If I defined happiness as the presence of love in our lives, would you argue with me? Probably not. Yet with the possible exception of a two-year old, there’s nothing in life that can be a greater source of joy or frustration than love. When we’re “clicking” with our partner, life is blissful. When our love relationship is not working, or if we are not “in love”, our hearts ache beyond measure.
Love relationships become great sources of frustration when we have what I call, “Faith in love.” The root cause of misery and frustration in love relationships is looking to a partner’s love to make us happy, secure, fulfilled and whole. As long as we have even a hint of this “faith in love”, we will be continually disappointed. The reason is this. Our partner’s are lousy life-sources! Even my wife, who may be the most amazing women in the Universe, isn’t enough for me. If we rely on them to give us what we are unable or unwilling to give to ourselves, we will be frustrated and miserable.
Let’s look at three indications that we have “faith in love.” All three are extremely common (I estimate that about 90% of us suffer from one or more of them), but they are tricky to spot because they operate unconsciously. The only way you know if you have “faith in love” is by noticing its primary symptom: DRAMA! If you have “faith in love” you will always have drama. The two are inseparably linked. Conversely, losing “faith in love” will ensure your relationships will flow with ease and grace. Here are three unconscious, yet destructive beliefs we have about love.
1. Love will end Loneliness
Loneliness feels like being possessed by an inner, evil demon. It’s a dark spirit that terrorizes us with overwhelming power; tormenting and haunting our every waking minute. Most of us think we’re lonely because we’re alone, so we seek love to “exorcize” this evil spirit out of us. This works fine until our partner isn’t “there for us.” This can happen through a divorce or a break up with. Other times, our partners travel extensively and are rarely around. More often, though, they’re absent emotionally. Whether they’re distracted by work or some other interest or they simply refuse to listen and communicate, we feel alone and abandoned and the “demon” of loneliness returns. Since we have “faith in love” and believe that it’s our partner’s job to end our loneliness, we get angry, frustrated and disappointed when they fail us. But it’s not their job to be “there for us.” That’s our job. We must learn to source companionship from within and stop relying on them to be our life source. We are never, ever alone, for we always have ourselves.
2. Love will create aliveness
Many of us look to love, and our love relationship, to make us feel alive and happy. Feeling rather empty or bored, we turn to love to create inner vitality. A partner’s attention and affection is to us, what water and sunshine are to a flower. We blossom in its presence; we wither in its absence. Some of the more common ways we ask our partners to make us feel alive is spending money on us, romancing us, having sex with us or spending large amounts of time with us. But when our partners decide to live their own lives, follow their dreams or tend to their passions, we feel disconnected and lifeless. We then become clingy and needy which leads to drama. But if we’ll stop and turn our attention inward, we’ll find an overflowing inner source of aliveness, something Jesus called, “rivers of living water.”
3. Love will validate my worth
Most of us have had something appraised, whether it was a home, a piece of jewelry or an antique. We look to the appraiser to tell us what that thing is worth; if it’s special and valuable. In like fashion, many people look for a man or woman to determine their worth. If they want us, if they think we’re special, if they’re attracted to us, then I am “priceless.” But if they reject us or ignore us, we feel cheap, ordinary and worthless. We’re relying on an external source to “appraise” us and validate us. But, again, if we’ll turn our attention inward, we’ll see that we’re made of the very stuff of the Universe, created in the image of God!
Let me sum it up like this. We’re in love to get love. We have “faith in love.” And human partners will always fail us. Oh, they’ll have good days, especially in the early stages of a relationship. Life will appear in Technicolor, you’ll feel completed, like you’ve found your “soul mate.” But eventually, they’ll fail to meet your needs. And if you have “faith in love,” you will demand, scratch and claw at them to take care of you. But a true love relationship is not an agreement to meet each others needs. That’s called co-dependence! Let’s talk about what real love is.
Recently, in a yoga class I attended, my favorite instructor, Lisa Wulf, read a quote from one of her favorite yogi gurus. In describing authentic love, he began with this: “Love is not a transaction…” Think about that. It means love is not a deal. Love isn’t offered quid pro quo. In the book I am currently writing on relationships (due out late ’09), I said it this way:
“Love is a one-way street. Love asks nothing, needs nothing, requires nothing. Love needs no response, no return, no reason. Love has no strings, it has no memory, incurs no debt and needs no vow. If NEED exists, love can’t. If WANT is present, love is absent. Love is not mutual. It is not a two-way street. It is freely given with no thought of reply. Love is unconditional. Always.” I went on to write, “And the only way a person can love that way is when they realize that they are absolutely with out need, that they are full, that they are complete. In other words, the only way a person can love that way is if they know who they truly are as Spirit Beings.”
If you have drama, pain and frustration in your love relationships, it’s because you have “faith in love.” Commit to looking within yourself; commit to discovering who you really are. Stop asking your partner, or love, to give you what only you can give yourself. End drama by searching for your truest, deepest self. Life is not “out there”; all that you need is ever-present within you. “Seek and you shall find.”