Trevor E.S. Smith | You are my everything
Wikipedia lists two films, four albums, and 14 different singles with the title 'You're My Everything'. YouTube provides even more options with that title.
Barry White went further, "My first, my last, my everything," and Slim Smith plans to build his "whole world around you".
Romantic and erotic love are widely celebrated and accepted as having a compelling hold on those who are slain by Cupid's arrow. Swooning lovebirds fall into a spell that make them incapable of making sense of life outside of their attachment to the object of their affection.
Is our music, literature and films transporting unwitting lovers to a dangerous place?
Can this encouragement to relinquish a vision of life as independent, free-thinking beings be a factor in domestic violence?
If you are "my everything", what if you are no longer there? Could the thought of losing everything lead to desperation?
If without you I am nothing, what reason do I have for living? Does this sound like the making of a delusional case for murder-suicide?
"You're my everything" brings with it the sense of ownership. The possessive pronoun 'my' is a constant feature in lyrics and in the traditional view of romantic and erotic relationships. That presents another slippery slope. If you are mine, then I own you. My ownership is confirmed by the frequency of 'I'm yours' lyrics and expressions in this warped view of love.
If we agree that I own you, how can I let you leave? I control the things I own. I decide what happens to them and use them as I wish. To what extent should I go to protect my property? If I am justified in resisting uninvited occupation of my house, how should I react to the unwanted invasion into the affections of my property?
In this corrupt way of thinking, the very idea of an exchange of affection or even unilateral interest is viewed as an invasion and a call to protect property.
Can this kind of thinking that is celebrated in word and song provide a gateway to suspicion, jealousy and domestic violence?
Our best bet for curbing domestic violence on a sustained basis may not lie in the direction of legislation and increased encouragement to report. A more lasting solution lies in the direction of reprogramming how we think about love and relationships.
We can start by changing the language that we use in our relationships. I am not 'yours' and you are not 'mine'. We share a romantic relationship that feels unbelievably great, but at the same time, we continue to be individuals in our own right with the capacity for independent thought and decision-making.
Further, if it comes to the point that you no longer feel that our relationship is unbelievably great, then I may be disappointed, but I respect your independence and right to leave.
Keep reinforcing the need to avoid thinking or using words that reflect ownership in relationships. Rephrase your partner's words when they connote ownership. Pay close attention to how prospective partners view "ownership" - it may save your life.
What does it say about me if I can't live without you? Have I no value on my own? What does it say about my self-worth?
What about the dreams and aspirations that I had before my whole world was transformed by the apple of my eye?
The sad story is that in many instances, life in a meaningful sense comes to a halt for broken-hearted partners who had discarded their goals, dreams and freedoms and surrendered all to the love of their life.
We can start the transformation process early at home. We do not own our children. We are their stewards and guides. The level of emotional attachment is unmistakable, but they are nevertheless independent beings, not possessions.
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Trevor E.S. Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.