The other day I came across this quote:
“Love me without restriction,
Trust me without fear,
Want me without demand and accept me for who I am.”
My initial reaction to it was – Wow! Excellent!. Then I read it again, something about it made me uneasy. My mind began to whirr. I was compelled to delve deeper to find that which was hiding behind the attractive facade.
Once the seemingly open words had their free-spirited veneer chipped away, I began to feel restricted by them. When I first read them, it was as though I was the person saying those words, so they seemed right. But then I read them as though they were being said to me, and I felt that I was being given a set of rules of interaction. As long as I followed this person’s rules, they would allow me to love them, but if I broke the rules, they would leave me because I obviously didn’t understand them or their needs.
“Love me without restriction” – is a restriction being imposed by someone who doesn’t want to be tied down, upon someone they are tying down with their words. As in, I am now telling you exactly how you must love me.
“Trust me without fear” – is a fear-inducing statement. As soon as anyone says something like that, you can be fairly certain that they are probably untrustworthy. People who are trustworthy rarely feel the need to say ‘Trust me’, as they know that they are and it would never occur to them to think that they are not. They might say it, if the other person had questioned their trustworthiness, but they would probably not add ‘without fear’. The addition of ‘without fear’ intensifies the sense that this person is not to be trusted.
“Want me without demand and accept me for who I am” – is a demand. The person saying this is doing the very thing that they do not want done to them. They are not accepting the person they are saying this to as they are, because they are telling them who they want them to be. They are demanding them to be undemanding. But what if the person at the receiving end of these words has needs too.
I flip things around a lot in my mind. Whenever someone says anything to me, especially when it is directed at me, such as a question, a criticism, or a compliment, after hearing it, rather than absorb it into myself, I tend to mirror it back at them. People, including me, talk about themselves all the time, sometimes they do it in a straightforward manner, and sometimes they do it in an indirect manner. They project themselves onto others, using others as their mirror image, detached from them, yet still a part of them.
This quote is a puzzle often encountered in relationships. What we want versus what the other wants. And what we want from others is not necessarily what we give in return. We often ask for things, behaviours, from others which we are not able or prepared to offer to them. Perhaps the reason we are asking for it is because we believe that we do not have it, or we have a very tiny supply and we guard it with our life, so we can’t give it away as it is too precious a resource. It’s tricky.
There was a time in my life when I felt very misunderstood by the world, and the thing I wanted most from others was to be understood. I craved understanding. Being misunderstood was one of my greatest fears. So much so, that I saw misunderstandings everywhere. I lived in a permanent state of being misunderstood. The frustration of it drove me up the walls and on to the ceiling to which I clung, growling, hissing, and sometimes spitting at those who were on the floor below me. I eventually fell off the ceiling, hit my head on the floor, and came to my senses. I realised that most of the misunderstandings I saw others having about me, actually belonged to me. As I assimilated this realisation, I began to turn the projection around. If I wanted to be understood, then I needed to learn to understand.
First I needed to understand myself. This was a shock. There I was demanding that others understand me, and I didn’t understand myself. Then I saw that that was partly why I wanted others to understand me, I hoped they would share their insights about me with me because I didn’t have any.
Once I had gained some understanding of myself, I turned my attention to others, and learned to understand them. Who they were, what they wanted, needed, etc. The greatest surprise I had was seeing that everyone craved understanding from others. So I tried to give it as best as I could without asking for it in return. The more I understood about others, the more I understood about myself. And strangely enough, I began to see how well others understood me.
That’s the paradox. What we want from others, we only get from them when we give it freely to them without asking for anything in return. So this person who wrote this quote, who wants love without restriction, trust without fear, to be wanted without demand, and be accepted for who they are… if they gave all of these things freely to others, they would not need to say these words at all.
So, What do you think?