I have been having much debate with my circle of close friends recently over the subject of ‘Love’ and whether we ever forget our first ‘True Love’. For some people, they will never truly experience ‘True or Unconditional Love’ and for others, there is a long distant memory of ‘True Love’.
I love the quote by Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
We all have experiences to share.
Some of you will remember a blog that I wrote in July 2016 called ‘Do we forget our first love or how people have made us feel, or are we still in love?’. And prior, ‘Can Love Last Forever’ – this was written just before another interesting blog: ‘Can Love Conquer All or is Love a Myth?’.
A few years ago, I interviewed a love expert and special friend in the subject matter, Jo March, author of ‘Love is Simple’. After several cups of tea at the Terrace Room at The Meridian Hotel in Piccadilly – London, and much discussion sharing past and present experiences, Jo explained:
‘Why people should live in love and why we are not communicating and forging meaningful and unconditional relationships, love is simple right…?’
Love is simple when we understand the true meaning of unconditional love. The kind of love that transforms and transcends us as human beings to a higher level of consciousness, in those moments when we truly love, we become alive, we feel passion, we feel life in every breath. Love is life, at the core of everything we do on this life path it is love that is the driving force.
I could not agree more. That being said, I have learnings from a few things about doing what you love for life and business — and this was the précis for my first book, ‘Freedom After The Sharks’.
Jo mentioned a quote by Maya Angelou, I am sure will resonate with us all:
“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold — that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.”
I have often written on the subject of love and relationships and with Valentines upon us I recently reminisced on the subject: ‘Is our heart reserved for True Love, a sacred flame that burns eternally for one love?’
Or as William Shakesphere once said in his play is ‘The World Just a Stage?
The meaning of this phrase is that this world is like a stage and all human beings are merely actors – Oscar Wilde has put his spin on this phrase, declaring “The world is a stage, and the play is badly cast.”
Allan Moore in his novel, ‘V for Vendetta’, has taken it to a completely new level by saying “All the world’s a stage, and everything else is vaudeville.” Now notice how people love to quote this phrase, because it sounds very clever, and they believe that this line has something that still resonates today.
With the world stage aside the facts are instead of strong, meaningful conversations and relationships, we struggle through long series of bad dates and so-called hook-ups. Instead of meeting people in real life, we are constantly swiping and messaging somebody new. Instead of telling people how we feel, we do not text back. We no longer have people cancel, we get flaked on, and then we flake on other people. We no longer date or commit, we “see” and “hang out” with each other. We are complicit in a dating culture that systematically prevents intimacy. I believe and the evidence certainly supports this, that we have become a generation afraid of being in love.
One could say “We are complicit in a dating culture that systematically prevents intimacy”.
I read a recent article from UCLA called ‘What does being committed to your marriage really mean?’ UCLA psychologists answered this question in a new study based on their analysis of 172 married couples over the first 11 years of marriage.
“When people say, ‘I’m committed to my relationship,’ they can mean two things,” said study co-author Benjamin Karney, a professor of psychology and co-director of the Relationship Institute at UCLA. “One thing they can mean is, ‘I really like this relationship and want it to continue.’ However, commitment is more than just that.”
The psychologists’ report demonstrated that a deeper level of commitment is a much better predictor of lower divorce rates and fewer problems in marriage.
Of the 172 married couples in the study, 78.5 percent were still married after 11 years, and 21.5 percent were divorced. The couples in which both people were willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the marriage were significantly more likely to have lasting and happy marriages, according to Bradbury, Karney and lead study author Dominik Schoebi, a former UCLA postdoctoral scholar who is currently at Switzerland’s University of Fribourg.
So, do we marry a ‘soul mate’ or a ‘life partner’?
Someone who is aligned with your soul and is sent to challenge, awaken and stir different parts of you in order for your soul to transcend to a higher level of consciousness and awareness. Once the lesson has been learned, physical separation usually occurs.
A companion, a friend, a stable and secure individual who you can lean on, trust and depend on to help you through life. There is a mutual feeling of love and respect and you are both in sync with each other’s needs and wants.
At different times of our lives, we will need and want different types of relationships. Neither is better or worse than the other, it is all a personal decision and one that you will feel guided to as long as you are following your heart.
In summary, our childhoods taught us to value love; but our institutions, cities, and technology have taught us to fear commitment and put choice first. We are trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of emotional distance from each other.
Most of us really want love at some point, but our actions are at war with this desire. We maintain an emotional distance because we fear commitment and rejection, not because that is our true self. We replace the feeling of true intimacy with short-term flings, long-term noncommittal hookups, and sex. We comfort ourselves knowing at least we’re not feeling the stinging pain of a broken heart, at least we don’t have to deal with real emotions. My belief is that we have trapped ourselves in a cycle that we are all complicit within.
This cycle is detrimental to us all. Happiness means different things to different people. For some, it is marriage and kids, for others, it is traveling the world, and for others it is a rainy day with a good book. One thing that we all share, however, is that having strong, positive relationships in our life is one of the keys to happiness and fulfillment. Even anecdotally, we know this to be true.
When we keep emotional distance because of the fear of rejection, we lose out on one of the most important aspects of being human. Deep inside, we know we are unfulfilled but we do not know how to fix ourselves. So, we play the game where there are no winners. We must break free from this culture that damages us all and learn to love again.
For most of us, improving our relationships is one of the best things we can do in our lives. For me, with this realisation and my committed effort to be more open, honest, and straightforward, I have been able to not only improve how I treat other people but also the quality of my relationships with my circle of wonderful friends.
Final thought, there’s no reason that “love forever ” cannot exist, and in fact, relationships with so much love and sustainability should exist with the partner that you call your love or spouse.
True love is a decision of the will. It’s a choice based on many factors, including that “in love” feeling you have for your love or spouse. Such a feeling can be built upon with tenderness, romantic gestures, and caring choices all along the way. We all celebrate Valentines Day today, whilst the day represents love with the partner of your choice, love should not be celebrated once a year, as Jo stated ‘love that transforms and transcends us as human beings to a higher level of consciousness, in those moments when we truly love, we become alive, we feel passion, we feel life in every breath’ the gestures of love, the small touchpoints of affection should be constant.
Music is also a great channel for communicating your true feelings to the person of your dreams, Kenny Thomas once wrote a record called Tender Love
Maybe, this is the answer to a happier and more fulfilling life, maybe there is only one person in the universe for everyone, one person that we call home, and maybe it has led me to finding love, my true love, my first and only love and soul mate.
I just know I do not want to be complicit in modern dating culture any more. I am happy when building real emotional connections in business and in life, and I guess, that is what we all want in the end, to be happy and in love with real connections, real people, real-life – a real soul connection – not a world stage with an actor or actors.
One of my favourite quotes by Tamie Dearen, from her book ‘The Best Match’:
“Love is such a small word for what I feel. For the first time in my life, I have a reason to breathe. I’m enchanted with every part of you I know, and I only know a small part so far. I plan to spend the rest of my life searching out every hidden enchantment in your body and soul. And I’m going to cherish and protect you with every fiber of my being. So, do I love you? No… I love love love you.”