When I think of Tough Love, I tend to wonder how can you be tough on someone you truly love? It isn’t easy to not want to help those you care about and watch them struggle when you have the means to help. How do you help them without actually enabling them?
Think about our kids and how we tend to want the best for them. If we continuously give to them without any expectations they aren’t able to learn how to fend for themselves. Now if we decide to teach them how to achieve their own goals we then give them the tools they need to succeed in life away from us. As parents we learned that we aren’t perfect ourselves but we want to give to our children what we didn’t have. In doing this there are times that we actually hurt them more than help them. If you can honestly say you have guided your children and given them the proper tools and they still choose the wrong path then it is definitely time to step back and let them figure things out for themselves. However, if you have only expected them to grow up and not shown by example how are they truly supposed to learn. Children are followers until they are shown how to be leaders. By first showing unconditional love, they still know they are loved when you are forced to implement tough love.
This same philosophy goes for those around us. If we continue to tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, how are they going to grow and better themselves when they are perpetuating the same behaviors over and over. Tough love isn’t easy but again when your friends and family know you love them unconditionally, they will know you only say what you say out of the kindness of your heart.
Just remember that in order to implement Tough Love, you first have to show Unconditional Love. Otherwise you are just being selfish and controlling and that doesn’t teach anyone anything positive in the end.