Every radio show and lots of television programs are all focusing today on Love ….yes, that’s Love with a capital L that all seems to relate to romance. I have nothing against romance, but it is a different ball game from Love, in my opinion.
In most cases whatever drew the two people together, whether romance or lust or drunkeness that initial period of infatuation doesn’t last very long. In most cases probably six weeks (could be the next day in the situation of drunkeness) and at the longest three months.
So when the thrill is gone, or the initial rush of seratonin is over and done with, many people just move on, adopting a ‘ I just was never into that one’ attitude. Other people have moved things further along and are already living with the other person and determined to make the best of a not -so-bad situation. But where is the love?
Infatuation is not love though it often is confused with it. Love can be a feeling but as such is usually fleeting, momentary. Like the feeling of looking outside at the sunshine and blue sky on a spring day after seeing the snowdrops have just pushed their way into the sunshine. You feel filled up and happy to be alive. Others have described lthe feeling of love as ‘warm and fuzzy’.
That feeling is different than what love really is. When someone I’m working with decides they want to end their relationship with their partner because ‘they are no longer in love with that person,’ it makes me wonder did they ever love the person or did they just have feelings for them. Were they simply infatuated with them for a while and then trying to get that glowy feeling back by sticking with them?
To me, love is an action that is the result of a decision about a person I am involved with, romantically or otherwise. It is a decision to be present to that person in their good times and bad times while being present to myself and my own needs and well-being. Sometimes a relationship ends because it is the very best for both people’s welfare, and that doesn’t mean that the love ends. Just like when a person dies we can decide to battle with their loss and feel we are being deprived of their presence, or we can continue to love them.
The experience of love is a result of our decision to love. I recall my spiritual teacher, Hilda Charlton, saying to our class one evening, you kids (she called everyone kids) walk around moaning that you’re feeling lonely, that you have no one to love. The reality is you have everyone to love. You have the whole world to love if you decide to. ‘But,’ someone would conunter, ‘I don’t have someone that is special, just for me, and that will love me back.’ Oh, so your love is conditional on someone loving you back? Then it’s not really love you’re wanting. It’s something else. Something empty inside of you that is looking to be filled by someone or something else.
She went on to explain that the only time we ‘feel’ love is when we are allowing love to flow through us to someone or something outside of ourselves (or even to ourselves in that moment). We can see love in another’s eyes, and recognize their admiration or caring by their actions or attitude. But the actual feeling of love comes when we love them from our heart whether they are looking at us or not. Try it sometime and let me know what your experience is. I’d enjoy hearing from you.