All my life, seeing failed love after failed love reign over the lives of the most wonderful souls I knew, I made the executive decision to stop believing in love.
And so I did.
But then I realized that love is an impossible emotion to cease to feel: I felt it for my friends, for my family, for each person whose spirit outshone his or her physical presence.
So, what did I believe? What do I believe?
I don’t believe in love in the traditional sense of the word.
I believe in the power of connection and that affection can have a strong sway toward sentimentality, inducing that lovesick feeling you get in the beginning of any relationship. The influence of passion far outweighs the need to understand anything beyond the current moment and the exact sentiment of that moment: unbounded joy. And what harm is there is that?
What is forgotten and overlooked is that though there are people you may meet who you will immediately and always love unconditionally, there are countless others who will come and leave your life: sparks, flames, kindled, burned intensely and then smothered by time, by lack of the feeding of the fire, by pure change.
I think that all relationships exist on the same plane, romantic not holding precedence over platonic, each defined only by the actions undertaken during the time spent between those involved in the relationship. Each relationship revolves around the activities that both parties partake in. What I do with my friends from work is different from the activities that I engage in with my friends from yoga teacher training.
“Romantic” relationships are nothing but friendships with a single added benefit.
The intense attachment felt toward that significant other is often drawn out from the intense physical connection undergone. The oxytocin released during sexual stimulation “is connected with the urge to bond, be affectionate, and protect,” according to Women’s Health Magazine.
This does not, however, mean that you cannot be intellectually and emotionally in love with the spirit of that human being in the same way that you fall in love with friends for the people who they are. In fact, intellectual and spiritual connection usually makes for a more intimate and engaged sexual relationship, and sex in turn then induces affection and a particularly strong bond between two people.
The problem that I see with romantic relationships is that they force those involved to take vows which pertain to the idea of forever.
To me, this seems ludicrous, given the fact that we can’t plan or ensure our emotions for a future that is not yet the present. By committing yourself to a single person forever, or even with the idea of forever somewhere in your conscience, is to place yourself in a uniquely precarious position.
If someone changes her mind, if a person decides he no longer wants to be with the woman he swore himself to, what is he supposed to do?
What can she or he do but either lie, cheat, leave or live miserably? Is that what we condemn ourselves to in love, hurting either ourselves or someone else if ever our minds change? And why, then, can we not simply live in the moment of each existence, experiencing whatever it is that we are experiencing and want to experience with no attachment to that moment or to what the future might bring?
Can we not simply live as two beings, perhaps at this moment bound to one another in a mutually coagulated sense, but who at any moment could shift into a new place of thought and the other would let it be?
I’m not saying that one can’t have feelings, that a person can’t be hurt when a relationship ends, but to be angry and malicious over a relationship with someone else is ridiculous.
This is my other problem with relationships: the attachment and dependency. You should first and foremost be more concerned with yourself and with your relationship with yourself. Yes, feel, but don’t let those feelings dictate your life and actions.
And of course, it is possible that two people could meet each other who absolutely and totally become immersed in one another and have no need or desire for any other to fill that particular relationship, but even then those two must live with the awareness that it might not be forever.
I should rephrase my initial statement: I do think that love exists in a multitude of ways and on many different levels. What I don’t believe is in committing yourself to love someone forever, holding all thoughts toward the future when they should nearly always remain in the present.
Rather, commit yourself to love for the time that you love with no regard for what exists beyond that moment.
Time and experience change people, and change is not a bad thing. Commit yourself to anyone or anything with the knowledge and awareness that, in regards to things and feelings, forever doesn’t exist, that time and space have no confines by which to measure your devotion and that if and when things change you will still be who you are.
Don’t define yourself by another person, don’t let yourself be moved to action or inaction on the part of your own personhood because of another. This doesn’t mean “cease to feel” or “don’t be upset” if things go badly, just know that they might without allowing that “might” to dictate your life, either.
Always be prepared for what can and may come, but live in the moment of your happiness and never give way to doubt, only the reality of what is.
Let bliss be bountiful, welcome mirth unconditionally and never forget that the present is all that we are ever promised in life.
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Assistant Ed.: Moira Madden/Ed: Bryonie Wise