One of the greatest drawbacks to the experience of love is the ideals and definitions that we have for it before it even arrives. We are always being told what is love and what it is not. How it should look and how it should feel and we even have expectations of how our lover would look physically (most expect only the most attractive of lovers, of course). The actual experience of love is strangled by our expectations of it and our definitions for it. We believe there are things our beloved would not say and not do if they “truly” love us. But to think like this brings into question what we actually expect to gain (for ourselves) when entering a relationship with this person.
It seems that most of our ideals of love are based around how we expect to be treated. We believe ourselves entitled to only the best and most gentle of treatment, believing this is the only way we grow and can truly experience ourselves. Yet life often shows us another side of things. Life does not always treat us gently. We are plunged into the depths of darkness and pain many, many times. Facing many disappointments, disillusions and shattered ideals. Why does life often not give us what we were promised as children?
It is because it is not life’s responsibility to fulfill the fantastical ideas that were given to you to help you sleep at night. Life has no duty or obligation to be anything other than what it is and that is a pure and genuine experience that defies all definitions of it. Many of our greatest lessons were learned as a result of pain. Much of our impetus toward change and evolution is a result of extreme discomfort. Life is wonderful at providing varied challenges and making us handle them by finding new ways to adjust, adapt and mutate to fit into the new environment. ALL of the meaning of life is gleamed after the experience of it because much of what we thought life to be completely changes once we are truly introduced to it in its full expression.
So, it brings me back to love and our ideals for it. We are often disappointed by love because it does not match our idea of how it should go. We think the only real love that exists should always be whole, kind, understanding, healthy and gentle and anything other than that is not love but…some other thing. We don’t know what that is, we can say hate or indifference or refuse to label the other thing but for some reason we believe we know how love should always behave. It gives us great comfort to have such a clear understanding of it.
But the thing is, the kind of love you give and receive from a person is based more upon you and the other person’s state of consciousness than an arbitrary definition or ideal. And this goes far deeper than your or their logical mind. A true experience of love can unearth states of consciousness that the logical and alert mind have no idea even exist.
There are many broken people in this world as a result of love being restricted or outright denied to them in the formative years of their life. There are so many ways in which the present westernized society places stipulations on how much affection to show to even the smallest of infants. Parents are often told they will “spoil” their children if they hold them too much. Many infants are not even breast fed as mothers often have to split their time and attention to many other responsibilities leaving many babies in the care of others for most of their developmental years. Our westernized society favors having strict control over the amount of emotion we show at any given moment for any given reason. There are so many who grow up literally crying out for attention and love from their caretakers and eventually there seems to not be enough love or attention that will satisfy them after they reach a certain age. This experience stays with them for the rest of their life. If you look around at this society, you will see so many harboring the pain of being emotional broken before they could even form words to speak of their experience. This is a society of neglected, ignored, under-validated and broken people.
Many learn to shove their pain and disillusions about love and affection deep inside because they have no other template or true life model of affection and adoration to draw upon, so they accept whatever they are given and do not complain. Others, the more openly sensitive, spend their whole life crying out like a child for more and more love, attention and affection. Running from relationship to relationship looking for someone to give them the ideal image of love that they saw in Disney movies and heard in fairy tales. As an adult, Hollywood movies help to set the mold of this ideal. Even the Bible has Paul speaking to the Corinthians about an idealistic love that has every definition of perfection and beauty imaginable. So many people in this emotionally broken society base their expectations about how love should be on how others paint the picture for them rather than their own real-life experiences with it.
In an emotionally broken society with emotionally broken people, you can expect nothing less than emotionally broken expressions of love. Remember that the concept of “love”, or emotional/chemical attachment, existed well before humans could form the words to write, speak or talk about it. This is the reason we ultimately rely upon our feelings to discern it. The experience itself, being a primordial and archetypal experience often defies the definitions and ideals placed upon it. Meaning that though we like to know love as all patient, and all kind and everything good and beautiful in the world, there are many times when our most beloved hurt us to our deepest core. There are many times when they say unkind words, strike at us and seem to attack us with every ounce of strength in their body on an emotional, psychological and even physical level. There are times when the person we love, hurt themselves to garner more affection. Times when they martyr themselves or play manipulative games to get our attention and time. There are times when the feelings of love we had gets strangled by the experience of love when it actually gets into its full swing. Why is this?
Love is a primordial and instinctual experience. It is pre-cognitive in its origin. The experience of love can curtail our conscious mind and go much deeper into our unconscious mind. This is the part of the mind that responds from instinct rather than logic. It is the part of our mind that has formed over countless millennia, well before our birth into this world. We inherited much of our behaviors from our ancestors and their experiences just like we inherited their template for our physical appearance and health potentials.
If our ancestors, even down to our own parents, had experiences where they were abandoned by those they love; where they had fathers who died in wars or simply left the home for long periods of time; mothers who died in childbirth; experiences where the children had to be forcibly removed from their home due to abuse or neglect or lived in a home where there was so much fighting and emotional/psychological trauma that they had to develop ways to avoid interacting directly to it to protect their conscious mind at that present moment; or if they simply had parents who were outwardly loving and kind but withheld from them direct attention, affection and validation as they had been trained that there was a “certain” way to handle children either by their religion or the prevailing social structure; all of these experiences (from the most traumatic to the most mundane) shape how our ancestors responded to love (or neglect of love) and would ultimately shape how we respond to it as well.
Broken people love in a broken way, wrecked with fear and hesitation. We oftentimes do not allow ourselves the experience of love for the fear that it will be taken from us before we can truly enjoy it. We often harbor a deep down unconscious fear that we do not deserve it or quite frankly, we are not used to receiving the affection that is often the result of deep love. Many of us when given an opportunity to experience love unconsciously run from it, fight against it or strangle it to death with our expectations. But these outward “fight or flight” responses of our reptilian brain have nothing to do with what we actually feel in our hearts and souls.
Our hearts can still be reaching out deeply and desperately. Because while there are those who will experience all of the forms of love with you while having the ideals of what love should be: patient, kind, long-suffering, etc…they will also be the ones to abandon you when your expression of love does not meet the expectations and ideals that they were told love should be. They will tell themselves that your love was not true because it does not feel like a Disney movie anymore. Not realizing that they touched a part of you that you were deeply afraid to show because your unconscious programming alerted you to the danger of letting someone in who you were afraid would abandon you and “break your heart”. So, in a weird twist of events this all becomes a fulfilled prophecy where the abandonment happens anyway because both people in the scenario are not ready to experience love in its fullest expression. And unlike life (with the exception of suicide), we have the choice to just walk away from it, choosing to withdraw our love and protect ourselves in the process.
In a broken world, love takes on infinite forms. I would argue that there is little that we do that is not the indirect result of trying to achieve the ideal of what we think love is or the fear of actually receiving love either in either its most idealistic form or in its opposite form: the desperate, fearful, helpless, infantile screaming out for unending compassion and understanding kind of love. I have found that love, like life, defies definition and it is only through the development of the intuitive mind that you can discern what is true and what is not…but that’s just it…how scary would it be if it all were true? If the broken love you received was the truest, purest and most genuine expression that that person could muster at that present moment?
There are no rights and wrongs in life. Only decisions. Decisions that eventually come full circle after all is said and done. Choose wisely.