You can’t possess anyone.
You have a girl you like and you want to get that girl. Well, no, you can’t get that girl. You can’t get what you can’t have. You have a boyfriend. But it doesn’t mean you own him. So, if you want to keep him… no, you can’t do that. You want to get your ex back? No, you can’t get back what you didn’t own.
Does this sound familiar to you? It does to me. I’ve been there.
I’m not saying that you can’t have a relationship with that girl you like or your boyfriend or your ex. I believe you can, and I believe there’s a better way of thinking than possessive thinking.
If you are possessive, you don’t allow your partner to do certain things, because those things upset you and in reality you only care about yourself (and the attention you get from your partner). You focus on just you rather than focusing on a person you want to build a relationship with, your partner, or both you and your partner. When it’s only about you and there is no focus on your partner, there’s something wrong with that relationship. A relationship between you and your partner should be about both of you. Not just you or the other person.
I’ve been thinking about love these days. It might take my entire life to get crystal clear understanding of what it means to love, but what I believe is that loving is not about binding others, but being curious about them, accepting who they are and trying your best to bring out the best in them. So, in my understanding, possessive thinking doesn’t go along with loving.
I bet we all have this “look at me” attitude to some extent and I think it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if you don’t know how to take care of yourself and you need to constantly seek approval, acceptance and/or attention from your partner, then you need to learn how to love yourself before demanding attention from your partner. If you don’t know how to love yourself, you don’t know how to love others either.
Now, it seems possible that there are people who don’t know how to love themselves while being curious about others, accepting who they are and trying their best to bring out the best in them. But the thing is, if they don’t know how to love themselves and, in fact, don’t love themselves, I believe it’s more likely that they can’t accept a certain aspect of people who love them – that is, the fact that these people love them. To put what I said in a single sentence from their point of view, it looks like this: “I accept who you are and what you do, except that you love me – I disagree with you and don’t accept that one, because I don’t love myself”. So, who’s afraid of loving and being loved?
When I think of a non-possessive relationship, what comes to my mind is a connection between two people. Here’s an alternative to the possessive kind of relationship with which people try to own their partner. In this alternative, you don’t own him and he doesn’t own you, but you guys are in a relationship and it means that there is a connection between both of you. Instead of trying to own others, why don’t we create a connection with them?
When you focus on cultivating a relationship by creating and deepening a connection, I believe that such a relationship will become much stronger and more fulfilling and even rewarding. The reason why I believe this is because such a process requires two of you to cooperate with one another in cultivating a relationship. That kind of cooperation will provide better experiences for both of you and help both of you grow together.
I believe sharing similarities is how we get closer and create a connection between us. Likewise, sharing the same values, sharing curiosity towards one another, and sharing the same journey of growing up together are great ways to create and to deepen a connection too.
When you think about relationships in terms of connection building rather than possession, I believe your interaction with others will change.
Let’s go back to the three situations we looked at in the very beginning of this post and see them from the connection building perspective.
Instead of getting that girl, you interact with her so you can build a connection with her. Now it’s not about taking something from her, but it’s about sharing experiences together.
Instead of keeping your boyfriend, your interaction with him is about deepening a connection with him. It’s not about putting him into a cage and worrying about when you might lose him. Now it’s about going on an adventure together as two free wanderers.
Instead of trying to get your ex back, you understand that it’s up to your ex to choose whether to leave you or not. I know it’s hard, but letting your partner go can be an act of love. Now it’s not about regretting what you should have done and what you shouldn’t have done, but it’s about celebrating what you and your ex did and the journey you guys shared together.
The bonus for looking at things this way is that what you learnt and experienced through building connections with people you love can stay with you even when these people leave you for whatever reason. You enrich your life and create your life as your art this way.
The take away message of this post? Stop possessive thinking and start loving better.