Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Real love...

I read an article by Susan V. Bosak who was saying that we need to pay attention to love in order to give the concept back the richness it deserves and to put the meat back on the bones. Bosak says we shouldn't confuse love with the illusions we have about it. Anyway, below I have jotted down some excerpts for you to exam.

"When we're young, we're less experienced in human relationships and don't understand much about ourselves yet. Who tells us about love when we're young? We may or may not have a role model in our parents or grandparents. The media give us only an extreme, simplistic view... They could at least help to balance the story society feeds us and the story we in turn create in our mind. We need a story that helps us appreciate love in all its forms and understand that love, like everything else in life, takes work. This won't help us avoid all mistakes. There's romantic love, and then there's real love. I'm all for love, as long as it's real. Real love is about genuinely caring for someone else and feeling cared about. It is about attachment, intimacy, and commitment. There is a difference between falling in love and being loving. Falling in love most often involves being blind to imperfections; people are so sure their experience of love is unique and they are the first to love anyone so deeply. In time, they regain perspective and "falling in love" ends up as 'falling out of love.' Some of us are lucky enough not to do anything too foolish when we are falling in love. But too many people, encouraged by the myth of love, act on the obsession and hurt themselves and their families."

Bosak argues that good, loving relationships don't just happen; that they require hard work. "Genuine love involves a reciprocity, with both people giving and taking. This kind of love requires sacrifice and hard work. Most couples reach the point where they lose the exhilarating feelings of being 'in love' and wonder if they are still 'in love' at all (after all, it doesn't feel like what it looks like in the movies). It's then that you have to make a choice, a decision, to make a relationship work. Love is an attitude backed up with appropriate behavior. This requires a certain amount of wisdom, intelligence, honesty, commitment, and alertness. A loving relationship is one that evolves. And that's why real love takes time. Instant love is always partly phony, because you can never get to know the things you need to know in a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months."

Bosak says that society's idea of passion is defined too narrowly, as sex, but, that approach doesn't consider the fundamental connection of the heart -- physical, spiritual, emotional in chemistry."It's not that I don't think love is a lovely and needed concept. It is. But it has become less and less effective as a concept. The word love has been so overused, corrupted, and cheapened that I worry it has been emptied of all its meaning. And we tend to talk about love as if it requires no action and no return. Think about the ways we use the word "love": "I love popcorn"; "She loves sewing"; "I will love you forever"; "They seemed so in love that I was surprised when they broke up"; "I love you from the bottom of my heart."

How many of these imply action, the real work it takes to make a real loving relationship?I'm very careful about how I use the word love. I don't use it lightly, nor as a cure-all. To me, it is a word to be honored and respected. It is a word that implies commitment. Loving someone is active. It's not just about pleasant feelings, but rather it represent a well-placed trust in choosing to share my life with ... with whom my heart and trust are safe. Love too often disappears when the mood disappears. What love and relationships need is a little character."

-- TR

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