Is it better to love or be loved?

Is it better to love or be loved?

sweetness-in-heart

 

 

 

Recently someone asked me the question “is it better to love or to loved?” . I don’t think I ever really gave this much thought before. Then it got me thinking about what would I feel more regret about when I reflect on my life sometime in the future? And I came to the conclusion that for me it is far more meaningful to give real deep love than it is to receive it. I would feel a real sense of emptiness if I never experienced what it is to feel deeply for someone else. At the same time I came to the conclusion that this does not have to be one “special” person or even someone you make a commitment to be with for the rest of your life.

How to Measure Love

I guess measuring love is a little bit difficult but for me the words that come to mind are, needing, wanting, expectations, warmth, attachment, connection and pain.

To really know what it is to feel a deep sense of love for someone you must be able to continue loving them even if they do not meet your expectations. The more the expectations, the more volatile the relationship becomes. So if say you would rather be loved than to love, then there it is already an expectation in place. There is nothing wrong with wanting a special person to share your life with, what causes the problems are the preconceived notions that you take into this relationship.

For me I guess the only love I can see that can be selfless and unshakable is that of a mother towards her child.

A Mother’s Love

to-my-childrenI am fortunate enough to be a mother, three times over. To me being a mother is the deepest relationship I have in my life. It is giving without needing or wanting anything in return. There are no expectations, it is the only real selfless love. I’m not saying it is always the case, of course there are plenty of women who’s role as a mother is not loving.

I’m also privileged to be a grandmother, another level of mothering love but without the daily responsibilities that can add a little stress to the mother child relationship. Being a grandmother is a true gift.

Of course not everyone has the chance to experience being a parent or grandparent, not everyone wants to. It’s a personal choice and often not even a choice. I am only using my own experience here.

Romantic Love

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble about this notion of “romantic love” with the one and only but I have to say that this is probably the least fulfilling loving relationship. I’ll take a step back here and try to elaborate without me coming across as a non believer. Of course finding romantic love in life, that special person you can connect with, get close to and share “special” moments with is absolutely fundamental in life.

To go through life never experiencing this type of connection is sad. What is sadder however is watching people lose themselves in these romantic love relationships. Watching people searching with a sense of desperation for that “special one” And then watching people tear each other apart in dysfunctional relationships that long lost their magic and romance. This sense of clinging and attachment is clearly at the heart of so much pain in our lives, yet it is so much easier for some to just let it become their life than it is to let it go and move on.

And the proof for me that romantic love is less fulfilling than other types of love is that it all rests on what we get from it and the other person fulfilling our expectations. This is what makes it so difficult to maintain, we change, our needs change and our expectations change. How can one person be the giver of all that?

Is Romantic Love Dead?

It may sound like I’m saying there’s not such thing as romantic love. Actually I am saying the opposite. I’m saying it does exist but like most things in life it doesn’t last forever.

We have to be willing to see that love comes and goes. You find it in the most unexpected places, it can last days, weeks, months and years but it will change and it will end. Let’s not confuse real deep romantic, intimate love with long lasting relationships, they are rarely based on the love that perhaps was there at the beginning. These long lasting relationships are about evolving as a couple. Something for another discussion.

The Two Most Powerful Love’s

In order to live a life based on love, to give without an expectation of receiving anything in return is to realise that self love and love for humanity are the two most purest forms of love, yet we struggle with them the most.

Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first

Going back to the original question is it better to love or to be loved?” and looking at it in the way I’ve been discussing here, it is clear that finding a way to share your love is far more rewarding,than searching for someone to give you what you need.

In order to give pure love without expectations you must first love yourself

And this is where the problem lies. We struggle to give ourselves the love we expect from others. Instead we search for that special person to give us what we think we do not deserve to give ourselves.

love-and-compassion-are-necessities-not-luxurieswithout-them-humanity-can-not-survive

 

And finally we must find love for humanity. We must feel compassion for the human race, for the other living beings that share this planet with us and we must find peace for this planet we live on. We can not restrict our love to one special person and neglect this amazing universe we live in. It is a fruitless pursuit this search for one person to share our love with when there is a whole world that needs our complete devotion.

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I Don’t Need You!

I Don’t Need You!

Not Needy, Wanty

I Don’t Need You!

I remember a few years before my separation having a conversation with my ex husband, where I simply said “I don’t need you”. I was quite surprised by his hurt reaction because I didn’t intend it to be a negative statement. It made me realise that many of us base our relationships on need. My point was that I was in the marriage because I wanted to be, not because I needed to be.

Obviously I was with the wrong person because our outlook on relationships was very different. He obviously felt that a woman should need him; otherwise he felt his role as a man was somehow undermined. That in itself is not such a big deal, if your partner is the type that likes to be needed and you are the type that is needy, then perfect match.

I can imagine some people reading this thinking; “well no wonder their marriage didn’t last!” and I guess you may have a point. If you are in a relationship that is made up of two people on two different levels of need, then unless this is dealt with eventually it will cause problems.

Are Conventional Relationships Still a Right Fit?

So here we are 2016 in a society where men and women are supposed to be equal. I am guessing in same sex relationships this isn’t such an issue; at least there is no gender inequality as such. I’m sure there are other challenges but I have no expertise in this area so I won’t make any assumptions. What I do know is that most women are no longer content with playing the needy role, especially if they are independent and perhaps even career minded. Does this threaten the male role in a relationship?

Probably not in all cases but I am sure it does in many.

While we have changed many constructs in our society, the role of a woman and a man in relationships is not very different from say fifty years ago. Yes a woman may go out to work but that in itself is not equality.

Why Needy is Not Healthy

But neediness is not confined to gender as such. Neediness is much more to do with the feeling of unworthiness. If we do not feel whole, if we do not feel enough then we search to fill that gap and often we expect that from someone else, usually our partner.

Lonely alone

Need V Want

Personally I prefer someone to be with me because they enjoy my company, not because they don’t feel enough on their own. It’s not a compliment to feel needed; it’s much more a compliment to feel wanted. To me that means there’s a conscious choice, a mature, emotionally intelligent choice.

If feeling needed is what you are after, then what is it you feel is wrong with you? What would happen if nobody needed you? Would you become insignificant?

What would happen if you had to meet your own needs? Do you feel you couldn’t do that or perhaps that you are not good enough?

 

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What to do When Someone Let’s You Down

What to do When Someone Let’s You Down

Expect More From Yourself

Your Expectations Will Cause You Disappointment

I don’t enjoy talking negatively in any way; it serves no purpose and only prolongs the disappointment. This week I’ve had a couple of occasions where I’ve felt let down by people around me and try as I may to let sleeping dogs lie, sometimes even I get thrown by it.

The one thing I’ve learnt is that disappointment is always down to how I perceive the situation and my expectations of others. And there reaches a time when you don’t even want to give people the benefit of the doubt.

disappointments

So what can you do when people let you down?

Become Aware Of Your Expectations

The thing is you can’t go around having no expectations of others, it’s not realistic. What you can do is be aware of these expectations and be prepared that you may very well be let down when they are not met.

Do not Cling to Expectations

Becoming aware of your expectations helps you to deal with them not being met. And when they are not met, you get the choice of what to do.

You should try to not cling to your expectations. That doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you, it doesn’t mean you lower your expectations, it just means you give yourself the option of letting it go and walking away.

Be Prepared to Let People Go

And here’s a big one. We spend so much time in our relationships, be it close intimate ones or friendships clinging and attaching that when we are let down, we can’t break away.

We would much rather stay, fight it out, try to make the other person what we want them to be and then start to lose faith in ourselves.

Why do we do that?

Because the alternative is to walk away from people who no longer serve you. And that means starting to accept that people are not constants in your life, some stay, some go and some you may choose to leave.

Why do People Let You Down?

I had to think about this one over the week. Why is it that in the end even people you think you know so well turn out to be nothing like what you had imagined?

How can you not see who that person really is?

I came to the conclusion that sometimes our need for someone to be a certain way is so great that we ignore what’s right in front of us. We make excuses, we make compromises until we either lower our expectations so much that actually now they meet them or we start to get resentful.

And what does all this stem from?

Fear

Yes fear of being alone

Fear that you are not good enough to have such high expectations

Fear of there being nothing better than this or this person

Fear of being different in case you don’t fit in with the crowd

Let’s end on a more positive note.

Once you learn to accept that people will let you down, such is life. Once you learn to stop clinging to your expectations of people, start to become less attached and allow people to pass through your life, then you enter a whole different ball game.

Then you engage with people authentically. 

But more importantly you will learn that the only one that can let you down is the person who looks back at you in the mirror. Hold that person up to the highest expectations for this is the person who will always be there for you.

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Long Term V Short Term Relationships

Long Term V Short Term Relationships

Short term relationships

In Praise of Short Term Love by Alain de Botton.

As a young girl I dreamed about having a successful career, visiting amazing places and having adventures, marriage was never my ambition. But in the end I towed the line and I got married because I risked becoming a strange outcast, not the sort of thing a good Greek girl does. I’m happy to be a mother, my children are my life and my marriage was no disaster, there were some great times. But I have no clue what my life would have been like if I had stuck to my core beliefs and never married or had children, if I had lived on a more short term basis.

So when a friend shared this video, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on long term relationships.

Friends often ask me if I’ll marry again or if I have a new “long” relationship. I believe they ask out of genuine concern, sometimes I think they ask just out of curiosity. However right now I can’t imagine giving up my freedom or constantly sharing my space with someone else. I am also convinced that long term relationships are not the best way to live. I’m not saying this because I’m bitter or because I’m trying to undermine marriage, I say it because of the points Alain de Botton raises in his video.

If Not A Long Term Relationship, Then What?

Do we enter into a long term relationship because we are so in love or is it because we fear being alone?

Why does society find it so difficult to accept that actually there are meaningful short term relationships. I’ll even support Alain de Botton and say that short term relationships can be more meaningful. Why?

Because in a short term relationship you learn to just accept the other person as is, without trying to change or mold them into someone you want to share your life with. It just is what it is, no pressure and no expectation.

Could you really embrace being an open, free spirited individual, open to whatever and whoever comes into your life? Would that be so difficult to live with?

Appreciation Comes From Knowing There is an Expiry Date

When we know someone won’t be around for ever then we appreciate them more. We tend to value the time together because that time may be the only time together.

In long term relationships we take each other for granted, we assume the other person will be around for ever and we appreciate less. Of course, in an ideal world we should just learn to appreciate the other person more. How realistic that is I’m not sure.

Marry or Not?

I’m not anti-marriage or anti-long term relationship. I respect individual preferences, I was married for a long time so speak from both sides. I only offer a different perspective that I feel best suits me and many others. I do my best to live moment to moment and I am working on attachment, so a long term relationship no longer fits. Maybe one day it will, maybe it won’t, either way I’m good where I am right now.

You may think I’m being negative because of my so called “failed” marriage. So let me be clear, I was never really into marriage, all I am doing is going back to what I always knew. Relationships are complicated, we go through stages in our life and to think that one person should be with us through each stage is not my preference.

Please do watch the video and do share your thoughts in the Facebook Group, let’s take this conversation to another level.

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