If you asked me, “Is it possible to love too much?” My first response would be, “Of course not!”
After all, Lead with Love has been my mantra for years while raising two daughters, one with autism.
Yet I think I may be guilty of being too focused on making my loved ones happy. Because of this, I refrain from sharing my honest opinions or knowledge. To be completely transparent, I would say that most of the time I am not even tuned into my own feelings enough to have an opinion. But all of that is changing…..
So, the other day my husband said to me, “You know you said something really powerful last night.”
That surprised me. Not because I didn’t believe him, but because often I’m not sure if he’s really listening or getting what I’m saying. You know it’s that Mars versus Venus thing.
So what did I say that was so powerful?
I said, “Do you think we enable each other……?”
It’s pretty simple on the surface, yet much deeper once you dig in.
Here’s why I brought it up. Honestly, it was an intuitive hit. Once I tuned in and trusted that inner voice, then the thought morphed into a major light bulb moment.
You see, I want him to be happy. And he wants me to be happy. Which is a beautiful thing because we’ve loved each other very deeply for along time.
But recently, when he was struggling with a decision, I wasn’t being honest with him. I wasn’t telling him what I really thought. And it wasn’t the first time that I held back.
My AHA moment came with realizing that I wasn’t helping by simply giving him the answers I thought he wanted to hear and not sharing my honest opinion. By going along, I am not only placating him, I’m disempowering myself by not revealing my true feelings.
This happens to many of us, especially those who are weary of conflict or confrontation, are sensitive to others, or fear rejection or abandonment. It happens not only with our spouses or partners, but also with our children, our own parents, friends, siblings and even colleagues. It’s even true for our selves. The same fear that stops us from sharing with others stops us from owning our own truth and power.
If you look up enable in the dictionary or thesaurus, you will see one of its synonyms is empower. Yet, this is surprising. While enable and empower both have positive intentions, they are two very different things. When you enable someone, you are not teaching the other person to be more independent, self sufficient or self directed. Where as, when you empower someone, you are facilitating self competency, self confidence and self direction.
Following this line of thinking, it seems that fear is the force behind enabling another. Where as, love is the force behind empowering another.
While the instinct to help others, especially the ones closest to us, is incredibly noble, it is something that we’ve been taught to do without thinking about what it really means. To put it in perspective, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you often ignore your own needs and desires so you can help someone else?
Do you take on responsibility effortlessly but then later resent it?
Do you feel numb to your own emotions or struggle to express your feelings?
Do you continue to offer help even when it’s not being reciprocated, appreciated or even acknowledged?
Back to my story, since that conversation with my husband, I have an increased awareness of sharing my truth, even if the instinct is still there to simply indulge him in sweet and sappy unconditional love. Awareness is always the first step towards transformation. Self awareness is super important because more often than not our friends and family will tell us what we want to hear. Just like me, they will enable us even if it is a very subtle thing. And that does not help us to grow, transform or act on our deeper purpose. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be empowered than enabled?
When we let go of control and surrender to God or the Universe……..when we learn we are not separate from each other or from the Source…………………….then and only then, are we are open to learn the greatest lesson of all ——————
How to love and accept ourselves❤️