I have exceptionally good hearing. Usually that’s a good thing. However, on some days it’s horrible. On some days, the normal sounds of living are excruciatingly loud noises to me and I want to climb into a hole and bury myself in it. On those days I am unruly and short tempered. I am more than difficult to be around.
Additionally, I am not a morning person. A lot of people who don’t like to get out of bed say that. However, I simply do not get out of bed. I take at least an hour in the morning between waking and walking to read my email, meditate, and pray for motivation. Don’t get me wrong. If we’re going on vacation I can be at the door ten minutes after the alarm goes off. Other than that though, I’m going to take my very slow, sweet time. There is no rushing me.
Image: Dhilung Kirat via Flickr
My beloved knows these things about me. He lives with me and all of my many idiosyncrasies. He sees me for who I am and he loves me anyway. Because of that, I don’t have to expend the massive amount of energy it takes to try to be someone I’m not, which leaves me with even more energy to love him.
In the beginning, when two people meet and “fall in love”, they literally cannot see each other accurately. The precise biological chemical combination that makes up the feeling commonly known as “falling in love” prevents you from seeing the other person’s flaws. As it wanes, even when you see them and their flaws, you become amused by them or find the flaws endearing. It’s quite literally a chemical imbalance in the brain that is very similar to insanity. The phenomenon of falling in love causes you to detach from reality while you bond.
As time passes and reality sets in, that original chemical euphoria wears off and the truth begins to emerge. If nature has done its job, by that time, two people are bonded well enough to stay together despite their “flaws”. Something deeper and more meaningful can emerge: unconditional love. There is a dimensionality to that kind of love that changes people for the better.
Unconditional love doesn’t mean you see your beloved as perfect they way you did in the beginning. Unconditional love doesn’t mean you love every little thing about the other person. Trust me, life would be easier for my husband if I would get out of bed like other people do, and he knows it. Unconditional love sees the truth but doesn’t require change. When you love someone unconditionally you don’t need the other person to be different for you to be happy.
When you are loved in a way that allows you to be yourself fully you quite literally have more energy to invest in the relationship, and in the other person, then the giving is easy. In that environment love is sustainable and organic. Love flows freely in a circular nature.
However, in the pursuit of that kind of love it’s easy to want it so badly you compromise too much. You ask for less, want less, ettle more, and give more than you should or more than you have. The problem is that it isn’t sustainable. Sure, you can live with less. You can stay in a relationship where you’re needs aren’t met. However, you can’t thrive. The same thing goes when people try to give too much to accommodate the needs of another. Sure, you can do it, maybe indefinitely, but you won’t thrive. Quite the opposite is true, you’ll end up exhausted.
The key is in the truth. Can I love this person the way they are and truly be happy? If the answer requires you to compromise or try to change the other, that is not unconditional love. It’s something else altogether. Love, real romantic connection between two people of the “soulmate” variety, can be grown, but it can’t be engineered.
At the end of the day, the greatest gift you can give someone, anyone is to see them, really truly see who they are, and love them without reservation anyway. That requires a strong commitment to being responsible for meeting your own needs, but the payoff is worth it because what you get in return is more of everything that person has to give.
The Love Whisperer
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