Tough love is difficult and at times a lonely road we must journey upon. Stepping away from full control and releasing our want to help someone dear to us most especially when it comes to dealing with them in relation to drug or alcohol dependency, which is rampant nowadays, is indeed very difficult and heart-wrenching but at times needed having in mind the good of the other. Tough love can also be applied to someone who just needs a wake-up call when we feel that their behavior is starting to be self-destructive.

Even if it’s tough, there will always be lessons learned. One thing I noticed in relationships that seem to be “on the brink” or unhealthy so to speak is it’s usually composed of one partner that acts like a “caregiver” and the other one seems to be too much of a dependent partner on the other end. These relationships may range from friendships, a parent to a child or a romantic one. In the long run once the caregiver snaps due to getting drained emotionally, maybe even financially by the dependent partner, the caregiver walks away which triggers the dependent partner to fall. But don’t get me wrong this isn’t done to harm the other but it’s something that has to be done to be able to move forward and towards changes that give way to progress, a good one at that, changes towards taking charge of his or her own life and not co-depend all the time. Tough love needs endurance but in the end bear in mind that it leads towards a rise from co-dependency and always leads to a win-win situation for both individuals.

Hope these steps may be of help if you find yourself wanting to apply tough love in the situation you find yourself in –

1- Don’t do for anyone what they can do for themselves – Unless you’re caring for someone who is sick, avoid doing more than what you need to do in your respective relationships. Trying to do everything just brings down your own energy levels, confidence and in the process you might end up losing your own self-identity. If the other is physically and emotionally capable of doing something, go ahead and let them.

2- Be aware and know your boundaries – We all have our limits and with this we should be able to be aware of our own needs. Learning to say “no” can be difficult but it can actually liberate you from all the baggage you’ve been carrying.

3- Learn to let go of too much control – Sometimes we tend to want something so badly for another person, thinking that we know what they need to make their life change for the better, unknowingly this just leads the other to co-depend on you, which we don’t want to happen. Learn to set this feeling of control free, learn to let go and let the other work things out themselves. It can be difficult, but keep your focus on you and allow them to find themselves.

Tough love may be tough to give, but it is a necessity of life and assurance of positive growth. – T.F. Hodge

I’ve written about tough love towards others now it’s time for me to write about applying tough love on yourself. Tough love means recognizing people who recognize your worth. It entails stopping to put your own needs on the back burner. The most painful thing in the process of growing is to lose your individuality in the process, so never lose sight of it.

Tough love is realizing that our lives will improve only if we are willing to take hardcore risks. There is no such thing as a calculator for life, it’s  all about a head-on collision with the most feared experience, which is that of risk-taking. Holding on to the past and being scared will hamper your growth. No one wants to be stunted and stuck in one point in his or her life. Real life is all about real progress. Bear in mind that every single event that has ever happened in your life is a preparation for a moment that is yet to come.

Tough love is creating your own stability. Love yourself before others – overused fact but very much true. Stability also applies in keeping your mind steady. Thinking too much is not good all the time – it creates problems that may not have been there in the first place. Again, we can never change something we refuse to confront and that’s the process of loving one’s self, in a tough way.

Tough love is doing what you know in your heart is right, needless to say it is doing what your heart truly wants – precisely why our heart is located at the center of our physical body. It symbolizes the core of our being.

If you plan on achieving something worthwhile, avoid the path of least resistance. It does not always entail suffering but it is, on the other hand, enjoying the small and simple moments in one’s life that really matters – moments that have made you smile.

Tough love is all about focus. Positive focus. If you wake up each morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen, it oftentimes does, even during the darkest days of our lives – takes a lot of guts but the glory is all worth it.