Love and Relationships
What is love? Songs are written about it, poems are penned, people live for it, desire it, die for it, creative works are set to it. And we use the word so often it may have lost its true meaning.
There are many types of love in this world. The love a parent has for a child, a child for a parent, sibling love, friends who love each other, people who love their pets, and that which we find in relationships between two people called romantic love and true love.
Romantic love…it’s been described, drawn, sculpted and idolized. The most common description attached to it is hearts beating, fluttering, skin flushed, sharp focus on the object of the love, and scattered thoughts. It is exciting and feeds the ego, wants and desires. However, once the hunger is satisfied it must turn into something else. Romantic love, often can cause stress, anxiety and a sense of uncertainty about oneself. Plenty of research studies tell us that this type of love is transitory, not sustainable and isn’t lasting. In fact there’s even a physiological explanation for it, the body builds up its adrenalin levels, the same hormone that allows a person to survive in moments of high stress. And of course, prolonged exposure to adrenalin can in fact become dangerous to health. Hence, it is not a sustainable situation and can become tiring.
We have learnt relationships go through phases, they start with this romantic love and then as the individuals mature the love itself matures into something based on more realistic characteristics of the respective people, and true love starts to build and exist.
True love…this is a different type of love from the above. This love is unconditional, it is accepting and it is given with generosity and not with expectation. It is the type of love that acknowledges the good and the bad in the other person, and yet continues to grow. It is without ego and pride, based on respect and integrity. This love is a giving love where each person is focused on the others’ happiness and not their own. In this way the giver of love in fact achieves their own state of happiness and peace. This love enfolds all the others who are within the environment into its existence. It helps the individuals develop better self-esteem, confidence, and sense of who they are. It takes away anxiety and stress and confusion and gives energy instead of asking for it. In fact there are studies that show that this type of love even boosts the immune system and promotes physical health and mental acuity.
So, why is it that it is romantic love that people seem to run after? Put plain and simple, it is the rush. The short bout of energy and excitement that accompanies it can be intoxicating. It is thrilling to be in the thrall of this love, captured by its newness and unknown future. But it is short-lived. Ironically, romantic love must exist for true love to develop. It is an engine starter, and once it has burnt itself out true love takes over. But this only happens if the two individuals are really compatible and share similar values, drives, and systems for living life.
In the end it is true love that is the greater value, and although it grows from the romantic kind, once it exists, protected by commitment, it can lead to happiness and peace.