How many believe, think or feel that they are in love? How many ever wonder or ask what is true, healthy love? And how many agree that there are many types of love that will be experienced at different stages during a lifetime?
Although we place extreme importance on everlasting true love, do you wonder why the divorce rate is skyrocketing? In this modern era if you marry or engage in a partnership, you have a 50/50 chance that your relationship will not survive for an entire lifetime. Many younger people are opting out of the traditional marriage scene altogether, citing that it just isn't worth the risk. Some do not even want to establish a cohabitation relationship, because it is still too risky for legal claims.
From the time you are born, you are born into love and theoretically conceived as a result of love. As a human, life itself is about experiencing and learning about love. You are the ultimate bundle of joy to your loving parents. Supposedly, love that you receive from your parents will be enduring without any strings attached. Although most parents have your best interest in perspective, sometimes their love can become smothering and unhealthy.
As a child or teenager you probably experienced puppy love or you had a so-called "crush" on someone. Of course at the time, you really believed this was the real thing and that you had found your prince in shining armour or your Cinderella princess. No doubt, reality eventually set in when you realized that it was just a fairytale infatuation and you went on to discover a newer, truer love. Puppy love is not considered true healthy love, merely because it is usually based on an obsession or misconception.
Friendships that you establish, whether it be your best girlfriend, boyfriend or a group, always spawn mutual friendly love. Allegedly, friendships occur from having a rapport based on shared interests, hobbies or goals and compatible personalities. But this type of friendly love can also range from being healthy to unhealthy. You think that because it is your best friend your so-called friendship love will endure anything. Unfortunately, too often rivalry ensues due to jealousy or pettiness arises from trivial matters and silly egos explode like fireworks. Over the course of your lifetime you may establish many different friendships, but how many can attest to being based on healthy love? It is also interesting how often people confuse a friendship to what really should be classified simply as a passing acquaintance.
There is also the misconception of associating sex with love. Many become blinded from their emotional feelings and foolishly believe that the better the sex, the deeper the love for one another. Or they forget that quality is better than quantity. Naturally, with the divorce rate so high, it is quite evident that this distorted thinking is just that - distorted. Sometimes sex becomes a pawn initiating the game of love, but because it is not a healthy love, it soon wears thin, becoming shallow and insignificant to the relationship.
You would think that married couples would be aware of healthy love, after-all, isn't this why they agreeably, solemnly and lovingly say their vows - "In sickness and in health, till death do us part?" But again, the same issues can arise in which ego becomes unbalanced and a power struggle develops. Each spouse becomes stubborn and rigid, not wanting to back down. If there are children involved, they may be used callously by either parent in order to win the battle. No doubt their behaviour ruins the start of what was supposed to be an eternal, healthy love relationship.
Partnerships or cohabitation relationships quite often are established just like a business arrangement. Each partner contributes towards paying expenses such as food, accommodation and utilities, but they do not combine their income as a joint venture to plan for their future. Instead they painstakingly chart out a percentage of what each will pay for. Instead of doing, sharing and learning together, they meticulously relegate a schedule of who does the cooking, who does the grocery shopping, who does which household chore and the only area that they may agree jointly on is their conjugal rights. While some of these business love relationships can and do survive, there is a greater percentage that do not. You cannot create healthy love built as a business endeavour, where one person is the boss, while the other is treated as a subordinate. Sooner or later one partner will start to feel that the relationship has become rather one-sided or may feel used and then become bitter or resentful. It then becomes a cat and mouse game in which there is no winner.
There are cultures who still arrange their children's marriage. Much of this is steeped in history and time honoured tradition, where the elders truly believe that they can choose a more compatible partner for their children mainly due to their own life experiences and supposedly greater knowledge or wisdom. While there may be some truth to their philosophy, there is however glaring realities to consider - you cannot force one person to love another, let alone make them like another just for friendship. Contrary to their belief system, more time spent together will not constitute compatible partners, nor create healthy love. In many cases, it generates just the opposite effect.
Healthy love is unconditional in that it is given, as much as it is received, without being forced by those involved. There is no need to expect any payback, because when it is given freely from your heart or soul, in turn it engenders universal gratitude that spreads through you like warm, sweet honey. It has nothing to do with age, gender, hobbies, social status, wealth, religion or occupation. This type of love is not superficial, but comes from deep within your heart and soul. You willingly want to share a deeper, richer part of your being. Healthy love has boundaries that are honoured, respected and adhered to by all concerned. There is no ownership in which one tries to dominate the other. It does not require proving yourself to anybody and it leaves you free to remain your true self. Displays of power or jealousy are non-existent. There is mutual respect for each other in which you have consideration for each other's differences. You resist trying to change the other person to emulate you or to become a vision of how you may think they should be. It is only natural that you wish the other person to grow and succeed in all areas of their life and in all ways - mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, even if it means living apart. Healthy love generates individual space, where each can do what pleases them without harbouring any feelings of guilt, selfishness, remorse, sacrifice or regret.
But healthy love first begins with you, because in order to understand or empathize fully with another, you must have a healthy outlook , deep respect and total love for who you purport yourself to be. If you analyze this, you will surely recognize and agree how you cannot presume to unconditionally love another, if you cannot love yourself first.
Establishing healthy love does take considerable effort, perseverance, open verbal communication and patience. It should never be taken for granted or put on hold. Creating healthy love is not about how many gifts you give or how much money you spend on another. This type of thinking is often used as bait for a way of chalking up points and is not considered realistic, but it can be misconstrued as bribery or emotional blackmail. An important point to consider is that you cannot buy healthy love. It must be carefully and lovingly nurtured without false motives.
And you will also discover that maintaining enduring healthy love in a relationship will always be hard work in progress, where there is no beginning and no end, but where there is a definite mutual goal for continual learning and improvement. Ultimately, you will both be determined and focused for the long haul to overcome all obstacles that may arise.
If you are one of the lucky individuals who not only understand, but experiences true healthy love on a daily basis, you will probably notice something else. Surprisingly, along with healthy love you will also encounter added freedom, feelings of bliss, eternal integrity, constant strength, deeper peace and personal empowerment. Healthy love truly blesses those who seek it!
Margaret Jang is a Reiki Master Teacher & Practitioner, Numerologist, Intuitive, and a Spiritual/Inspirational Poet & Writer. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website www.margaretjang.com.