I think "tough love" is a horrible concept because it contaminates and corrupts the whole idea of love. A huge part of self-awareness is self-love and the ability to love others. When you are self-aware, you have the courage to work through your toughest issues and you eventually arrive at a place of peace, calm, hope, and love, not some awful scenario of violence and harshness.
The term "tough love" completely destroys the empathy, kindness, healing, softness, and caring that comes with real love. I wish that the people who use the term "tough love" would switch to some more accurate definition such as, "Trying to help someone by imposing punitive and harsh measures for what we say is there own good."
The problem with "tough love" is that it perpetuates the same hurt and pain that likely created the issue in the first place. Let's take a teenager acting out as an example: The teen is behaving a certain way (barring medical or psychological issues) because of their experiences in life. I have yet to meet a person who is acting negatively who comes from a wonderfully functional home. When we impose harsh measures on that person to try to correct their behavior, we're not loving them, we're hurting them more, which usually leads to more negative behaviors whether internal or external.
What if we decided to actually love people instead of getting tough with them? I don't know about you, but I've consistently noticed that people prefer to be treated kindly rather than punitively. So many teen (and adult) problems would go away if people would take time each day to simply listen to the person without interruptions or judgments, and commit to doing it long-term.
Punishment only adds hurt to hurt. I firmly believe we should get rid of this whole toughness thing and replace it with deep empathy and real love. People always fight me when I suggest that we can care for people, hug them, listen to them, show them they really matter, and let go of the need to control and dominate them. That's how far we've sunk, we can't even imagine a world where we treat each other with love.
I propose we establish a new pattern of love and unconditional regard instead of inflicting more pain. The only way we'll ever heal one person, or the world, is to believe and act from a place of true love. Yes, it will take considerable time and effort to make the change, but everything worthwhile requires commitment. I am deeply committed to love, how about you?