“And if I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful
Or just a beautiful disaster?”
The lyrics of a Kelly Clarkson song speak to me of the pain of love. They speak to me of the idea that love is hard but worthwhile. They speak to me of someone who doesn’t know the way out, the way through to the sunlight. What’s beyond the tears and laughter?
Love is such an over-used word that people commonly don’t know what it means. They talk about loving and being loved and all they see is connection. But what is the connection? Is it need, desire, control or love?
We all have needs, human needs. Tony Robbins talks about the six human needs and one of the he calls ‘love/connection’. Even here he confuses the two.
Connection is a deep need that everyone has have and most people will go to any lengths to fill it. What is the abused wife who stays with her husband doing?
In my first marriage I was filling a deep need to be loved, to be wanted, to be recognised. This was a hangover from my childhood and they need to be recognised by my parents and brothers.
Desire fuels most relationships, at least in the beginning, and there is nothing wrong with that. Desire is what brings people together and creates that essential spark of electricity behind polarity. But, over time, desire can fade out. If it leaves friendship and love the relationship can become deep and fulfilling. If it leaves resentment and bitterness then there is trouble.
Desire fuels my recent marriage, desire is a key component in our relationship. Behind it, though, we have built a deep friendship and a love that is present when we are together and apart. We have built our togetherness on Osho’s principle of ‘Aloneness’. He uses the metaphor of the Flute player who makes beautiful music with his flute, but when he meets a Tabla player the make amazing music that delights people, together. They are still able to play and delight on their own but together….
Control is the demon that turns relationships into prisons, and worse. Control begets abuse, terror and an deep despair about life. The man who is unsure of his masculinity can abuse his partner to make himself feel superior. The woman who loves too much can spend her life trying to get her partner and children to do what she thinks is best for them. This makes her feel good about herself, but not love herself.
I have spent many years flirting with the need to control, the need to feel that I am in control of myself and my life. But I used to do this through others. I my sons were afraid if me when I was young, my wife felt hemmed in.
So it comes down to love. What is love and how do we know we love?
The answer lies, surprisingly, in what you think of yourself. Do you love yourself? Do you like yourself? Are you happy with who you are and what you do?
Get this right and you will find that what you feel for others will go through an amazing transformation.
—Photo “The Dana Files/Flickr