“Love is never a failure unless you miss the lesson.” - Anonymous
There's one thing that almost everyone does that guarantees your relationship will not succeed in the long term, but it’s so common that it’s hard to recognize you even do it.
I touched on this in my last email which I just sent out the other day.
This simple little thing that people do pretty much destroys your ability to truly connect - and even truly love.
It turns love into a commodity that you barter for, rather than the infinite connection that it really is!
It’s the idea and practice of “transactional love” and it’s the #1 reason why most relationships fail (and how you can “fail yourself” onto the path of learning what real, conscious love is by contrast.)
In other words, I believe, love can be divided into two major kinds: transactional love and conscious love. Much of the suffering we experience comes from our failure to tell the two apart.
What Is Transactional Love?
It's the kinda “don’t rock the boat and everyone feels good” kind of love or the “I let you stay stuck in your dysfunctional patterns, if you let me stay stuck in mine” kinda game.
It’s a sneaky kind of co dependence that creeps up on you in your relationship that leaves you feeling unsatisfied and unsupported without knowing why.
Transactional love is the kind of codependent love that must be “earned.”
Transactional love is based on bargains, reciprocates, and keeping tabs on who does what for who (and even going as far as listing it for them). What’s crazy is practically everything we call "love" in today's modern world basically falls under this category - an exchange.
The problem is that we are using love as a manipulation tool, instead of just existing in love itself - first and foremost with ourselves and then with our loved ones.
Sometimes we fail to recognize when we are “being in attachment” and we go about living our lives thinking it’s actually the “right way” to love someone.
Here’s a good example:
I have a friend who’s parents would only show him love when he did well in school, or performed well at the sporting event. If his performance wasn’t “up to par” then his parents would treat him more like an outsider.
The poor guy grew up his entire life thinking he needs to earn love by doing a good job, because not doing a good job equated to he wasn’t worthy of love.
This creates a serious emotional attachment to the outcome of “doing a good job” which means “I am only loved when I do well” that it can create an entire buffet of codependent and addictive behaviors, just for him to feel like someone cares. A perfect cocktail for relationship failure.
We tend to get attached to people because of how they move or inspire us to feel. We believe that we’re in love with a particular person when in fact we’re attached to them. If you’re not in love with WHO his human is - outside of any benefit or meaning to you - then you simply love the way they make you feel.
This means what you really need is for someone to fill a void in your life or boost your self esteem. This is why you might even feel sick when this person leaves you because you tend to feel lonely without them around. When in truth, it’s not THEM that you miss, you just miss what they can do for you.
This is why we call this kind of codependent love “transactional” and why it’s so easy to get attached this way.
The hard part is that humans LOVE TO BE attached. We get attached very quickly and easily. We get attached to objects, events, and people. We get attached to our personal belongings, a special place, routines, environment, atmosphere, almost everything.
When you love through attachment you become self-centered. You tend to feed your needs with these particular things. And people are not an exception.
Because here’s the bottom line: Love is not a transaction. You do not barter love. You don’t trade for love.
In a lot of ways, attachment is the opposite of love, even though we’ve all been trained to think otherwise. Attachment masquerades as love.
It says, “I will love this person because I need them.” Or, “I’ll love you if you’ll love me back. I’ll love you, but only if you love me the way I want.”
This isn’t love at all – it is attachment! And unhealthy attachment is rigid and controlling. It is very different from love. When there is attachment, there is clinging and fear.
So What Is Conscious Love?
The question we must ask our self is what is the type of relationship that we want to have? Do we want to have a transactional relationship, or a truly loving relationship.
Conscious love starts with yourself, you don’t dissolve in another person. You are an independent unit and you have your own life plan and goals, regardless your partner. Then your relationship will empower and amplify your life.
When you are attached, you wait for this person to fulfill your happiness, you bind yourself to him. This is a debilitating condition, when you place your well-being into someone else’s hands. Without the partner, you are lonely, discontented, broken, and incomplete.
If you find yourself in a clingy attachment, it may be necessary to take a break for growth, revelation, and enlightenment. When you are loving yourself and others consciously, a break away from your lover won’t break you.
Conscious love and connection is where one feeds the self from within love and thus shares this state of being and doing with others, meeting each other in the middle and not needing to “take” from each other - yet feed ourselves from within.
Conscious love is what it takes to dissolve harmful emotional attachments and codependency (which can lead to self sabotaging or abusive situations in relationships if left unchecked without healthy boundaries and communication in place).
This being “all in” kind of love is doing a “whatever it takes to get it done” kind of devotion. It is a shared, grounded understanding of each other that is authentic, transparent, congruent, and accepting. Conscious love knows itself with a capacity for emotional intelligence and self awareness.
Real conscious love allows, honors, and appreciates; attachment grasps, demands, needs, and aims to possess.
If we examine our attachment with compassion, we can see how it is constricted and conditional; it offers love only to certain people in certain ways—it is exclusive.
This is the definition of TRUE love. It doesn’t measure. It doesn’t compare. It just exists to be embraced, embellished and enjoyed.
And you don’t need to earn a thing.
So now let me ask …
What Kind Of Love Do YOU Have?
One type of love is transactional, co dependent, based in attachment, and displaces true feelings for neediness and addictive behaviors.
The other is independent of outcome, based in infinity, feeds itself just by existing, and leads to honest, empathetic connection between two people.
Conscious love doesn’t measure, doesn’t compare. Love just is, and loves. From this paradigm love is not transactional, it is essential, because we ARE LOVE without needing to “earn it” outside of ourselves.
When you take a step back and look at the type of love you are giving and receiving, and see it in this way, it puts a lot of things into perspective.