Love isn’t psychic. People who love us, whether they are friends, family, or partners, aren’t granted magical mind-reading abilities along with that love. Now, when I state it that way, people tend to nod their heads and say, “of course love doesn’t grant mind-reading abilities.” Because it sounds silly to say that people who love us should be able to read our minds. And none of us wants to be silly.
But here’s the thing. Whether you like it or not, most of us are a bit silly when it comes to interpreting love. We want our friends and partners to “know what we need.” If we are sad, we want them to understand how to comfort us. If we are angry, we want them to “get it.” If we are feeling insecure, we want to be reassured. None of those wants are problems in and of themselves. Comfort, understanding, reassurance and connection are all essential parts of relationships.Instead, we expect our friends, family and partners to just know what we need. And provide it. In other words, we expect love to be psychic.
This expectation–that those who love us will automatically know and meet our needs–is fairly common. I hear it from almost every individual and couple that I work with. I know that I have caught myself expecting my family or my partner to love me in the way that I need, even when I haven’t communicated that need clearly. This kind of expectation can do real damage to relationships.
Giving Love a Chance
When you expect your needs to be met, but you haven’t clearly communicated how that will happen, it is really unlikely that your needs will be met. Instead, your friends, family and partners may try to care for you according to their own needs. For example, I really like having a clean house. One of the ways that I care for my family and partner is to keep the daily household tasks going. But if they need to be hugged to meet their definition of love, my clean kitchen is going to fall short. I need to show love according to their needs, not mine.
Understanding that love is not psychic is even more important when you are coping with serious illness or other stresses. So this week, I am inviting you to explore your own relationship expectations. Are there things that you want and need that you might not be communicating clearly?Instead, it is asking your loved ones to be psychic. If you reflect back on the past week or month and you have often felt as though you’re not being heard or cared for, you might be asking the love in your life to be psychic.
Does this sound familiar to you? Please feel free to share in the comments. Next week, we’ll look at some ways to more clearly communicate your needs.