The nature of love has been for me a life's inquiry, and I have found and felt way more than I would have thought. I'm so grateful about that. This quest began with a spiritual concept, introduced to me by my mother during my teenage years : unconditionnal love. This spiritual love was different from the possessive, passionnate one described in our culture. It means to love without conditions, without expectations. That seemed to me at the same time an utopia and a ideal to look for. Why? Because even during my teenage years, I wasn't understanding how to justify that love means to possess, to expect, to suffer for it, to suffer because of it. How dare we say that it is love to forbid things to someone else? To tell them what to do? To impose conditions they have to meet to deserve our love? Is it really everything we can hope for as human beings?
Despite of these thoughts, I have been raised by our society to love in a certain way, and I experienced it. I have been jealous and I have blamed others for it, I have wanted to possess, to keep, I have smothered, I made demands, requests, I suffered and told it was love, I made sacrifices and told it was love, asking the others to do the same. I thought I had to follow the rules, to give others what they wanted, always afraid to lose their love, this love that would fill the void of my non-love for myself. I had expectations, made projections, and this false love was violent for others, and they were violent to me. And I guess I will do these things again sometimes, with less intensity, because I am a human being who can do the same mistakes again.
These fears and desires, that I was calling Love, inspired me some painfully beautiful poems. But I was feeling something was not right. I was struggling calling these games of power, and this tortured hearts, Love. One day, I wrote for a lover :
And this is not the right way to love
This violent passion can only consume us
A peaceful lake has to take its place.
Torrent, I'm begging you, ease your fury
That will break me from the inside
And let me mistaken.
What did I find in my quest? What are the keys to feel this Love, the one that can be intensely warm without burning our heart, the one whose the gift is not hiding ropes to attach and restrain?
To love is to be self-sufficient, so to love ourselves
The world we are thinking as outside of us is like a mirror. For this reason, the love we have for others can be only as high as the love we have for ourselves. I'm not really talking about the “quantity” of love, for example how much we could sacrifice for the other, but about the quality of this love. I want to dismantle the belief that the love of others will make us complete and happy. And also the belief that we could give to others a love that will make them free and powerful when we don't have this kind of love in ourselves, for ourselves. More I love myself - which means more I'm accepting myself, more I'm letting myself be, more I'm my own bestfriend, my own parents, there to hug myself when I'm sad, to push myself when I'm afraid, to congratulate myself when I succeeded, to make fun of myself when I'm worried for nothing, to give myself a hand when I'm falling - more I can offer this same energy to others. The more I'm free the more I let others be free. The more I'm empowerded, the more I'm letting others empower themselves. At the opposite, the more I judge myself, the more I judge others. I'm never finding every person beautiful than when I'm feeling beautiful myself. To love is to let be
I would like to offer two quotes here :
“To exist with the other in a certain space, and to let them be everything they are at this moment, accepting everything they could be, I think it is the real definition of love.” Tom Woodfin, that I'm lucky to have as a friend
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” Carl Rogers, A Way of Being
A sacrifice is not an act of love
Do you really want the people who love you to “sacrifice” themselves for you? Do you really want them to renunce to some things that could make them grow and empower, because of their love for you? If no, why are you doing that for others? I'm not saying here that we shouldn't do anything for others that could demand a little effort. But we could play a different game. We could explain to the other why it is demanding us an effort, then really check with ourselves if it could be good for us to do that, and if after all of that we are choosing to do it, it woudn't be a sacrifice anymore. In this case, we would be happy to do that for the other, because we know this person respect our independence, and would love us even if we would have said no. In these last years, I don't remember any “sacrifice” I would have done for others, only acts of love, that were good for the others but also for me. To love is not to suffer
When you are suffering, even if it has been triggered by someone you also love, are you thinking this pain is coming from a place of love, or from a place of fear? When you are jealous, is it really love, or just the fear to lose this love? And if you are so afraid to lose the love of the other, is it because you are not capable to give this love to yourself? In this logic, if this other loving you stops doing so, you wouldn't be loved anymore. And if you are suffering, that your are connecting this pain to the actions of the other, that you are blaming them for it, how can you still love this person in a sense that would make them free, alive, happy? We learned that love and pain come together, always, that the person we love will make us suffer, and that we will make suffer the people who love us. Dismantle all these prejudices deeply settled in our mind could be tricky, but do you really want to keep living with them, if there is a chance of a different way to love?
To love is to know how to receive
Some of us are thinking a lot about how to give, but never about how to receive. Like if one was possible without the other. Like if it wasn't giving to let someone give to us, to let them see how we are touched by it, how we are grateful. Like if it wasn't receiving to contemplate someone enjoying our loving touch. I learned that to love is not to know how to give : it is to know how to give in receiving, and to receive in giving.
I could write a lot more pages about love, and maybe I will do that in an other article. But to end this one, I would like to say that to love is seeing someone expressing themselves as their own poetry, whose we can only get a fragrance, that is unic, irreplaceable, precious, and that we want to contemplate a little longer, feeling the intense joy of their existence.
In my articles, I make a lot of statements. It is hard for my philosopher side which would love me to explain in greater detail and give stronger arguments, but it is not fitting the short form I'm using here. I just want to specify that I'm not telling a general truth, just my truth at this precise moment of my life, which will change and evolve. Also, I would like to apologize of my current level of english, I'm working at improving it.