Okay...I find this weird. Normally I agree with ya Reb, but I am confused with the beginning here. Not necessarily disagreeing, but I think there are subtleties. (Women like subtleties.) But nod, I applaud your ambition to explain "love".
"I can begin to explain love first by addressing jealousy."
See? You lost me right there. Why wouldn't you address attraction, lust, psychological imprinting of idealized relationships first?
Lawd knows, I ain't a pro, but it seems to me you just jumped right into "jealousy", which to me, implies some territorial assumption that would be preceded by mating rituals. At the very least, some pheromonal sniffing should be mentioned. ?
"Jealousy could be accurately described as insecurity."
uh huh, I nodded here.
"But, for our purpose here lets call it anger."
Actually, I would argue that jealously unaddressed kinda steamrolls into anger.
"It is anger based in fear (as is all anger)."
I don't entirely disagree, I just think there is more emotional relay going on here, with pain having dominance. Fear, I think, would be the messenger of pain. If we would would personify the emotions, think of it this way, "pain" says "uh oh"--sounds an alarm--"fear", would dial the emotional cellphone on speeddial to anger, which would emerge costumed as jealousy.
All anger is about control. (We're angry at the copy machine, for instance, because we have no control over its' behavior.) We want something to be different than it is. Why? Because for some reason we are afraid of things not being the way we want them to be.
(Agreed. And I don't think our thoughts part ways at all, I just find there are finer points inbetween.)
That fundamental desire for control, and for self being in control, is at the very root of our Western Culture's idea of romantic love. We find it every where in our literature, movies, love songs (i.e. baby I need your lovin, got to have all your lovin -- I can't live if livin is without you -- etc. etc. etc.) Those songs, ironically though, are not about the object of our passion -- but rather about us!
(I'm still nodding here, and yet? I don't want someone, anyone to love me out of obligation or because I said so--I want them to want to be with me, simply because they would rather not be anywhere else--no control issue for me there--go, already, if yer bored!)
This is where the dichotomy exists. If "I" am the most important part of my love relationship and I think only of ME then the relationship is obviously doomed.
And, yet, if I become so co-dependent upon the other that I completely lose my identity then the relationship is equally failed. Under closer scrutiny though -- when that happens the relationship is still about "I". It's masked in that I seem to be so lost in the other that I don't exist.
(This is where "love" or, lust, if you prefer, becomes an addiction. Drugs are used for the same purpose, to escape the imprisonment of ourselves.)
Whereas in reality what happened is I made MY possession of the other the most important thing in the relationship, and thus, even though self has been lost "I" is still selfishly seeking control.
If our egos are fed by someone and they make us feel strong and smart and sexy, and we appreciate them because they do whatever we ask, and they allow us to do whatever we want -- that is not loving them. It does not recognize the uniqueness or worth of the other person. Only their value to us -- because of how they make us feel. We could substitute anyone else who was willing and achieve the same result. Loving someone because they have similarities to us or because they become extensions of our ego is -- once again -- a round about way of loving ourselves. And, we would find ourselves very lonely in the end.
(So you found out the hard way too, eh?)
So then -- what is the proper model? My opinion is that "true" love of another is a state of being rather than an act of doing and is not predicated upon the actions of self or the other. It can never be lost. Even if the other's actions become so intolerable that we can no longer be with them it is never lost. This being true -- if we truly love ourselves -- and are truly "In-Love" with someone else we have no choice but to "set them free" --or rather -- recognize they are already 'free' totally separate individuals from ourselves.
(I have experienced this both ways. I have loved, and have been loved back, to the extent that the relationship would end when it interfered with personal growth. In other words, we want the best for each other, even to the painful conclusion that what is best for one another might not include each other.)
You can't give to someone else what you haven't achieved in yourself. It isn't them we have to give freedom to -- first it is ourselves.
Truth and Potential
The human animal has the peculiar ability, unlike the other animals, to recognize the difference between how we are -- in truth -- and how we can be potentially.
I am insecure, so I am not sure if this applies to me.
This knowledge is the state of being the Hebrews called "sin". All actions, desires, passions, frustrations, are attempts to make up the difference or outgrowths of our failing to do so. The Western culture has perverted the concept of sin into the actions and desires instead of a state of being. The unconditional love of "Christ Power" brought redemption because it balanced the difference, giving the recognition that one will always be somewhere short of potential and allows flexibility and peace in the balance between the two.
(I have a different understanding of Rabbi Jesus. I think the way I address him is sufficient explanation.)
In love we recognize not only our own truth and potential -- but the truth and potential of the other. We must balance our desires and actions against the desires and actions of the other, not attempting to superimpose our requirements upon them, recognizing their freedom to pursue dreams and act for themselves -- and regardless of the outcome we stand as a shelter for them to return to and accept them for their truth and not their potential. In doing so we find balance in our love.
Agreed. It is the only way that growth is possible and love, in stagnate, becomes the dreaded opposite--and no, that would not be "hatred", but apathy.
An American tourist found himself in a village in India at the time of the pilgrimage to the top of a sacred mountain. He decided to join them in the experience and had no doubt that he could make it to the top since he was in perfect physical condition. Yet on the journey, after only twenty minutes he was out of breath and could hardly climb another step. He noticed women carrying babies and old men with canes were progressing effortlessly. "I don't understand it" -- he said to his Indian friend who had sponsored him there. "How can they continue when I cannot?" His friend replied "It is because you have the typical Western habit of seeing everything as a test. You see the mountain as an enemy and therefore you must defeat it by climbing it. So -- the mountain fights back and it is naturally stronger than you. We do not see the mountain as our enemy. The purpose of our climb is not to reach the top but to become one with the mountain and so it lifts us up."
It is a paradigm shift.
(oh boy am I working on that...)
Many ordinary people learn the parameters of unconditional love just by becoming parents. This kind of love can also be achieved in a romantic relationship. The point comes to know that no matter what happens no one can come between the two in a manner where one is 'replaced'. Each one holds a unique position with the other -- therefore there is no need for jealousy, no real need for pledges of monogamy (commitment yes -- but this comes naturally in a mutual fashion and cannot be --indeed -- should not be prompted, expected, or the goal of the relationship) -- but more important -- love for each is unique -- To love someone unconditionally is true freedom.
The notion of loving someone enough to sacrifice one's own life for them is quite common. Why can't unconditional love that can forgive all transgressions be achieved. If we can love so much to be willing to die then why not love so much to allow to let live?
(In my particular case, I still need to be rewarded with treats. )
The End Game
It's always interesting to me that people tend to characterize the end of a relationship as a failed relationship and consider the last (x number of years) as wasted time or all just a 'lie' that didn't mean anything in a supposed attempt to get over it. In reality this is self deprecating talk because it is saying about us -- even though the other person is the 'bad' guy the other person was really justified in dumping us because we are too pathetic to be able to discern fantasy from reality and lack the basic self esteem to take control of the situation and dump the other person first.
My question is -- why is it wasted time? I'm sure there was a point in the relationship when things got so bad that one or both really needed to make a move to get out of it -- and probably some of that time was wasted -- but, was all the joy at the beginning wasted time? Just because two people have gone as far as they can with a relationship and one has decided that moving forward is not possible does that make the initial attraction and affection just a lie?
Agreed again. It's like, um, taking a class. Even if you never receive the degree, the knowledge is never lost. Some of my best relationships are with former lovers.
I'm beginning to think that I have had more former lovers than even I suspected.
All normal--some people can't move on without an impetus--for example, a classic non-sexual break up is adolescence. To avoid the guilt of the inevitable break with parents, conflict is created when there may actually be none at all. Some people need a conflict. It's kind of like a starting block in running. Shrug.
This is all painful stuff I know -- but -- wouldn't it be better to focus on the positive things -- like (x years) were really good -- and this other person chose me -- from everyone else available -- to spend this time with ? And -- I now know a lot more about relationships and giving and receiving love and I'll be ready to share myself again someday and THAT person is going to be really lucky to have me because of who I am and the things I've been through in my life.
I think women tend to take breakups harder than men because of a misplaced value that still exists in our society on female virginity -- and that is really, really, sad.
? I have never "met" a man who was disappointed that I was not a virgin.
I may want to look for a one-owner car if I'm buying a used vehicle -- but if I'm picking a life mate I want one that is at least as reasonably mature (and that means in life experience) as am I (I don't want to raise one -- I have children to raise) and knowing her way around in the bedroom would be a bonus as well.
There is no reason to consider any relationship wasted time -- every one is a gift -- because you did have good times together and you now have the benefits and wisdom of that relationship to grow with and move on to the relationship that will be 'right' for you.
Bear in mind though -- every relationship comes to an end in some way or another.
Your last sentence just summed up my life lesson from the past five years. We DO go on.
We choose whether to go on happily, or otherwise.
An essay from my site http://www.geocities.com/nighthawke700/love.htm written about 10 years ago, reposted here for someone who asked me about soulmates and my response to Icebox's thread.