Although Getting and Protecting Behaviors do give us temporary relief
from our emptiness and fear, the consequences of using them are severe:
- Protecting Behaviors cause the very behaviors we're trying
to prevent. All the behaviors in other people that we find frightening—anger,
controlling, withdrawing, and so on—are nothing more than their
responses to not feeling loved themselves. If we don't understand that,
we tend to respond to those behaviors with our own Protecting Behaviors.
Now we have a big problem, because with our Protecting Behaviors—lying,
attacking, acting like victims, and running—we loudly communicate
that our primary interest is our own well-being, not the happiness
of the people we're interacting with. With our Protecting Behaviors
we make people feel even more empty and afraid, and then they're more
likely to respond to us with the Getting and Protecting Behaviors we
were originally trying to protect ourselves from.
- They make healthy relationships impossible. When you and I are selfishly
exchanging Getting and Protecting Behaviors with one another, both
of us hear from the other only one message—I don't love you—and
in that situation a healthy relationship is impossible.
- We make it impossible to feel loved. You can feel Real Love from
me only when I give my love unconditionally and when you receive
it unconditionally. The moment you use Getting Behaviors—any
behavior designed to pull approval or attention from me—you can't
feel loved, because you're not unconditionally receiving what I'm giving
you. You can perceive what I give you only as a payment for your manipulations.
When you understand Real Love, and how we respond to the lack of it
with Getting and Protecting Behaviors, you can begin to see other people
quite differently and change the way you feel about them. Further, you
acquire the power to behave differently in all circumstances, contributing
to all your relationships in positive, life giving ways, instead of simply
reacting mindlessly to the behaviors of others. Following are some of
the benefits of understanding the Getting and Protecting Behaviors:
- Most of the unpleasant mysteries of life are eliminated. Often we
are as hurt by not understanding other people's behavior as
we are by what they actually do. We say, "How could he do that?" or "Why
would she say such a thing?" When we don't understand the behavior
of others, we feel utterly helpless in choosing wise responses. Once
we understand Real Love and Getting and Protecting Behaviors, however,
we can begin to see that everywhere we look, people are using these
behaviors. Suddenly, the behavior of other people makes perfect sense—it's
even predictable—and then we are no longer as confused and frustrated.
- We can completely change the way we see other people, the way we
feel about them, and the way we respond to them. When you truly understand
and remember that people behave badly only when they're empty and afraid—when
you see the truth about bad behaviors, that they're just Getting and
Protecting Behaviors—you lose your anger. How can you be angry
at people who are just doing their best to respond to the pain in their
lives? You can begin to respond to people with compassion instead of
reacting with your own Getting and Protecting Behaviors, and that will
change your relationships—every interaction, for that matter—dramatically.
- We can eliminate the excessive, destructive guilt in our lives. When
we understand that other people are selfish and hurtful only because
they are empty and afraid, we can begin to accept that our own selfish
and hurtful behaviors are motivated by a desire to eliminate our emptiness
and fear. When we behave badly, we're not evil; we're just doing our
best to minimize our pain.
- We can finally change the direction of our lives. When we don't understand
why we feel and behave as we do, we're doomed to repeat old patterns
of feelings and behavior endlessly. After we clearly see our emptiness
and fear, however, as well as the Imitation Love and Getting and Protecting
Behaviors that follow, we can finally begin to change the course we've
been taking, usually for decades.
- We can begin to feel loved. As we tell the truth about our Getting
and Protecting Behaviors, we create opportunities for other people
to accept and love us as we really are. We'll discuss that process
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