My Journey through Life —with love {Part-5: Falling in love}

Coming to the most complex of human relationships which no human has been able to figure out is the complex relationship between a male and a female; a state of being in love.

What makes this relationship complex? Why do people crave for it yet not know how to get it?  These are few questions that come to mind when talking about it. This is one relationship, which is very very malleable, brittle and volatile and has indefinite boundaries. Earlier in previous posts, I wrote about the definition of love and the many ways it could be described. Well, this is that relationship in which you would find all those flavors and that is what makes it so complex.  Every relationship is different and it is hard to put it all in one mould.

Even though this is known to be one of the most complex of relationships, it is also the most coveted. Everyone searches for it, wants to experience it and dreams of finding  love some day. There are many terms associated with this experience, such as true love, soulmates, unconditional love, passion, commitment, and so on.,  Considering it is so difficult to find, when found, it is lost pretty easily too. If just finding a person to love is not difficult enough, staying in love is an equally daunting task. It has been rightly said that, love is not for the faint hearted. Love needs courage.

Many ‘love stories’ end even before it begins because some people lack the courage to step up and tell the other that they love them. The fear of rejection is so much more stronger than the fact that they are in love. Is acceptance so important? What happens if that love is rejected? Do they just move on to another? or do they never love again? Let me share a story about two people.

The story began while they were studying in college. The boy fell in love with the girl the moment he saw her. He stayed far and watched her everyday, fiercely protecting her without her knowledge from any trouble. She was completely oblivious to his existence, let alone his feelings. A couple of years later, some friends hinted to her about his feelings which she immediately disregarded.  Towards the end of their college career, the boy approached the girl and earnestly told her about his feelings. He expressed his wishes to meet her parents and propose in the right manner. She said she was not interested as she did not know him. She politely declined and went away. After college they went their separate ways. Many many years later, she found out that after she rejected his proposal, he went to his parents and said he can never love another again so for their sake he will marry any girl they choose. And he did. When asked about it he apparently said, “Just because she said no, I can’t stop loving her. I loved her everyday for four years. My love was not conditional to her acceptance.”

Is this true love? Or is it love only when both are completely invested in it?

Lets move on to the scenario where the boy and girl are equally interested and find in each other what they had been looking for. Once the getting to know you phase is over, they start being themselves. This is the crucial phase because now they are revealing their true personalities. The lucky few seal their love in this stage because they realize that they are definitely meant for each other. For the rest, this is the beginning of a long agonizing period of arguments, distrust, setting rules and conditions, which ultimately destroys it completely. This tornado leaves behind broken hearts, wounded egos and unforgettable experiences. They try hard to mend it and the harder they try, the deeper the cracks run. Some do manage to survive, they pick up the pieces and set it straight again. For many its a fight within themselves to accept the failure.

How does it begin to go wrong?

As one gets closer in a relationship the demands increase, they want a lot of attention, they become very possessive and they try to control what the other person does, they even go as far as telling the other person what they should like or dislike, it other words some relationships turn slowly into a low level dictatorship. All this is suffocating and they start throwing temper tantrums. This is a person who had silently tried to fight being changed and then suddenly changes so much that he/she becomes unrecognizable to his or her own self.

They revolt. Then what?

The people who swear by the word freedom, and say that they would give their partners a lot of respect and freedom are the ones who curtail and suffocate the other. They become too demanding and somewhere here they have crossed the line and have moved over from love to devotion. They start demanding devotion. Many people start confusing extreme love to possessiveness. Possessiveness is love with lots of restrictions and demands. It is the need to know every minute what that person is up to. A need to be told everything that goes on in their life; it is insecurities at its worst. It is not giving the person their freedom or respect. It is expecting the person to be at their beck and call. Possessiveness is letting the other person think for you and take that as the guidelines for you to run your life by. Giving into possessiveness is killing ones self-respect and identity. These relationships can’t last long.

Love whose foundation is based on pity, sacrifice, materialistic matters and possessiveness will crumble. At some point it breaks free from all the restraints.

Then what is love?

So long we just spoke about the darker side of love but there is the rosy side too. Love that has been made immortal in countless movies, ballads or a dashing couple from Mills & Boon. It can be rewarding and fulfilling. It can be best described as the next stage of a very good friendship. When people take a step further from being very good friends it turns into love. When there is a physical aspect involved in friendship it becomes love. When you feel happiness is in just being with the person, its love. When you feel happy just because the other is happy then that’s love. When you can feel what the other person is feeling and you can understand them completely then that is love. When in love you are able to look beyond their mistakes and give them a second chance. You are able to live in today, for today and not think of tomorrow.  Everything around you looks beautiful, and you feel an inner peace inside you that leaves you smiling even when you are alone, when you feel very confident about yourself, when that special someone adds to your aura, when that person makes you a better person and becomes an important part of your life, when you want to share every joy every sorrow, every success every failure with that person, when you want to involve that person in your future, when you feel that this is the person you want to grow old with then that is LOVE. Love is being secure in your surroundings. Love is being sure of what you are and about your partner. Love just brings out the best in you and makes you a better person.

In my first post, I shared the definition of love which said that love is ‘something that is described as a liking for pleasure without compensation, gratuitously’ which means that you just give in love  and do not expect anything in return.  Yet we say that love satisfies some need in the other person. Two conflicting statements, but what it really means is that the need that is being satisfied is a subconscious need. You don’t go around looking for someone to satisfy you, be it, intellectually, physically, mentally, emotionally, artistically…. But when that happens then you do start liking that person because that person is making you happy and when you ask yourself why that person is making you happy the answer usually lies within you. There is something that you lacked, was a priority and defines who you are. That need is being fulfilled by this love.  That is your identity. That should give you an insight as to what you are by just looking at what is important to you.

One of my first experiences I remember about the male-female relationship was when I was still in my high school. I had this neighbor who apparently liked me very much and so to prove his point he just went ahead and put down his feelings for me in blood on paper and sent it to me! I was aghast that someone would hurt themselves just to make a point. I didn’t like him because my only thinking was that how can a person be capable of respecting somebody when you can’t respect yourself. That was my first realization about how people go out of their way to make a point and what infatuation is all about.

Unfortunately incidents like these became the main reason that I was misled on the meaning of love and a good relationship with anyone. I never believed in love and didn’t trust anyone too. I figured there is nothing like love and what the other person felt was plain attraction and infatuation. Most of the cases that was true too but even if there was a chance of one developing into a true love, I never gave it a chance and never let myself be drawn into it.

I realized that for some people devotion is an extension of love and for some love is an extension of friendship. Those people who experienced love and devotion had a much more romantic and a more theatrical relationship with lots of highs and lows, thrills and extreme feelings, but for those who found love as an extension to their long friendship, it was very quiet, romantic, calm, peaceful, something which was very much present but not something you spoke about everyday but knowing that it was there and just feeling it.

If I had loved what would I look for?

If I were honest with myself, I would say that I would want someone to love me with the same intensity that I would love him. I don’t believe in the single track-martyr kind of love. I need to be repaid for giving out my love. I need to know that my love is being acknowledged and is being reciprocated. Without that I am sure I wouldn’t last long. I feel like I have so much love, which is so intense that, I worry that I could suffocate someone with my love if I let go completely. I would definitely require security, affection, friendship and some amount of devotion too from him. I wouldn’t require him to be perfect in everyway but I would respect him for knowing his shortcomings. Also, somebody who can be a constructive critic and make me a better person. He would have to be someone I could respect for the person he is. Likewise, I would want him to respect me and also the people around him. Someone who can keep me safe and someone who can bring out the best in me.

So I had to get my experiences about love from various books and the people around me who fell in love. Some succeeded, many failed. Each one though had a unique story of its own. I look back at those years when I had a chance at love and where I stand today in my present and realize I did good. I feel complete, I feel loved and I have people around me to share my completeness with.

More about it in my next post!

To sum it all up:

  1. “What’s the difference?” I asked him. “Between the love of your life, and your soulmate?” “One is a choice, and one is not.” ― Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein
  2. “There is no such thing as a soulmate…and who would want there to be? I don’t want half of a shared soul. I want my own damn soul.” Ely in Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
  3. “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” ― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
  4. “When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.” ― Jess C. Scott, The Intern
  5. “I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.” ― Shana Abe

 

Advertisements

My Journey through Life —with love

PART I – Quote, Unquote.


images

Every once in a while we sit down and ponder, about life. What we have made of it and how successful we are. Who am I  and am I who I wanted to be? We also reflect on all those moments, people and  relationships that shaped our life.  Some that have scarred us forever and some that have miraculously touched our heart.

In reflections, the one thing that comes to the forefront is the colorful emotions that we experience in life, emotions that most definitely define us and make us who we are. One emotion that inevitably comes to mind is ‘Love’. What is Love? Its importance, its meaning, its value and its origin?  The answers we seek and the answers we find usually do not match.

Some quotable quotes:

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Dr. Seuss

or just Click on the link to read what Bob Marley says about love!

One American poet put it perfectly when he said, “Everyone admits love is wonderful and necessary yet no one agrees on just what it is.”

That’s absolutely true. Everybody talks about it, seem to have an opinion about it, have experienced it in someway or the other but most of them seem unsatisfied about the quality and quantity of love they have received. So I took it upon my self to go on a journey of finding the meaning of love. I wanted to put down the various changes an important emotion called ‘love’ goes through in life as a person grows and how it’s meaning changes in every relationship. How it changes you and makes you who you are.

Love is like soul food to a person. It is the elixir of life and brings us lot of joy. It can be so fulfilling that you feel secure in every breath you take. It brings out the best in you, making you more confident and puts a smile on your face. That is what love does to you but what does it actually mean? When I actually sat down to write this article I found myself at a loss for words as to how to describe love. It was difficult to put forth a rainbow of emotions in a page. So I will try to write it in parts, one color at a time!

So I was off on my journey, to find the meaning of love. Like everyone else I too tried the easy way out and made my first stop at the dictionary. What I found surprised me and left me more confused than ever.

Here’s what it said,

“ LOVE, n.,

–    a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person

  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for parent, child, or friend.
  • Sexual passion or desire
  • A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person sweetheart
  • Used in direct address as a term of endearment affection or the like
  • A love affair; an intensely amorous incident
  • Sexual intercourse; copulation
  • Personification of sexual affection, as Eros or cupid
  • Affectionate concern for the well-being of others
  • Strong predilection, enthusiasm or liking for anything
  • The object or thing so liked
  • The benevolent affection of god for his creatures or the reverent affection due from them to god
  • Out of affection or liking for pleasure without compensation; gratuitously
  • Feeling deep affection or passion for…; enamored of…
  • To have profoundly tender, passionate affection for…

– SYN: tenderness, fondness, predilection, warmth, passion, adoration, love, affection and devotion all mean a deep enduring emotional regard, usually for another person. Love may apply to various kinds of regard, the charity of the creator, reverent adoration toward God or toward a person, the relation of parent and child, the regard of friends for each other, romantic feelings for another person etc., Affection is a fondness for others that is enduring and tender, but calm. Devotion is an intense form of love and steadfast, enduring loyalty to a person; it may also imply consecration to a cause.

This was the meaning given in the dictionary!!! I guess by far this must be the longest explanation for a four-letter word in any dictionary. The fact that it needs such a lengthy explanation goes to say that there’s no one way to explain it and it still leaves some questions in the mind of the seeker. It was confusing. What is love? How do you differentiate between friendship, love and lust –the three parts of love? Why is it so important to a person’s life that it makes and breaks people? How much of love is enough? How do you measure love? And so on…

I realized there was more to love than what we see and hear. I often hear people saying when asked to describe love that “its hard to describe love, you have to feel it”. They are probably right, one has to experience it to know what it is. That is because the experience of love is unique to every person and only the person who has experienced it knows what was felt.  Love is the very essence of life. It brings everyone closer. It brings in trust, faith, affection and more importantly hope. It gives hope for a day filled with sunshine and that makes life go on. That’s the power of love. In every relationship it plays a different role and everywhere it leaves its mark.

When I asked my close friends what they felt about love and what they would do for love, I got all kinds of responses. Here is a brief assimilation of their responses.

“One has to be mature to know love and what happens at a younger age is infatuation and ………  Love involves a great deal of sacrifices and a give and take policy , in sacrificing something for your loved one there is a special feeling of joy. You get in return what you give , I don’t expect anything but love and affection that is all , on the other hand from my side I am willing to give all my love to the person involved.”

“Love is a little bit of Heaven here on Earth. Love is next to God to me…. the person to whom I say this means everything to me, and my world revolves around him/her In love the question as to how much can be given or expected can never arise.  Love to me is to give, give and give and when you give something it should not be measured in any terms.  And when you have given so much you automatically get it back, but how much you get back you never know and again it should not be measured.  This according to ME IS LOVE.”

“The word here is “mutual”… that’s what it is all about… how two minds and two souls work at tandem… in a seamless and synchronous way… freedom is an in-built attribute of this mutuality and the compromise has to come from both parties…. well, what percentage…? that’s debatable….. but I, personally,  would go to any extent of compromise… because you are doing it for someone u love… and that’s where ultimate happiness is to be found… so, that I guess is the bottom-line… no cribbing, being reasonable and being practical… is the essence of a true relationship…”

“It is bigger than life itself. When I think of love, I think of my kid first. Nothing in the world is more pure than the feeling I feel for my child. Love is sharing. To me the phrase “I love you” does not mean much. To me love is the feeling…the bond that keeps you going. I definitely don’t get carried away when my husband says “I love you”. But I most definitely get carried away when I see the concern or the struggle to want the best for me and our kid. Why is it that we make up and move on in spite of a vicious fight???? That to me is love! The joy I feel inside my heart when my child gives me a hug or a kiss…which nobody really told it to do. That to me is love.”

“Love is a state of mind, it’s probably the most abstract thing I’ve come across…. for one thing, when you love someone, you want to be with them. Not just be with them, but share everything with them. You have a great day at work and want to rush home and tell them every wonderful thing that has happened. You feel excited at the prospect of just being in their company, just being close to them isn’t enough, and you want to be a part of them, a part of their life forever. You can’t stand the thought of being away from them, yet when you are, you still feel that ever-present bond that ties you together wherever you go. You can almost feel what they are feeling. With a little bit of effort, you can see what they are seeing and think what they are thinking. It is almost as if you both can occupy each other’s bodies with complete trust and harmony. That to me is love…. plain old love.”

“Love is natural & irrational but very important ……Love is a moment that lasts forever…Love is everything, it is that catalyst, that real essence in Life. When I say I love someone I mean that this person is the one whom I have embraced totally (emotionally, mentally physically…etc) When I love someone all my saved up wishes start coming out When someone says that they love me it makes me elated, proud and privileged because one thing I know is that true love is one of the rarest things on this planet. True Love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen. It also makes me feel responsible that I owe it to that person because when someone says that they love me I hope what they mean is “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.  I would love to give everything for true love and expect nothing in return because, If you have Love you don’t need to have anything else. If you don’t have it, doesn’t matter much what else you do have.”

“Love………. should be unconditional……what a mother has for a child, what a child gives to a mother. ..that’s love….. Well one form of love —which in my mind is the purest of all….. When I say I love someone I mean that….for the most part I expect the same for the most part, i.e., unconditional love……the question is whether we all keep our word in this so-called pragmatic world.”

“Love is a two-sided coin. It can strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. When love is returned we are taken to new heights unseen, where it delights, invigorated and beautifies. When love is spurned we feel crippled, disconsolate and bereaved. Love is belonging to someone unconditionally”

“Love is unconditional ie. when your partner is happy you are happy. You do everything in your might to see them happy. Love is all about sharing, caring, trust and freedom. Love is how you feel when you are with them or even when u think about them. Love is pure and devoid of social stigmas and negativity “

“When being selfless comes naturally. That is love:)”

“Love always comes with expectations. Only love without expectations is with children. In this relationship there is only give, give and give”

“I experience love when somebody goes an extra mile and turns an impossible issue possible. For eg if a person knows about my likes and dislikes and gives importance to my likes …..then tell others that this is what she likes and this is what she dislikes….. that concern for me is just because they love me”

“Love is something which no words can explain. Love can only be felt from within. The warmth of love can make anything possible. Love makes a persons dreams come true. In short love makes you to fall in love with yourself and everyone, everything around you”

“ Love is Love only when it is selfless …… It is very very rare to find. What a husband feels for a wife or what a wife feels for a husband is NOT love I feel because it is not selfless. There are expectations in return. Even what a lover feels towards his or her lover isn’t Love because again ….There are expectations in return.”

“The only true instance of Love ….I feel ….is the love felt by a mother or father towards their child . There is no parallel to that sort of Love. That Love is blind. It ignores all faults and shortcomings of the child and expects nothing in return. Love cannot get purer than that ….”

So everyone had different theories on love. But almost everyone found the question difficult to answer and agreed that ‘love’ was an important part of their life. Some had it, some didn’t. The ones who had it wanted more and ones who didn’t felt they were incomplete.

In my next part, I will address the different forms of love a person comes across in his or her journey through life.

(To be continued) imgres-1