the more valuable person is who more has, it is difficult not to extrapolate this concept even to interpersonal relationships. Then we become possessive.
The origin of possessiveness lies in fear of loss
As soon as we have something, as soon as we feel something belongs to us, we are afraid of losing it. And the more we cling to possession or the more we love this person, the greater the fear.
In many cases this fear of loss depends on past experiences, especially from childhood, that left painful scars in our brain. It has been noted that people who have suffered loss in their childhood or who have not received enough attention, tend to develop an insecure attachment that leads them to depend on others or want to control their lives. These people are constantly looking for attention and don’t want to share that special person with anyone for fear of losing it, and this will make them feel the impotence feelings they experienced when they were children.
But there may be other reasons why a person develops this possessive attitude. In fact, possessiveness always involves insecurity and low self-esteem. Insecure people tend to be more possessive because they are more afraid of losing what they have gained and, at the bottom, they believe they do not deserve it.
The problem is that these people, instead of analyzing where possessiveness comes from, try to counter their fears and insecurities with greater control.
The perverse dynamic of control
“There was once a monk follower of Buddha. The monk wandered day and night in search of illumination. He carried with him a wooden statue of the Buddha who had carved himself and burned incense every day before the statue and worshiped the Buddha.
One day, he came to a quiet village and decided to spend a few days there. He stayed in a Buddhist temple where there were several Buddha statues. The monk continued to follow his daily routine, burning incense in front of his statue in the temple, but he did not like the idea that the smoke of the incense burning for his statue would come to the others.
Then he had an idea: he put a funnel in front of his statue so that the smell of incense came only to his statue. After a few days, he noticed that the nose of his statue was black and ugly because of the smell of incense.”
This simple parable shows us what can happen when possessiveness blinds us. In fact, it is not difficult to fall into behaviors similar to those of the monk and end up strangling the person we love. However, the curious aspect of the control is that the more we apply it and the more we want to apply it to everything, but this will become more elusive.
To love and let it be you need to change your mindset
– Do not confuse attachment with love. Possessiveness often results from confusion: we erroneously interpret our attachment as love. Attachment is a superficial emotion that binds us, while love is a deeper feeling that frees us. Loving someone is let him or her free, binding someone means living an addiction. Thus, possessiveness is a form of attachment that does not reflect love, but our desire and need to control.
– Let go the need to control. Possessiveness comes from insecurity, which we try to mitigate through control, because this gives us the illusion of security. But when you realize that in reality the control you exercise is minimal, because at any time life can tear you something or someone, then you know that it makes no sense to waste so much energy unnecessarily. Then a small miracle happens: instead of trying to control, you strive to enjoy more that person or the things you have.
– Cultivate your “ego”. The emotional dependence on others and the desire to control them arise when we feel that we are unable to meet our needs. When we have a mature “ego”, when we have confidence in our abilities and are connected with our emotions and feelings, possessiveness disappears, simply because we no longer need it. Therefore, for loving without domination or dependence, it is necessary to carry out a profound inner work.
– Assume that everyone has the right to be. We don’t act well toward the others when we impose our opinions and ways to do things on them. So do not make the mistake of trying to impose your way of seeing the world to “help” the other. No one is obliged to meet our expectations so that the greatest gift we can make is to allow those we love to be themselves, and accept them unconditionally.
Fritz Perls summarized this idea very well:
I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.