Consciously Creating Culture

When Love Becomes A Battlefield

Put down your weapons, drop your armor, and retreat

Growth is the most important result of any relationship (sketch by Michelle Rose)

Why do we lash out and hurt the people we claim to love? Because we have given them our affection, care, attention, and trust; they seem to be the most capable of hurting us. Often, we irrationally fear any future pain — remnants of suffering we’ve felt before — so we strike out first to avoid letting them inflict familiar wounds. We provoke each other to bring out the worst in them and in ourselves. We may assign blame to the other party, but subconsciously recognize that we are at fault.

This cycle has both negative ramifications and positive benefits that far exceed the relationship we’re in. We may not realize that we are only hurting ourselves, and that our actions can manifest on a universal level. Simultaneously we are invited to learn, to heal, and to radiate newfound self-love.

But what can we do to quash these paradoxical and counterintuitive defense mechanisms? How can we better interact with those we care about, to reach understanding within relationships and within ourselves? How can we face our fears instead of simply avoiding love?

There are plenty of old adages that come to mind about love, and they are perpetuated in pop culture: “Love Hurts”, “Love Stinks”, “Love Bites”, “Love Is A Battlefield” — to name only a few song titles that give our most precious emotion a bad rap. But I believe our collective consciousness needs to prioritize seeing that love is helpful, wonderful, life-affirming, and life-altering — if we can just view it for what it adds to our life, not primarily for what it subtracts. I wonder if these persistent themes of love being bad have a damning effect on what we expect from our connections, and cause us to stop short of reflection by rejecting people as simply being wrong for us, or by dismissing a relationship as simply bad timing.

If your love life has become a battlefield, it’s time to put down your weapons, drop your armor, and retreat. It’s one of the most difficult things to do, because we can so easily become triggered to defend ourselves and perpetuate a bad situation, and because we tend to feel lost outside of our relationships. In modern society, communication, empathy, and resonance with another human being can be one of the most uplifting things we look forward to amidst our busy and solitary lives. And it’s only natural to need someone else — after all, each and every one of us is begotten of two parents forming a union. There is no life without connection.

Yet we resist. We put up shields against love, we arm ourselves, and we either rush toward the other with overly cautious excitement, or we pretend we’re indifferent. Many of our fears were instilled during childhood, paradoxically, as a result of that very union that brought us into the world; and how our parents dealt with each other and/or treated us. So the best way to understand our resistance to love and our triggers within it, is to look back and deeply analyze where we may have been traumatized as children. It’s inevitable that these issues will continue to bubble up to the surface in our adult relationships until we’ve confronted them and done the inner work to address them and forgive ourselves for allowing them to continue.

We may assign blame for many things — for both the past hurts, and the present pain & fear. But truly it is up to us. We must retreat into ourselves and work within, in order to radiate positively without. We must heal ourselves rather than expecting anyone else to do the dirty work for us. We must understand ourselves fully before we can expect anyone else to understand us, and instead of trying to understand others. Even on a larger scale, we must fix our own flaws before we can expect society to change for the better. We must respect and appreciate others for showing us our shadow and forcing us to own up to our faults, but still care for ourselves the most in order to continue growing, instead of wallowing or falling victim to self-destruction.

We are the ones who hurt ourselves most. Not others. Rather than putting up extreme boundaries against those we love — building walls and moats to prevent their encroachment on our lives, I invite us all to improve our own castle. No, not fortifying it against attack, not rigging it with traps, nor making it impenetrable — but beautifying it in such a way that we don’t seek our comfort, our security, our home in someone else’s castle. Becoming defensive or preempting attack only makes us more vulnerable to distraction, disillusionment, and decay.

Decorating our castle with the best parts of us will ultimately be what keeps us happy in life, content within ourselves, and in full connection & collaboration with our spirit. Only from a shining, sparkling, beautiful palace can we achieve our greatest purpose: to connect from a place of joy, peace, and serenity. To give and receive love in the remarkably pristine and divine way in which it’s intended. To heal ourselves in order that the world might heal itself too.

Each relationship, no matter its duration or magnitude, has the unique ability to push us further in our growth. Let’s treat every new person who sparks our interest and enters our life as a fresh opportunity to learn about ourselves. If we can attune our ear to the emotions that come up, to the wounds that get exposed, and to the greater lessons coming through — we can work to incorporate only the best aspects each time we falter in relationships, in order to ensure our personal enrichment and survival — rather than casting a blind eye or tortured viewpoint of love. We become better people, more harmonious, more equipped to handle life on our own, and more endowed with wisdom to relate with others in the healthiest ways.

All of our hearts depend on each one of us to go within, transmute our pain, and carry on in self-assured security. Every battle can be a victory if we let it. No weapons, no armor, only love.

Do you speak flowers? Michelle is an artist, clothing designer, singer-songwriter (Miss Jupiter), and boutique proprietress (Spacedust) residing in Los Angeles.

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