1. You doubt the possibility of something because it’s never happened before.
There are certain habits and routines that are good for us. But sometimes bad habits come about when people doubt their ability to change, and therefore, they steer clear of things that can be good for them. Love and change are both natural occurrences that take place in the human mind. They can make life challenging but are rewarding in the grand scheme of things. If you keep doubting that those things can happen to you, then they simply won’t, and you will keep ending up with people who are a reflection of your current self.
If your mind is telling you that someone is too different than you, too good for you, or just “too [anything]” for you, then your ego is just inhibiting your ability to love. You can change and adapt to be with somebody, but the first step is stepping outside your ego and accepting the possibility that anything can happen.
2. You need instant gratification.
In the digital age, it’s so easy to get information about absolutely anything in just a few short seconds. It’s also easy to find what we like to think of as love or a relationship by swiping on a screen for less than an hour each day, or getting the phone number of someone we are attracted to and exchanging a couple text messages. But in those first few stages of relationship building where passion runs high and consideration of the repercussions of our actions runs low, there is less thinking about how to please another person and more thinking about the superficial parts of that person that “mesh” well with our self.
Let me say this loud for the people in the back. There is no way to know if you mesh well with a person instantly. You might think, “Oh, well I’m an orange and this person is an apple, so let me move over to this dating app, where I can meet other apples.” But there are many different kinds of fruit. The important parts of learning to love someone unconditionally are realizing that we all fundamentally want the same things, but it’s going to take time to really get to the core of that person in order to learn and understand them.
3. You think being detached is better than feeling pain.
I’ve recently been hearing the popular opinion that “not caring about anything” is the best way to live your life because then you can avoid expectations or disappointment. While I agree to a certain extent that not caring about what people think of you and just worrying about yourself is freeing and stress-free, I also think we should be wary of becoming too detached from other people’s emotions.
As human beings, we have emotional responses to everything. Emotions are not something that can easily be turned off and on, but like anything else, we train our brains to respond a certain way through habit. Some people remain set on their own thought process when they get used to relying on their own self for everything. They become so independent that they inhibit their ability to love people who have a tendency to react to other people’s emotions.
However, we become reattached when we become self-aware. You can start to consider, how are you processing your emotions? Are there certain situations in which you acknowledge emotions, and others where you decide to completely ignore them all together? Are you forcing your emotions down more often than you are bringing them up? There is a time and a place for detaching yourself from pain, but be careful to detach so much that your flight or flight response kicks in every time someone triggers an emotional response from you.
4. Your emotional detachment from your own life is affecting how you treat other people.
In any sort of relationship, we will need to put ego aside in order to be sensitive to other people’s emotional and psychological responses. Putting ego aside is being able to recognize that everyone will have an emotional reaction of some sort to your behavior and it won’t always be the response you have predetermined.
If you are constantly tuning out instead of dealing with your own problems, that does not mean that someone else should do the same.
People who are more in tune with their emotions are not crazy, psychologically damaged, or unhealthy. In fact, it is much healthier to be in tune with those emotions and outwardly express them than to expect someone to detach just because you have grown accustomed to hiding your own emotions. It’s the same thing as telling someone to “man up,” or to hide how they truly feel and just keep things casual. That causes depression, as well as an inability to love.
5. You believe one way of thinking is the only way of thinking.
Similar to thinking all people have the ability to tune out of their emotions, you may think there is one solution to every problem. For example, if you think that the best way to get attention from someone is to play hard to get, you may tell someone who is more forward that their way of getting attention is wrong. But, just because someone goes about something a different way than you do, that does not make them wrong. People will experience things in their own way, even though it may be different than yours. They may fail a million times before they get it right, but it’s not up to you and your ego to decide how they should reach their conclusions.
6. You do not practice what you preach.
More often than not, people won’t see everything eye to eye. Part of the beauty of human nature is that no two people will ever be exactly the same, and we can learn a lot from observing the way other people handle situations. We also can learn a lot by holding ourselves to the same standards that we hold others. For example, if you want to tell someone to be less stubborn with their viewpoint, then you need to be less stubborn when they ask you to see something from their perspective.
If you’re constantly telling someone how to behave, chances are you are not recognizing the inconsistency of your own behavior. You can profess your beliefs and ideals all you want, but if there’s no consistency in your own actions, then you should probably check your ego at the door before telling someone how to conduct themselves.
7. You project your personal experiences onto someone as a solution to their problems.
Not only is it important to practice what you preach, but it is also important to keep an open mind when other people are coming to conclusions. Ego is when you see or experience something and then define your beliefs about that experience as an absolute truth. For example, you might say something like, “Well, I know a girl who broke up with her boyfriend because he didn’t pay a lot of attention to her, so all girls are needy,” or, “Guys can only think with one part of their brain, and are all only after one thing.”
It’s another way of saying, “Well, I’ve always done or seen something this way, so I thought that’s what everybody else did.”
You will not be able to unconditionally love somebody if you’re too caught up in your own way of thinking, and it is extremely toxic and unhealthy behavior to try to convince someone to think the same exact way you do.
8. You don’t want to be in love.
There are so many ways people stop themselves from loving. Whether they think they’re too busy, they’re stuck in their own mentality, they’re too concerned with their individuality, they have emotional baggage they aren’t dealing with, or they’re using their past experiences as excuses; sometimes, the answer is still black or white.
It might sound simple, but if you don’t want to be in love, you never will be. You may think you like the idea of someone, or come close to love a million times, but when you stop yourself short, you’re giving into your ego telling you that you’re just better off on your own.
Everyone has an ego, but everyone also has the ability to make themselves and other people happy. The choice is simply yours to make.