No committed Relationships, emotional independence, virtual ‘connection’… Protective Shields which disregard our need for love. You receive more messages per day than the ones you can answer, communication is constant and still, you go to bed alone. Does this ring a bell? We try at all cost avoiding emotional dependency, and yet every day there are more Divorces, more physical Disconnection and more Depression. How can this be?
I have met lots of women and men who live constantly running away from commitment and love, running away from exposing themselves and opening wide: Maybe it is due to fear that magic will vanish, or fear of disappointing others when showing their authentic self, or fear of becoming dependent, or fear of feeling love and end up suffering. The thing is you try to protect your vulnerability and as a consequence, you sacrifice the possibility of fulfiling one of your most essential needs!
I have been getting into the wonderful work of Tony Robbins for a long time now and thanks to him I have learnt how important it is to take our basic needs into account! According to him, we have 6: Certainty, Variety, Love and Connection, Significance, Contribution and Growth. Our main mission is to fulfil these needs. Love and Connection is one of them. That is why, when we close down to love and the commitment than relationships require, we lose a huge opportunity to satisfy this basic need.
We NEED love
Yes, we need it. We are social beings. As Brené Brown explains, it is important to feel that we belong to a group and that we are accepted and loved as we are. There are many ways to get to that feeling and one of them is through romantic relationships or couples.
A relationship becomes unbreakable when the 6 needs are fulfilled on both sides – When you are able to focus on your partner’s needs, and your partner is able to do the same with yours. This includes the need for connection and love. If you want to meet this need for your partner and for your relationship it is important that:
- You don’t put your feelings in doubt every time there is a conflict
- You are aware that real connection is not possible if you don’t show your vulnerability and get rid of your masks
- You understand that love and connection weakened as soon as guilt and shame become part of your interactions with your partner
If I need love, does that mean that I am emotionally dependent?
There is a difference between needing love and connection and being emotionally dependent on someone. When your happiness relies on other person – You cannot be happy if the other person is not present – you are dependent.
Meeting your 6 basic needs is your responsibility. You become dependent when you leave ONE SINGLE person in charge of meeting your needs. In each relationship of your life, including the one you have with yourself, you have an opportunity to meet your 6 basic needs. It is important to note that wanting to fulfil them is natural!
In a way, we all have emotional dependencies in some level. What would life be like without any affectionate interaction?
Committing to look after a relationship and satisfying the needs of the person you share your relationship with does not make you dependent.
Committing means daring to Connect Consciously!
Committing requires vulnerability. This is because when you commit and you show your love opening wide (Without games or strategies), you expose yourself to the possibility that love might not be reciprocal or that your need for love and connection might not be fulfiled within the relationship.
There is a reason why many times we don’t get to meet our need for love and connection in our relationships: We have a natural tendency to give what we believe the other person needs based on what we would need in their same situation.
Many times there is love, but it is not expressed. If love is not expressed, probably it is not received. Assuming there is love is not enough. When you are in a relationship and your need for love is not fulfiled, it is normal that you avoid commitment, and that you look for a way to run away and protect yourself.
The problem is that when you avoid vulnerability at all costs, you experience life inside the shield: Neither bullets kill you nor hugs recharge you.
For a moment, close your eyes and visualise the 3 most important people in your life: When was the last time that you hug them for more than 10 seconds?
The other day I discovered the 8×8 rule to reduce stress. As Evan Brand told Melissa Ambrosini on her podcast: Every day make sure you give at least 8 hugs and 8 kisses (You can even hug a tree), but this is important for maintaining oxytocin levels balanced and prevent anxiety. When they were talking about hugs, they weren’t referring to this kind of greeting-goodbye sort of hugs, when they were talking about kisses they weren’t talking about the two kisses you give someone when you meet for the first time. They were talking about hugs that last at least 10 seconds, and meaningful kisses. However, how many days do we break this rule? So busy, so absorbed by social media, all ‘connected’ constantly missing opportunities for real connection.
You are not emotionally dependent for needing a hug, a kiss or a word of affirmation. If we want to avoid the Worldwide Depression Epidemy that we suffer nowadays, reduce the number of Divorces (which btw goes up every year) and reduce as well the physical Disconnection caused by the excess of virtual connection… Then, we need to Dare to Give Unconditional Love: Show our vulnerability, listen and understand to each other, expose ourselves and becoming the first ones who give that hug which breaks the ice!
‘We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.’ -Virginia Satir.
Ps: Today’s photo is the cover of NY Times about the 8M Equality Riot in Spain! I choose this photo because that was (without doubts) the moment of the week where I felt most love and connection! I think this image is a good reminder of how important and transformative committing can be and how amazing it is to feel the warmth of millions of people walking in your same direction. Committing is as necessary as the change we are creating in the world!