In my blog post How to Heal from Toxic Relationships, I refer to the ten impostors to love. These were channelled through to me when I wrote my book A Shift to Bliss and I also refer to them in my Insight Timer Course Releasing Beliefs in Fear and Lack. We are all here to learn about love – what love is and what love is not. And we have all learned lies about love. These are love’s impostors. If we believe in any of these impostors, they will show up in our lives as painful challenges. Love is a pure vibration in and of itself. We taint love when we associate or confuse it with any of these impostors, which are all fear-based. Below are the ten most common impostors to love, followed by the truth about love.
Power and control
When we seek to control another or have power over another – “I need you to be/act this way and then I’ll feel loved” – we are acting out of fear and not honouring the other person’s freedom. We therefore disempower them from living their truth. Conversely, if we allow another person to have power and control over us, we are also in the vibration of fear and not honouring our own freedom.
The truth: Love is empowering ourselves and living in freedom, and allowing others to do the same.
Sacrificing ourselves for others has been honoured for millennia. There is no positive outcome ultimately for being a martyr and putting ourselves last. How much can we be of true service if we are depleting ourselves? When we prioritise our own needs, we re-energise ourselves, enabling us to give to others in a more empowered and loving way, and we give them permission also to put themselves first.
The truth: Love is putting ourselves first; and then giving to others.
Caretaking and pleasing
Looking after other people who can look after themselves and giving to others to either please them or control them creates dependency and does not enable others to live empowered lives. People who like to care-take and please are looking for their sense of self-worth from others. Taken to the extreme, caretaking and pleasing becomes an act of selfishness.
The truth: Love is looking after ourselves, and allowing others to do the same unless it is truly needed.
Overly relying on someone else can be confused with love. Wanting someone to depend on us or depending upon another is a form of control, and stunts our personal growth and prevents us from knowing our personal power and reaching our full potential. In close relationships there are going to be times when we or someone we love is going to depend on us, and we them – such as times of illness, grief, and challenges, but overly-relying on someone on a day-to-day basis does not come from a place of love, but from a place of fear. Truly loving relationships are inter-dependent – with a synergy of both independence and deep connection.
The truth : Love allows individual freedom as well as deep connection.
Unless it is a real emergency, the only person we can rescue is ourselves. Rescuers tend to be victims who identify strongly with other victims. They find it difficult to see others as empowered beings who are capable of fixing their own problems. Their self-worth comes from feeling like a hero.
The truth: Love is rescuing ourselves, and allowing others to rescue themselves unless there is an emergency.
Guilt has nothing to do with love, and yet many of us confuse this emotion with love. If we are acting out of guilt, we are acting out of a deep sense of inadequacy or shame within ourselves and are driven by the thoughts “I have to” and “I should” rather than “I would love to”. Guilt-ridden people also project their guilt onto others with expectations of “you have to” and “you should”.
The truth: Love’s actions come from a sense of love and genuine desire.
Idolisation and charm
Placing people, things and concepts on a pedestal will inevitably lead to disappointment when the reality of the person, thing or concept shows itself fully. Charming words can be music to our ears, but they are driven by manipulation, which is fear-based. To the extent which we have a need for love, we will hold a weakness for idolisation and charm or weave a spell on others with our charm.
The truth: Love allows us to see, hear and relate to others in an honest and realistic way.
The extreme emotional state of infatuation is often mistaken for “love”. When it wears off (and it inevitably does), we plummet into disappointment and want the “high” feelings we first experienced to return, because we don’t have enough love within ourselves to either sustain a more realistic relationship or to walk away because we have realised we were blinded by a lie.
The truth: Love is found from within first, and is consistent and grounded.
Believing that we or others must be perfect in order to be loved or lovable will ensure we will experience disappointment in love. The more we can love the “faulty” parts of ourselves, the more we can love the faulty parts of others.
The truth: Love sees beyond faults.
Taking the concept of self-love to the extreme, narcissism manifests as extreme self-centredness with a disregard for others. Genuine self-love manifests as loving ourselves first, so as to love and give to others.
The truth: Love is loving and honouring ourselves first and then loving and honouring others.
The need for love
The need for love is different to the desire for love. Desire says “I would like love”. Need says “I have to have love”. The impostors come from a sense of neediness, borne from emptiness, created by the fearful ego mind. The need for love actually pushes real love away. Emptiness attracts emptiness. Self-love is the only way forward if you want to experience truly loving relationships.