Valentine’s Day or what my daughter calls Love Day got me thinking about love.
I have some interesting ideas about love. My favorite author on this subject is Eric Fromm. He wrote a book called the Art of Loving. It’s great. Its focus is on a paradigm shift in relation to love. Romantic love from his perspective is not very loving. He writes about looking at how your partner shows love rather than looking for what love looks like to you.
I actually think this is the key to happy relationships.
Happy loving couples are couples who have learned to experience love from their partners point of view; they have discerned what actions their partners do to show their love and so FEEL loved when that occurs.
Additionally they have figured out a way to teach their partners what they love to experience, what feels like love to them. I know it seems complicated; actually it’s mindful. It shifts the perspective and increases connection in the now.
So here’s the thing. Love isn’t changing the other person into who you want him to be.
Love is accepting him EXACTLY where he is. Loving him how he is now, not as the person he could change into being. Really important point. Loving from this point of view doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay together. It’s an active word – to love. Loving someone and choosing to be with someone are two distinct actions.
This follows the same theory that Bliss isn’t having what you want – Bliss is wanting what you have.
This helps you to BE congruent and congruence increases a sense of well-being. You can tell your partner what you don’t like but the goal is to accept him as he is. In doing so he may not like an aspect of himself that you also don’t like. Then he may choose to change for HIMSELF. This may result in an increase in wanting but the loving part is acceptance.
Thich Nhat Hanh my favorite mindfulness teacher talks about Love in these terms. His concept is that loving is understanding, and understanding is accepting.
These ideas are all a far cry from the rituals typically played out for the traditional Valentine’s Day.
But since we are on the course of mindfulness why not try just loving the person in front of you – it may get you a lot closer to feeling the closeness you desire.
Happy Love Day and if you haven’t a partner that you’re sharing the day with, how about just applying these ideas toward yourself – accept yourself EXACTLY where you are – the feeling of Bliss may present itself.
And if you feel you can’t accept yourself (or another) exactly where you are, remember this:
Understanding, Acceptance, and Love decrease defensiveness. And lowering the defenses allows for any change that we may want to make in ourselves to increase our sense of well being. You can’t really change until you know and accept where you are.
See you tomorrow.