Love and Relationships19, Mar, 2013, by Seema Bhatnagar
Love, the most coveted word, one of the most searched/googled words and the one of most passionate words we all have heard in our life. The moment we hear this word, the first thought comes to our mind is about the person who is closest and dearest to us. Love is that strongest bond on this earth which keeps people together. Do you know that average annual Valentine's Day spending is around $13.19 Billion? Gosh…this shows the intensity of love and how billions of people are seeking it.
On the other hand, there is also a spiraling divorce and breakup rates in relationships which shows that love amongst people is not so long lasting. How is that, when love is such a strong force to keep individuals together suddenly works in an opposite direction and disintegrates people? Why is so, that people fall in love and soon realize that it was not what they are seeking and relationship soon reaches to its painful end. Many a times such instances make me to think about the definition of love and what are those forces which works against it.
What is love?
The dictionary meaning of love is "A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness." This seems a perfect definition of love, but I am wondering how many of us have really felt it that way, probably very few fortunate ones.
Love is that expression that we all naturally exude but as we attain maturity we start applying our intelligence and ego comes into play and this lovely expression get suppressed under the layers of intelligence. It seems, what we call as love in our emotional language, is actually a misnomer for a habit of living with another individual and probably sometimes a kind of possessiveness or materialistic attachment. For most of us the definition of love has been taught in subtle ways since childhood or we have adopted it by looking at others and very few have really experienced it.
As far as I have read and to some extent experienced it, Love is all about giving without keeping any scale of giving and receiving. It is an unconditional acceptance of other individual and that is a reason it is called as "falling in love" because there is no intelligence involved here. You simply accept yourself and other exactly the way one is at the moment. I know, this sounds Godly but this is what love is all about and that is a reason why very few can experience it.
No expectation, no conditions, no penalties and no manipulations, this is how a loving relationship should be. But to reach this level it takes great amount of efforts and one has to first develop the best of self because only when you know yourself completely then only you can develop strength to accept other person.
Sometimes, I fail to understand why love should be correlated to only romanticized relationships between man and woman. Love is simply an expression which can be expressed and felt with any being on this planet. This might sound crazy, but the reality is, love should have no logic.
Do you love somebody?
I am sure, you must have somebody in your life whom you love/d deeply. Let's have a quick introspection if it is/was really a love or a habit of staying with that person.
- How many times, instead of getting angry you ignored the mistakes committed by your loved one?
- Do you know the weakness of your beloved one and still accept him/her?
- Do you often get angry with him/her for not meeting your expectations?
- Do you feel, giving gifts will make your beloved happy rather than spending time together?
- Do you know the likes and dislikes of your beloved one?
- Do you feel insecure and threatened if s/he is giving attention to somebody else?
- Do you encourage and support him/her in learning and adopting new habits and interests?
- Do you often feel and think how each one of you should grow in life?
- Do you feel giving everything of yours to your beloved one?
- Do you have a feeling of jealousy if s/he achieves something in life?
Why there is a love deficit in relationships?
Adultery, extra marital affairs, cheating on partners, divorce, lack of trust on each other are some common issues we hear on regular basis and these do not sound as grave issues any more. People have accepted these as a way of life and developed the idea of moving on from one relationship to next. This shows a clear lack of strong commitment and trust between couples which makes them to think outside marriage.
Love is a great feeling and actually majority of us remain deprived of it for our whole life. The idea of love and relationships, probably we have picked up from movies which show the thrills and fancies and we expect the same in personal relationships and when this is missing, the idea of marriage or relationships goes sour. This makes people to look for a change in relationship but they again fall in the same situation and this vicious circle continues for the whole life. Also, for some, the relationships are the means to bring financial and social security for future. Many a times there are vested interests behind establishing relationships or probably people establishes relationships by focusing only on one side of personality of other individual, which means the relationships are established without knowing and accepting the weaknesses of other person.
Inability to resolve conflicts and disagreements is another reason of fickle relationships. Most people are not apt at resolving conflicts and that become the sole reason for breeding of more conflicts which ultimately rots the relationships. Conflicts and disagreements are natural in any relationship but if one feels that s/he is superior and other one is more in need of it then that leads to more trouble. The essence of equality marks the purity of relationship.
Individuals in relationships generally take each other for granted and ignore each others' personal values and this becomes another strong reason for fickle relationships. Accepting each other will come only when a person has a true self-respect but unfortunately many people understand egoistic behavior as a self-respect which further becomes a reason of complicated relationships. Mutual respect and understanding towards each other are the two pillars of strong relationships.
These are just few of the most common reasons for strained relationships; there are many more not possible to list all of them. So, leaving an opportunity for you think some of those.
My Idea of love and relationships
"The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Personally, though I have great friends and a big family but have never experienced the deep feeling of love as such, I know, this is unfortunate, but this is true. Many of you would think, since I have never married or fallen in love then how come I am talking about the topic of love. In my opinion, having a relationship with spouse only, is a very narrow definition of love and it is not necessary that love happens only between man and woman. I feel, love can happen between any two beings. If it is a real love then it cannot be limited to any gender. It is simply that since childhood we have been taught to love parents, siblings and then after marriage it has to be spouse and children and that makes the idea of love very narrow and selfish.
I believe, when a person experience love, s/he cannot be bitter with anybody because love leaves such a sweet feeling that one start loving everybody and cannot restrict self to kids, spouse or parents or siblings.
Does that mean, I am hinting at polyandry or polygamy when I am saying love should not only be restricted to your spouse? No, not at all, having multiple relationships can never be fair to all involved individuals because, marriage is a kind of devotion, a complete surrender in all possible dimensions to other person who is entirely different from you in every aspect. When we cannot truly devote to even God, how can we think of becoming devoted to many individuals, this is absolutely impossible in a relationship like marriage.
An institution of Marriage has been created in society to provide the highest possible fertile environment where individuals can experience love and connection but over the period of time it has been exploited and has got degraded to such an extent that nowadays marriages have simply become contracts and transactions. This has obviously made us to see and experience the direct detrimental consequences in our society. Until and unless people see marriage as devotion and surrender towards each other with utmost consciousness and willingness, the idea of marriage is simply an arrangement and two individuals can never feel happy under it.
Regarding my marriage and relationships, I happened to meet many gentlemen who expressed their interest but I always felt a lack of maturity in majority of them. If some of them pretended to be mature enough, but in reality they could not think beyond age/caste/ creed /salary/beauty and other trivial issues and above all they were lacking a distinct streak of individuality with strong personal values. Have felt, that they were not seeking any great companionship but more of stereotyping in the name of marriage. However, let me be very honest and must admit that they all were good individuals in their own space and it is simply that we could not reach to the point where our thoughts and personalities could resonate.
For me, it is very important to have a highly mature, evolve and refined person having strong personal values as a life partner who can simply ignore the trivialities in other person. He must think above caste/age/family/financial status and other trivialities and should have a higher level of consciousness. It might sound very weird, ridiculous and seems like a search for a super human being, but let it be, that is what I want in forming a great life partnership. I guess, marriage has no deadline (contrary to popular belief) and if it happens it must happen with utmost consciousness and willingness to make it a great relationship. By the way, it really does not matter if marriage happens or not I am perfectly ok and happy as a single and enjoying life.
For other relationships, with family and friends, I do not keep any expectations from others and the only perspective I keep is how much I can contribute towards the relationship to make it more beautiful and positive. There are certain relationships which have gone sour over a period of time but I am happy that I gave my best to make it work. Despite giving my best, a stage of harmony could not be reached, so I left these relationships where they were, but if I see any possibility to spark the revival, I will surely give my best again.
Though I have never experienced a deep love for any individual but I am a staunch nature lover, and this only has taught me what Love is all about. I love animals and plants and all inanimate natural objects. On thinking deep, why I love nature, because it makes me feel that nature is supporting in every possible way and always facilitate growth equally to all without any distinction. It always works in a making than a breaking mode. Whenever, I want to learn more about Love I simply look at nature for answers. Nature herself is a great lover and shows her love to every being without putting any condition. I wish, if each one of us can take a lesson of love from nature.
How to develop great loving relationships?
"I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you." ~ Angeleaknewin Roy Croft
Absolutely, no situation, no person and nothing is perfect in this world; everything is evolving to higher forms and it is our willingness to make it evolving beautifully that matters. When things/situations/emotions/thoughts are so dynamic then how do we form long lasting and loving relationships? Absolutely, there is no formula for it, but there are certain aspects if kept in mind would surely help to develop loving relationships.
If you are planning to get married then choose your partner with utmost consciousness rather than based on any compulsion or any vested interest, and develop a willingness to grow the relationships rather than expecting your partner to change for you.
Provide the most fertile ground for each other to grow. In every relationship there are testing times which demands maturity to understand the situations and response to it. So, conflicts are more like weeds in the fertile land but if you are conscious of your relationship and know the depth of it then you would be able to pick them off smoothly.
Do not forget, that each one of us is at different personal development stage so it does not make sense comparing each other for who is better, so develop patience and understanding towards each other rather than constantly correcting each other for one thing or other. Just let the other individual grow at his/her own pace. If you really want to see change in other individual then first demonstrate it on yourself.
Develop trust with each other and this is possible only when you show your authenticity and commitments in words and actions. So, be authentic in your emotions/feelings and actions.
Purity of thoughts, willingness and constant endeavor are the only requirements to develop great loving relationships.
Grow your expression of love
"Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return." ~ Peace Pilgrim
Love is a natural expression and it is present in abundance in all of us, it is only that our layers of intelligence suppress it and do not let it rise to be expressed easily and fully. If you deep dive in to history, and read about great Love stories, you would realize that love is a kind of devotion towards other individual, one need to become a devotee if one really wants to love somebody. A person who is loving by nature cannot keep his/her love limited to few rather it spreads like a fragrance of flower. Imagine, if we all were able to scrape these hindering layers and able to express our love easily, this world will become a different place altogether.
People who are spiritually inclined have a better capability to express and feel love. To them, the idea of love knows no bounds and they feel loving towards everything which exists in nature. I guess, when one express love to animals, plants and inanimate objects of nature, it becomes absolutely effortless to love human beings who possess well developed power to respond to human emotions. So, in a way, love is another kind of spiritual experience for which one has to strive.
In an attempt to express your loving side, let's explore some ways which may propel you in that direction. To begin with, ask yourself what is that block which is holding you back from creating great loving relationships. Probably, your strong ego and rigid attitude towards life is not letting you to experience true love. Address your own rigid attitude and inner weaknesses which are blocking your way to reach this beautiful emotion. Sometimes, it happens that we feel love for somebody but our ego says, NO, why should I express myself, the other would feel that I am in need. So you must address this rigidity and be open in expressing your love. Probably, you may start with appreciating others more and more for their good qualities; this will help you only, as recognizing the fine sense of beauty would elevate your inner harmony and aesthetic sense.
Do not think, that your love should be limited to immediate family, this whole world is deficit of love and your contribution even in a subtlest way will definitely will make some difference. If you are a parent create a loving and nurturing environment for your kids which mean another two loving individuals on this earth. Similarly, do whatever is possible to make your immediate environment loving be it at work or home. Especially, if you are leader and managing people, it makes it even more important that you set a culture of love and harmony.
Remember, love is a force which makes everything blossom and before others first it makes YOU blossom. So, make the expanse of your love grandest possible and infinite and let it spread effortlessly.Enjoy building great relationships.
It is perfectly ok to be single