On Sabotaging Love with Drama + 7 Ways to Raise Your Love-O-Meter

When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be. – Leo Tolstoy.

Pic via Stuart Miles

How Much Love Can You Stand?

Author Gay Hendricks teaches that we all have an inner thermostat setting that determines how much goodness, abundance, love we allow ourselves.

When we exceed our inner setting, we self-sabotage in order to bring ourselves down to feel more comfortable. 

Hendricks calls this The Upper Limit Problem.

What he believes is that our thermostat is usually set or programmed during childhood, where we pick up on our parents’ fear-based beliefs about love and everything else under the sun.

I myself was one of 10 children. 

There was no way my parents could provide enough time and love for each of us. Therefore, I had fears around lack and scarcity and my thermostat was set very low indeed. 

I didn’t have a clue about love when I got married and became pregnant at 17. Without a plan, I soon became a mom to four girls by age 22 (my third pregnancy was twins)!

Our first 11 years together were hell.

We worked long hours, fought like crazy and drank on weekends. We wanted to make our relationship work but did not know how!

Most of us don’t know why we deprive ourselves of the very thing we desire the most – love. We simply aren’t comfortable with it, and don’t feel safe giving or receiving it. 

We fear love.

We feel undeserving, shaky, and freaked out by it. We choose the “crazies and the bad guys.” Can’t stand nice guys or get easily bored with them. 

We stay in abusive relationships because we feel unbecoming, no-good, and out of place. We settle for less because we believe this is as good as it gets and it’s better than being alone. Er.. not good.

When we need to lower our thermostats, drama becomes our drug of choice. We’ll have all been in relationships where everything is going well until we do something stupid to mess it up. 

For example, you throw a fit, start a fight, over react, or go on a shopping binge. You allow picky, shitty, stuff to get in the way of the greatest feeling in the world – love, and the greatest person in the world – your lover.

Anais Lin said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” 

Someone finally suggested that Hubs and I find a therapist. We listened and spent the next several years in counseling every other week. As a result, we blossomed. 

We learned how to raise our capacity for love.

In a couple of weeks we’ll celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. It’s a freakin’ miracle! I’m here to tell you that if we can do it, anyone can.


Practice expanding your capacity for love.

The best way to raise your inner thermostat is to recognize that love feels good. If it doesn’t feel good it’s not love! Instead, it could be attachment, fear, longing, yearning, addiction, lust, etc.

Because you see, Love is meant to feel good.

You can begin to practice the feeling of love and grow comfortably into love.

Right now, sit still, close your eyes and think of one small tiny memory or moment of love. See it. Center yourself in it. Feel it. Savor it, for at least 60 seconds. 

If you can’t find one a moment or memory, create positive thoughts about love. “I’m thankful in advance for all the love I receive. Life loves me. I’m filled with love. I am love.” Open your heart. Feel these affirmations.

Feel more than you feeeeel like.

Expand your comfort zone by practicing the feeling of love several times a day.

Set your timer on your phone as a reminder. Practice when you’re in traffic. Practice when you wait in line, bring up a loving moment or affirmation and sit with it. Practice. Practice. Practice.  

As you get more comfortable with love, you’ll notice that you begin to act in more loving ways towards yourself and others.  

And as you allow love to freely move in and out of your mind, body, and heart, you become a magnet for more!

7 tips to raise your inner thermostat of love:

1) Get greedy with love.
There is nothing wrong with you. Heart yourself. It’s your responsibility to feel good and feel loved. Nobody will ever complete you. Barf.

2) Sparkle and shine.
What makes you feel good? Give yourself the things that you want from others. Take yourself out on a date. Buy yourself a gift. Tell yourself how great you are. Treat yourself fantabulously.

3) Settle your insecurities.
Someone said, “We are all mirrors acting like human beings.” We tend to project our stuff onto others. I tell my clients, “If you spot it, you got it.” What someone does is about them. How you react is about you. Stay in your own backyard. Pull your own weeds, plant seeds and grow an abundance of love.
4) The death of drama.
Slow down your world. Become aware of feeling uncomfortable and frightened by love. Stop and breathe through it. Deep belly breaths. Inhale love. Exhale fear. There is no conflict in calm.
5) Get that lovin’ feeling.
Gaze into your own eyes. Surrender to the wonder of yourself. Rejoice in your badass self. When all else fails, find one small thing that you love about yourself and bask in the glory. Repeat often.  

6) Get naked.
It’s not about taking off your clothes! Have the courage to be emotionally naked. Take off your mask, discover who you are, and be authentic. Fly your freak flag. When you face yourself, you can face your feelings and take down your walls. Intimacy isn’t about sex, it’s about being real… in-to-me-see. The big reveal, right? 
7) Stop the blame game.
If something isn’t going well in a relationship, do something about it. Difficult people are like sand paper. They are here to smooth your rough edges and teach you how to love unconditionally. Take responsibility.

When you take responsibility for your “Upper Limit Problem,” you’ll discover that love isn’t a limited resource. Love is infinite. Forever. Always.

Don’t waste time feeling sad or lonely. Make the choice for love and UP that thermostat baby! Be gentle with yourself. Cuz we’re all still learning.

What’s the setting on your inner thermostat of love? I’d love to hear if you learned something or have any tips to share, thanks! 

Tess Marshall M.A., is a risk taker, author, and courage coach with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. 

Register early for her new e-Course,30 Days of Bold at her blog The Bold Life, and learn how to live in the bold zone!

** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


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  1. says

    Thanks Tess – I will need to re-read this post a few times in order to glean the wisdom from it. I definitely know about pushing away that which I desire the most. PAinful expereinces from the past rear up all too frequently for me an dkeep me wanting to play safe, rather than rsik everything for love. BUT as you say we are all still learning and I found your tips about practicing feeling love very helpful. Thank you so much for you encouragement today.

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