Despite the growing consciousness of mankind, I keep realizing how many people still hold on to misconceptions about love. The way our society thinks of love and the aspects of love that are praised by most people are in fact the exact opposite of love. No wonder we all have difficulties in finding satisfaction in love if we nurture the wrong aspects of it. In this post I discuss some of the most common misconceptions about love, which - once correctly understood - could spare you the pain of investing more energy into these false beliefs.
Love is… Worshipping Your Partner
Let’s start with the adoration we feel towards our romantic partners. We tend to think that when we’re in love it’s normal and healthy to completely adore our partner and to put him or her on a pedestal. After all, that’s why we choose to be in a committed relationship with someone, right? The specialness we see in the other person gives us the permission to really open our heart and to see only the light and beauty in the other.
On a surface this actually sounds like a goal we would all want to accomplish. In a society where people rather look down upon each other and people tend to keep their hearts closed, this sounds more like a collective goal for all of mankind. But that’s not necessarily the case, because it’s actually the other side of the same coin. Whether we look down upto people or whether we excessively adore them - it’s all a form of judgement concerning someone’s worthiness. We either put someone above or below ourselves. On an energetic level both are equal, because in both cases we’re missing out on intrinsic equality of all.
Not only are we putting this one special person above all other people, we’re often times also placing them above ourselves. What sounds like a humble and loving gesture in fact is detrimental to any serious attempt to have a healthy relationship, because no one can step into their true power from a place of inferiority. Like this, we don’t only cut off our own power, we also take away our partner’s freedom to be human. The subconscious and pervasive belief of our “perfect” partner makes it increasingly difficult to accept their imperfect and human behaviour which will always occur on some level. This can lead to withdrawal from our partner - in order to stay with the illusion of the partner rather than with the real person - or to anger - in order to mold the partner back into perfection.
In some cases the worshipped partner will feel this tendency towards having to be perfect in order to be accepted as a partner. They are so afraid to fall out of grace that they decide to never really show their true colours. They never truly open their hearts to their partners which makes it easier for them not to be led by emotions which will eventually reveal their humanness. Interestingly, this leads to an intricate - and tiresome - dance between the partners, in which one partner wants to lure the other partner into opening their heart, not understanding that their unrealistic view of them is what inhibits their partner from being themselves. At the same time, they (the ones who adore) are convinced that they have opened their hearts to their partner, not realizing that they have opened their hearts to the illusion they have of their partner and not to their true being of which they have no clue.
Let me get this clear, there’s no problem in valuing your partner as long as there is a sense of equality between the partners and a realistic view of the other’s humanness. No one wants to be burdened with always having to be perfect and everyone wants to feel that they are loved with all their imperfections. Instead of projecting perfection onto our partner, we could focus on the flow and ease we feel when we’re with our partner; judging the moments spent together and not so much the person in and of itself. Not having a fixed and rigid idea about how someone is, gives the other the freedom to continue expressing themselves freely and developing their true self - which is ideally in constant evolution and expansion.
Love is… When Two People Become One
We all know these couples who seem to be inseparable, who are always together at every party, who share the same hobbies and who go on holidays together. Whenever life separates them for some reason, you can be sure to see them attached to their phone, constantly chatting or calling with their beloved. Some people may look at these kinds of couples and consider these to be relationship goals, but I get highly comfortable whenever I’m surrounded by them.
Oftentimes, it doesn’t really matter how much time the couple spends together, it’s about the energy that’s between them which makes me feel uncomfortable. I can feel the inauthenticity of the reason for the couple to be constantly together, which is everything but love. The glue that makes these couples stick together is anxiety. They’re either afraid that their needs won’t be met when their partner is not around or - even worse - they’re afraid that their partner might find out that his needs are met even when they’re not around.
In their core they believe that they are loved for some role they play (the caregiver, the protector, the lover, etc.) or for the favors they do (cooking, providing sex and attention, etc.). When they spend time away from their partners they fear that their partner will either find someone else who can provide for those needs better or that their partner will find out that he doesn’t need all of that which makes them superfluous.
Sadly, this often works. Many people stay in relationships not because they are particularly fulfilling, but because they don’t believe their needs will be met outside of the relationship. They lack the skill to self-regulate and desperately hope their partner will do the work for them. Even though they eventually don’t really feel supported or loved, being with their partner gives them the illusion that being a couple gives them at least the chance of receiving love and support - being alone for sure they won’t get it. Honestly, is this the reason you would want anyone to spend time with you?
There are probably some couples out there who spend loads of time together, but who aren’t suffocating each other, but I still have to meet such a couple in real life. Everyone should judge by themselves how healthy the amount of time they spend with their partners feels to them and how they feel when they’re separated from them. All I can say is that I hope that my future partner can be just as happy with and without me and that time spent alone is just as precious as time spent together. Every single moment is precious and shouldn’t depend on the presence of someone else.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of heavens dance between you
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are all alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not in each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
- Khalil Gibran
Love is…Finding the One
This is probably the most prevalent and dangerous misconception about love. I always feel my irritation rising when I’m talking to a friend who’s obviously in a dysfunctional relationship (oftentimes rather in a situationship) which they simply can’t let go of, because they feel they’re losing the love of their lives. They claim to have never felt anything like this before and their gut feeling is telling them that this is the “One”. The fact that their relationship is not working out or that they’re experiencing more pain than comfort seems to be totally irrelevant. All they’re interested about is that special feeling they get from the other. (I admit: I used to be one of those friends!)
But who actually says that these extreme feelings are indeed love? How can we decide to allow ourselves to enter a downward spiral for a feeling we can’t even clearly identify as “love”? When we closely examine the feeling, we realize that in fact it creates a lot of anxiety, it turns on the monkey mind (and not so much the heart) and robs us from our sleep and appetite. Can this really be love?
Shouldn’t love rather feel like comfort and ease? A warm and calming feeling that uplifts your day? A feeling that gives you the security and trust to perform other tasks in your life rather than obsessing about your partner? Don’t get me wrong, we will all experience this kind of heavy feelings at some point in the relationship, especially in the initial phase of infatuation or during extreme circumstances, but these intense feelings should not dominate the relationship.
Interestingly, we’re so hung up on the idea that we should have these feelings, that we actually break up the moment the heavy feelings subside. This reaction is pretty normal, seeing the fact that we humans also tend to rather eat unhealthy, but quickly satisfying fast food, instead of “boring” but nourishing vegetables. We all know that we have these tendencies and we all accept it as dysfunctional. No one would suggest that we should prefer fast food over vegetables, just because it gives us a good feeling. So how come we think that the “fast love” is even superior to the slow and steady love?
The problem with this false mindset is not only that you’re potentially keeping yourself in a destructive relationship, you’re also blocking a healthy one. By constantly thinking you’ve found the “One” you automatically don’t allow yourself to open your heart to someone else. Energetically, you’re also tuning yourself to a rather dysfunctional model of love, which means that you won’t be able to attract a healthier version into your life. Indirectly, you’ve let the universe know that this is your standard and you’re not even open to other options.
But anyone who’s even the slightest bit familiar with the workings of the universe will know that your human mind will never find a better solution than the incredible forces of the universe. Even thinking that we know someone is the “One”, is a pretty arrogant idea, seeing the fact that we know little of what is really good for us, especially when we’re still a puppet of our ego. As long as we want to force things into existence, we are a puppet of our ego. Our Inner Being never controls, never forces, never resists - it simply follows the flow of life, allowing it to unfold in the right direction and with the right timing.
So, how should you choose a partner if none of them is the “One”? Well, this is the fun part: You can literally date anyone who feels right! Our notion of having to find the “One” also keeps us from simply dating people we enjoy spending time with (who could turn out to be pretty compatible long term partners!). Not having the notion of the “One” allows us to stay in the Here and Now and to simply explore our romantic partners for who they are and not for the role they are supposed to play in our lives. It gives us the opportunity to just get to know others fearlessly, without heavy expectations and to just enjoy the moments with a person. I really like Abraham Hicks marriage vows which go along the line of: I like you pretty much, let’s see how it goes. Doesn’t that sound a lot easier and less constricting than: You’re the love of my life. I want to stay with you forever, no matter what happens…?
I’m sorry if I have destroyed some of your Walt Disney-inspired ideas about love, but believe me, love still is magical. In fact, it’s even more magical than you’ll ever imagine, because real love is so much more expansive and all inclusive than our narrow focus on one specific person. Love will become a state we are in and not a state which a certain person evokes in us. It will be available for us at any time and with any person - be it romantic or not. Allow yourself to believe in a new paradigm, to shift your perspective and to broaden your view. Your ego won’t want to release it’s old beliefs about love, making you believe that the new belief is not the “real deal”. But don’t be troubled, this is what’s supposed to happen and it’s part of the natural process which I’ll tell you more about in the next post.