Is Love a feeling?
Or an expectation of love in return?
Is Love a desire… to be with someone?
Is it all consuming like romance novels and movies have us believing?
Would you die for love? Kill for it? Dance for it?
Would you do anything for love?… Anything?!
I'm an avid reader and I admit… I like a bit of escapism just like many people… So some (no.. a lot) of my reading material is fiction. I grew up in a household where both of my parents read lots of fiction and it followed through that all of their daughters also read fiction. Up until the last year or so, once in a while I would have to clear out my burgening book cases and take all the books I was happy to part with down to the 2nd hand store, collect money and most likely walk out with more books to read. I've moved to digital books now and in the last 6 months, consistently when I go looking for a new book on kobo or amazon I browse the top 50 popular books and find, to my surprise, quite a few romances and lately, a lot of erotica written for women. So I have to ask myself, what is it that women all around the world are craving that we need to seek it in a book? Is it love? Or is it that buzz you feel when you get turned on? Do we find in the books the meaning of love or are we escaping from our mundane lives into a rich world of romping and perfect bodies (which I'm sure all romance and erotica characters have).
It's an interesting question… what is love? I quite often ask my couples and singles exactly what that means for them… I'm looking for expectations (which equal conditions) such as… I feel good… I feel wanted… I feel safe… I feel respected… and so forth. When we put expectations on what the other person will give us in this love relationship, then technically we're creating a co-dependent relationship. It means we need them to forfill our needs… that's not love… that's want, dependency and needy!
Neuroscientists who have examined this love phenomenon would say love is a set of chemical and hormonal reactions within the body when, at it's basic instinctual survival level, our unconscious sees and recognises a partner who could meet our needs (for creating a secure home, provide children and provide for us). Once we have secured that mate the hormal and electrical reactions settle down and then the real test for us begins because unlike our primative ancestors, we then need to work at maintaining this relationship which in our current lifetime circumstances, is much easier to walk away from. It takes a lot of courage to stay and sort things out.
Scientists have discovered that certain parts of the brain become deactivated when we're in love, including areas linked with negative emotions, planning, critical social assessment, the evaluation of trustworthiness and fear.
Biological studies have found that this phase of reduced cognitive function, during which faults are ignored, can last from one to two and a half years. This temporary state of delusion has a vital human function. If we immediately saw all our partner's faults, we would be less likely to form a stable relationship in which to produce children. (The Independent)
We all know there is a "honeymoon" period to love and then it become something else… It becomes hard work and takes a real conscious effort to build and grow in a loving relationship that can sustain the ups and downs of life. Moving on from just cohabitating, keeping the passion alive and managing your emotions in the face of the other's now annoying faults takes committment. The grass often looks greener in another pasture and most of the time, that's actually not true. What you avoid dealing with in one relationship often follows you into the next.
I was fortunate to watch my parents work hard at their relationship through spending quality time together every Saturday night. I grew up respecting their need for that and appreciating how important it was for them. It made them a much more cohesive unit. Family constellations theory also places significant importance of the primary relationship (between mum and dad) taking precedence over parent to child relationship. Why is this? Because that's the foundational relationship and if that is strong then the children will feel supported and know what is expected of them. When this is out of balance… when a child supports a mum through her worries or offers words of support to a dad who has been fighting with mum, then the child's responsibilities have changed into that of a caretaker/parent role. It's confusing, it's unatural. The parent's role is to give and the child's role is to take. This isn't about love, it's about nature.
Love isn't about meeting some elses needs. Those of you who are parents know that you love your child no matter how naughty they are (most of the time). You love to do things and provide things for your children and most of the time, when we're feeling loved and good about ourselves, we don't ask for anything in return. It's when we feel a distinct lack of self love that we then ask our children to give back to us, we put expectations on them… unatural expectations! We feel resentful and see them as ungrateful… and yet they are doing what comes natural to them… taking. Lovingly showing them how to be grateful, how to appreciate what they have teaches them to be mindful of others… empathy and modelling are really important.
So if you're not feeling the love in your family, first overhaul your parental relationship… if that's not possible (because of seperation or divorce), then be very mindful that it's not your children's role to make you feel loved. You need to feel that from within… feed it by telling yourself and treating yourself as someone who is loved.
If you don't have children but are in a relationship and you're not sure it's working… because you're not feeling the love and here are some signs…
You or your partner…
- Need them to constant reassurance that they love you
- Put all your focus on their needs in order to gain some kind of control. For example: watching him to assess his moods, walks on eggshells to keep upsetting things away from her, watches what she says so he won't get mad and so forth
- Keep your needs to yourself. For example: He doesn't voice an opinion until he sees what his girlfriend believes, so he won't come into conflict with her.
- Get a sense of worth from others doing what they think they should do.
- Have to help people in order to feel good or in control. For example: You have to do your partner's washing because you don't think they are capable of doing it themselves
- Have come from a background where things were out of control or very unloving. Maybe you grew up in an alcoholic family, or in a family where parents were fighting all the time or you were a victim of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or violence, or you were harshly criticized or ridiculed and made to feel small.
If this sounds like you or your partner… then help is possible!
The basic tenant of feeling love is actually loving yourself first. If you don't love yourself, then how can you believe that someone else loves you?
Your need for love can become an addiction where you constantly seek the feeling or reassurance that you're loveable and yet you never feel good about it for long when it happens… you need your next hit of validation.
Helping you through this means untangling those issues that block you from feeling yourself worthy of love. The process is different depending on where you go… but go you must! Find yourself a good healer or counsellor with the skills to unfold the beliefs, change them, reprogram you and set you free!