“Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punish’d and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.” William Shakespeare
We humans desire this “madness” like nothing else. It is probable we will all fall in love at some time in our lives. We can all remember our first “true love” whether that was at junior school, high school or university. The deliciousness of it, the new all-consuming sensations, the euphoria, pain, happiness, stress, desire, awe, connection and sometimes all at the same time! Phew!
For Valentines day I share with you some ideas about falling in love, How to enjoy what is one of the peak human experiences without losing yourself.
Our genetic imperatives are simple: Survive and procreate.
For the first we have the fight, flight or freeze response (essentially fear.)
For the second we have infatuation, lust and best of all falling in love.
Falling in love is really a kind of aberration (compared with our normal state). It is also one of the most intensely satisfying, wondrous, pleasurable feelings you will ever experience. Many are obsessed with finding “the one”, In this state we perceive the world, and everyone we meet through the filter of “is this the one?” but as we search anxiously on-line, trying to find love “out there,” we become blind to the people and possibilities around us or if we do find that “someone” we push away the we push them away by trying too hard or by being too needy.
Others don’t really like the relationship they are in but it’s better than being alone. What they do not realise is that until that relationship finishes there will be no space for the relationship they truly seek. I strongly recommend a rest between the end of one relationship and the start of the next. Time alone is also vital.
We celebrate romantic love nowadays. It was not always the case. The stories of Tristan and Isolde (Isuelt) , Romeo and Juliet were written as warnings of the dangers of romantic love not as they are nowadays perceived – a celebration of romantic love.
Ideally we would all go into these romantic relationships fully centred, clear about our needs, with enough self- knowledge to care for ourselves. Although ideal, it is rarely the case. We must therefore allow for individual change and growth. The couple that grows together stays together. Love as it matures becomes more about the happiness of the other person rather than your own.
Here are some tips to enjoy the wonderful peak experience of romantic love:
- The euphoria produced by love is without a doubt marvellous. Remember this will end. So enjoy it, knowing that. Enjoy without losing yourself in it!
- You might feel like doing all sorts of daft/ unusual things when in love. Being in love alters how you feel and thus how you perceive. Bear this in mind. Make sure that you stick with your schedule, with your responsibilities.
- Be conscious that you are in the grip of powerful chemical changes in your body. The awareness of this fact enhances your ability to choose how to respond.
- Make sure that you take care of yourself: sleep, nutrition, meditation and exercise. This will help you to stay emotionally and physically centred.
- Be alert. Romantic love is a tug of war: vulnerability vs commitment. Feeling vulnerable can make you more suspicious or even paranoid. Seeing things in your partners behaviour which in reality are no more than the reflection of your own insecurity. Be aware of this.
- Don’t lower your personal boundaries or defences such that you deny your own desires and needs. This does not work. All you will achieve is an empty and potentially dangerous fantasy rather than an authentic respectful relationship
- Finally do not rush the relationship. The fear of losing our relationship can make us anxious and rush to close /formalise the relationship. Don’t ! See being in love as an opportunity to practice living with the discomfort and anxiety.
Once the delicious, wonderful, craziness of falling in love has passed, we arrive at the opportunity to experience true love, which is not as distracting as falling in love but can be one of the most satisfying and fruitful relationships in your life as long as you remember that “to love” is a verb. It doesn’t simply happen to you. It is something you do, actions you take to create the best conditions for your love to flourish.