What is love?
A state of being, a virtue, an emotion of intensity. Although non-measurable this feeling that becomes us, is usually over humans, animals, places, passions and interests. For this article we speak of the classic love between two people. It has carried us through the rivers of time. We experience pain, suffering, confusion, passion, lust, and excitement. All contributing emotions to this thing called “love.” Love has attachment to others and objects, love has jealousy whether pathological or normal levels of jealousy. Never the less jealousy is a real entity tied to love. It must be recognized and accepted to move through love. Love has trust, for trust must be involved with love. It usually evolves first, however it does not have to. However, it must strengthen over time hence it solidifies love. Expectations, ah yes the written word by philosophers and those that write wonderful quotes state, “love should have no expectations.” Really? We love, we do not expect to be loved back, we do not expect honesty and trust back, we do not expect a reciprocal hug and affection back. The child who loves unconditionally before his values and judgments have been crushed at the expense of distrust. Does he not expect respect and support from his loving parents or caretakers. Love does have expectations, you may believe it should not, but you are lying to yourself and living in a dream world attached to a Disney movie.
Psychologists and therapists deal with love, however mostly after the love has turned to hurt. This is when the loving couples seek out treatment. The dilemma, do we really know what love truly is? No, we do not. We spend our lives with someone, we give them our hearts, our emotions our finances, our time, our hobbies, our interests, and we disclose pain and our past. We look for the support, the unconditional acceptance, as a dog wagging his tail happy to see his owner. When that is crushed, when that is taken away or when that is not understood to be on the same playing field, we experience pain. All be it shades of grey , it is still pain.
Love is a life force. A nebulous, non-tangible emotion that when shared, fully puts us out there bare naked in the desert, sun’s rays waiting to burn us. We hope to be clothed by a loved one, to protect us from being burned, dehydrated and lost.When we risk love, we are wanting to be filled up, as well as, protected. This is the risk, this is the effort we need to elicit in order to find love. When our path of love has experienced third degree burns, and the loved one we thought was there did not mend the wounds, or comfort the soul then we learn pain, distrust and become vigilant to protect the once loving soul. We are now tainted, guarded which has the ability to hide our true emotions, our true ability to love for the next companion to walk the path with. We do not shed those clothes, we do not expose ourselves as quickly and some actually layer themselves even more so, living a life of quite desperation.
How do we find love?
We do not find love. I hate to sound trite and this may sound as if it came off the shelf of a cheap two dollar used self-help book, but, love finds us. We must find out who we are, before we can find love. Love is NOT about finding someone, love is about risking ourselves, risking to let someone know us. If we do not risk, if we do not share, if we do not disclose we cannot love. It has been asked of me how do those with severe amnesia love if they cannot share their past. They share the past by, tomorrow. By the time you read this sentence, you have created the past of the previous. Love is the ability to be social, the ability to risk the secrets, and love is supporting each party with those secrets no matter how intense. Yes we risk hurt, yes we risk pain, if you do not want to risk then do not complain, for solitude is not a curse it is the outgrowth of not finding love. Those that believe in destiny, that each moment in time is relevant, that it plays a role for who we meet and why, understands the importance of awareness of person. In order to find love, a few occurrences must happen. You must be aware of who you are, your short comings, your dark side, and the parts of you that you do not want others to see. You must risk, be willing to venture, willing to climb the mountain and do it, do it with all your heart, a half-ass attempt will fail. You must also accept that with love comes pain, not necessarily intense ending of relationship pain, but pain never the less. You must realize jealousy, and expectations are combined with love, they are the baggage that needs to be cleaned out from time to time. When cleaned out with honesty and trust, a refueling of the relationship has just started. The bond becomes much closer and two become a finely tuned working team. Please be advised I am not referring to sick, pathological jealousy or unfair expectations that selfish and narcissistic individuals have, but the grey healthy side effects of love.
How to rekindle love?
Dr. Sternberg a psychologist who has looked at love views this emotion with three components, intimacy, commitment and passion. With this definition we can now rule out lust as love, for lust has no commitment. Intimacy, can be defined as not only affection in the physical sense but the emotional sense as well. There is nothing more intimate than a conversation of past moments, painful moments or happy moments sitting by the warmth of a fire. Two are creating moments that can be reflected on for a life time. When love falls to the wayside for many reasons the re-kindling process must have motivation and want from both parties, if it is to last. If one person in the relationship refuses mediation, refuses the want to change, please save your heart, your future and move on. There must be a want by both parties. If commitment is broke, not just someone being unfaithful but not being committed by not promising to stay within the parameters of what companionship is, then the relationship breaks down. Getting married and one is gone frequently on shopping sprees, or joins a multitude of committees, not staying home, or the husband spends seventy percent of his time with sport activities, there is a breech in the commitment. To rekindle these issues one may have to start from the beginning. What did each person find alluring? What was the commonality? How did each party problem solve? Is there motivation to climb the life mountain together, and does each party trust the other to hold the rope of support?
Re-kindling love can occur and can be successful, however both MUST be on board. One cannot be on the boat planning on picking one up on shore a mile down the river and then just start to learn how to paddle with the rapids just around the bend.
Love, an amazing life force, that carries with proven physiologic longevity and peace of mind. Not to mention the role modeling effect for children to watch and learn how true love is really accomplished.