Are You Using Bad Behavior to Test Love?

For a child, attention is survival. If a child doesn’t have the attention of their parent, they are unable to meet their vital needs. So children often learn that attention is important by any means necessary. A child will even take negative attention, if they can’t get positive affirmation or love. Bad behavior on the part of the child draws the attention of the parent by creating worry, anger and an energy exchange.

As the child grows older, this behavior may continue but it takes on a different form as society requires some form of sophistication with age. The former child has learned that any type of attention is good even when the exchanges are negative. It has been reinforced that misbehavior is the only way to get attention from the person that you love. This can often creep into relationships.

Negative self-image can wreak havoc in relationships. If you are using bad behavior, you are testing the limits of unconditional love. Instead of creating a bond that nourishes and inspires, the relationship is constantly tested by mistakes, misunderstandings and disrespect. One will continually create situations where they must be forgiven so they can recognize that they are being loved. The subconscious question at play in the relationship is: how bad do I need to be before you will give up?

“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.” ― Steve Hall

The bad thing about testing boundaries is that eventually you will reach the boundary. Once you reach it, you may not have an opportunity to repair the relationship. You may have pushed the relationship to its breaking point. A loving partner is not the same as a parent. While they may try to give unconditional love, constant testing can break the love bond and leave the partner feeling depressed and forgotten in the relationship. The focus is always on the needs of the misbehaving partner which leaves the other partner neglected.

The important thing is to recognize that you are in this pattern. The people in the relationship have two options: either walk away or heal. If you want to heal, the misbehaving partner has to learn how to recognize the love that their partner is already providing. They need to curb their bad behavior and focus instead on the needs of their partner. They have to learn how to earn love through good behavior rather than to continue to test love.

The other partner must create boundaries and let the misbehaving partner know that all past behavior is now unacceptable. The couple must create a new relationship that focuses on fulfilling the need of both partners. Bad behavior should not be the focus of the relationship and it shouldn’t be rewarded with attention. Instead, the couple should work on identifying ways to reinforce the good behavior.

When you get into a relationship, you have a great opportunity to heal yourself and the incredible power to heal someone else through your loving actions. Instead of going to a relationship and looking at it as a place to test or play games, you can view yourself as a healer and a student. You should delight in learning everything about yourself and your partner. The person that has chosen to be with you is giving you a gift. They are allowing you to see all the parts of themselves that they hide from the world. You are supposed to handle that information with sincerity and sensitivity. In the moments where both of you feel raw, vulnerable and judged are the moments when you have an opportunity to learn about yourself and the other person.

You don’t have to produce tears to know that someone loves you. You don’t have to push someone to walking away to prove that they will stay. It’s important to recognize the positive ways that the person is showing you that they love you. It’s important to redefine the relationship so both people in the relationship are feeling and appreciating love. A relationship is not where you go to die or to be the star, you go there to grow and learn. Your partner is a mirror of you and is reflecting to you the actions of your bad behavior, issues and inability to accept and recognize love. They are also reflecting to you the good aspects about you. That person loves things about you that you may or may not appreciate about yourself. You don’t have to test love. Life comes with its own tests. Love is what you are given so you don’t have to face the tests of life alone.

“If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather, it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession but participation.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

Let me know what you think. Share in comments.




Remembering Dr. King: Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, we celebrate the Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. In honor of him, today is a day of service. But the truth is we all have an opportunity to serve every day. When you get up in the morning and go to work, you are encountering service all along the way. As you take the train, the person who collects your fare is in service of you. The person driving the train is in service of all the passengers. Even the man who washed and swept the platform is performing a necessary service for your well-being.

When you stop to get your morning coffee, the barista who takes your order and pours your java is in service to the patrons. The man who set up that newspaper you paid for that provides you the news. The people who wrote the news that is on the newspaper. The security guard in your building. All around you are people who are in service of others. We are an connected system of givers. You may not look at it that way. We title it business and forget that it is giving. Without that person in place performing that action, the system could not run as smoothly as it does. One action can’t be completed without the previous action and the action that follows. We are all in service of one another.

The service continues when you come home. If you stop to pick up food, the food servers and cashiers are in service of you. If you go to the supermarket, someone stocked the shelves in the wee hours of the morning and hung displays. If you are drinking a bottle of wine, someone tended the vine to create that bottle. A truck shipped that bottle from the vineyard in California to the store where you are  and was driven for hours by someone. As you pick your children up from daycare, the daycare workers are in service of your children. If you pick them up from school, they are taught by teachers. And, if your husband or wife prepared dinner, they are in service of the family.

We all serve one another on a daily basis. We may take it for granted because it’s  a part of our daily interactions which move so seamlessly that you don’t think about it. But, today, take a moment to notice the network of people who make life possible for you. And, maybe, take a moment to nod or smile and acknowledge their contribution. A smile can be a simple act of service to someone who needs it that day.

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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10 Quotes to Put Life into Perspective


It’s easy to lose your perspective from time-to-time. Situations can throw you back into old thinking and reacting out of habit. I compiled some quotes that quickly put things back into perspective when you are faced with some of the challenges that life throws in your path.

1. “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

2. “Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” ― Steve Maraboli

3. “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” 
― Anonymous

4.“How hurtful it can be to deny one’s true self and live a life of lies just to appease others.” ― June Ahern

5. “I have learned all kinds of things from my many mistakes. The one thing I never learn is to stop making them.” 
― Joe Abercrombie

6. “I’ve learned… . That being kind is more important than being right.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr

7. “Betray a friend, and you’ll often find you have ruined yourself.” ― Aesop

8. “Help someone, you earn a friend. Help someone too much, you make an enemy.” ― Erol Ozan

9.“If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.” ― C.S. Lewis

10. “A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.” -Soren Kierkegaard

What are your favorite quotes? Share in comments. Maybe I will add them to the next list.

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