Marriage therapists in Orlando have noted that some partners feel the need to embody love through their actions. This is referencing when one partner feels they need to provide acts of service, or some other deed, to receive love from others. This is where the constant need to do things to make someone happy takeover and before long you are doing things in the pursuit of love. But is it genuine love or do you need to do these actions? Producing actions for love, as noted by marriage therapy experts, tends to be tied toward nervousness and worry. Oftentimes, there is a feeling that love is not obtainable without showing “value” of some sort. This can cause irrational beliefs to emerge, cognitive dissonance to become sound, and an emotional personality takes over. Acts of Service are not always needed for love, but understanding why someone may believe this can clue in why they feel the need to show actions.
To reference some of the basic needs that all individuals have, one of the most powerful ones is the love and belonging need. A need tied to receiving and giving love while also having an identity in this world. Combining this with low self-esteem, as noted by self-confidence experts, creates a mixture where the results of actions “fill” the need for love. When there is low self-esteem present this is where irrational beliefs about the self begin to take root. An internal dialogue of “I am not good enough” or “I am not worthy of love” forms a new “reality” that the person begins to believe. To reinforce this, when this person is given love for doing a simple action, they begin to make the connection that actions equal love and therefore will submit themselves to produce for others while they are simply not producing for themselves. It resembles a basic survival tendency where survival is love.
Individual therapy in Orlando or marriage therapy is a great place for this start. Speaking with a mental health therapist trained in relationships and individual counseling techniques on self-growth and compassion can be a gateway to underlying issues that prevent love towards the self. During this process, and yes, it is a process, the goal is to rewrite the irrational beliefs. The irrational belief that love can not exist without acts of service can be challenged. Restructuring and working towards loving yourself and understanding that you are worthy of love is the goal here. Perhaps it entails finding a love that works for you or being able to see that love is something that starts internally rather than externally. Nevertheless, everyone is deserving and open to love and actions are not the reason love is given, the person is.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.