From the time a child is born, adults are aware that protecting is an essential expression of love. I remember my step-son, who lived in a city at the time, renting a car to visit us (in the country) for the first time after his daughter was born. He insured that her car seat was properly installed, her eyes were shielded from the glare of the sun, and her view out the window was unobstructed. He wanted to protect her from dangers from without (another car, the sun) and from within (insufficient stimulation). Attuned to her needs and reactions, his love came through in his attentive behavior.
As children grow, they need to assume ever more responsibility for their own well-being. Nonetheless, in adult life, we still need protection. Finding it from and providing it to those we love can create a sense of safety and partnership as long as we understand that their actions and concerns (or ours) spring from desires to help and not to interfere, criticize, or “know better.”
What is protecting and how can it show love?
How do we express love through protecting?
We intervene in the event of imminent danger. Boundaries might be overridden in times of imminent danger. We intervene to alert someone to the path of a car he or she does not see, setting aside our own preoccupations and activities when we spot real risk. An internal threat, when he or she might be tempted to act without thinking, out of anger or frustration or fear, can also require intervention if the potential consequences of a misstep are serious.
Why does protecting show love?
When was the last time you reached out to protect someone you love? What was his or her response? How did you feel? If you were rebuffed, were you able to explore the situation together until you both understood where the communication went astray? Think of a time when you felt protected. What was the danger? The protection? Your response?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower
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