Written February 25, 2021:
“The act of love – extending oneself – requires a moving out against the inertia of laziness (work) or the resistance engendered by fear (courage). When we extend ourselves, our self enters new and unfamiliar territory, so to speak. We change, and it is frightening. Therefore love, always requires courage and involves risk.
Risk of Loss. Love anything that lives – a person, a pet, a plant – and it will die. Trust anybody and you may be hurt; depend on anyone and that one may let you down. If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things: having children, getting married, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship – all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant. A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully or not to live at all.”
It is better to love and lost than to not have loved at all is probably one of the most common clichés I have ever heard. Having experienced genuine love and lost it, I admit there are still times when I wish I did not take the chance. But I am certain that someday, I would definitely say (proudly) that I have taken the risk, and I do not regret any of my decisions.
“Risk of Independence. Growing up is the act of stepping from childhood into adulthood. Actually it is more of a fearful leap than a step, and it is a leap that many people never really take in their lifetimes. What does this have to do with love? It is only when one has taken the leap into the unknown of total selfhood, psychological independence and unique individuality that one is free to proceed along still higher paths of spiritual growth and free to manifest love in its greatest dimensions.”
To be honest, I have not really been consciously and actively growing up. I often say I matured overnight when I had a daughter, but on hindsight, it is really more of being more responsible (which boils down to stop partying the weekend away and seriously making plans for the future) than striving to become a better person. I am glad I have taken steps to grow.
“Risk of Commitment. Whether it be shallow or not, commitment is the foundation, the bedrock of any genuinely loving relationship. Deep commitment does not guarantee the success of the relationship but does help more than any other factor to assure it. Frequently we are not consciously aware of the immensity of the risk involved in making a deep commitment.”
Before my last relationship, I could not remember a time when I was not afraid (terrified!) of commitment. The idea of the next few months (sometimes even weeks) scared me! If there is one thing I have learned from my ex-fiancé, it is that commitment is not such a terrible thing after all! I used to think having my entire life planned is boring (not to mention horrifying), but with the right person, having an idea of how the next 50 years of my life looks like is not so bad.
“Risk of Confrontation. The most common example of exercising power with humility is the act of loving confrontation. Whenever we confront someone we are in essence saying to that person, “You are wrong; I am right.” For the truly loving person the act of criticism or confrontation does not come easily; to such a person it is evident that the act has greater potential for arrogance. But the reality of life is such that at times one person does know better than the other what is good for the other.”
I have no problem exercising this power and being at the receiving end. This, of course, is under the premise that my lover and I really have the other’s best interests at heart. Sometimes I may come across as overly confident and even conceited (more often than not it really is just part of my humour) but I am so open to constructive criticism. I am proud to say I even asked him to tell me anytime when there is something about me that was bothering him. After all, he was so much mature than I was (am).
What have you learned in your last, or current, relationship?
PS. Taken last Oct 2018 when our relationship was in its infancy, a time when these risks were not really considered yet, but the fear was very real.
Update: I am now once again trying to muster up (lots of) courage and face my fears.