When I saw the title ‘The Truth About Love’ in my FB feed I thought, Damn linkbait! Now I have to click and make sure I’m not missing anything.
But I was very happy I did click – not because I discovered something I didn’t know, but because I was reminded that what I know is true. You see, I’ve come to find out the exact truth about love that Ben Neal wrote of in this mini essay. I’m almost certain Mr. Neal learned this truth the way I did, which is to say, the way you learn this, through massive heartache and loss, and searching, and lots and lots of inner work.
Eventually I may write something that encompasses previous entries I have written on love (ranging from the relatively idealistic to the purely rational), but for now this encapsulates how I feel very well.
“Do you believe in love?
I’m talking about that deep down, life changing, earth shaking, always-and-forever kind of love—the stuff of poetry and legend.
Many people are skeptical, and for good reason. Today’s culture isn’t very fertile ground for romance. With social media, text messaging and online dating, we’ve revolutionized communication but we’ve lost the art of relationship. There are very few success stories. (Sometimes it seems like there are very few people having real, face-to-face conversations anymore!)
But I believe. Scratch that. I know.
True love is real—deep, unconditional, everlasting love. The reason it is so rare is because it is so misunderstood.
Most people’s idea of “true love” looks something like this: Mr. or Mrs. Right is waiting out there somewhere, “the One” they are destined to be with. And that special someone is looking for them too, and it’s only a matter of time before they meet each other—and of course, they’ll both live happily ever after.
Happily ever after doesn’t exist. And God didn’t hand pick one special person just for you. In fact, the whole idea of finding fulfillment in someone else is an illusion.
The truth is, love can only be found within.
Most people who are looking for love “out there” are actually just running away from loneliness. They constantly settle for less than what they want, and less than what they deserve, because their greatest fear is to be alone, grow old alone and die alone.
The fear of loneliness prevents us from experiencing real intimacy. True love lies beyond that fear. We have to face what Louis C.K. calls the “forever empty,” the unquenchable sadness deep within us; the ever present knowledge of our own mortality, that in the end we all face death all alone.
The truth is that real love requires real inner work that most people just aren’t interested in. It requires that we first be happy in our solitude; that we come to know ourselves, accept ourselves and love ourselves. We have to find our peace of mind, find our purpose, our passion, our joie de vivre.
It requires that we lay down the ego’s defenses and be naked and vulnerable; that we give up our planning and fantasizing about the future and live in the Now. Only then are we really ready to love. When you fully grasp that tomorrow is not guaranteed—that this moment is truly all that we have—there is nothing to do but give everything you’ve got, expecting nothing in return.
In fact, you know in advance that your heart will be broken. You will be lied to, you will be taken for granted; you will be hurt and disappointed. Sooner or later, between here and your deathbed, you will have to say goodbye. You know it, you accept it, and you love anyway.
Real love is divine. It comes from a relationship with God, a dance with emptiness which takes us beyond the human self, beyond the ego’s petty games to know a timeless love; to taste the fullness of joy.
What we call “true love” is that rare and sacred union that happens when two people join in this dance together.
It is a friendship, a love affair and an act of worship. Passion, lust, affection, caring, trust, respect and devotion all become part of an exquisite surrender. Lovers merge with each other and with the vast, wild universe. Neither knows for sure if it will last a weekend or a lifetime. It doesn’t matter.
All that matters is this moment of oneness—holy and beautiful.
It contains eternity.”
When you have discovered that abundant love lives in that higher place within you, and when you have learned to reinterpret your stories and reevaluate your belief systems about what love is, then you can begin to cultivate the true self-compassion, unconditional self-acceptance, and healthy self-love that true love requires. And two people who have each discovered this is such a rare thing. And this is why true love is so rare.
Update: The following is excerpted from the above referenced video by Prince EA (on love), which I wanted to include here because it puts this entry and the message here about what true love is in such a clearer context:
“See, the truth is, we have forgotten what love is. Our ideas about love come from storybooks, romantic comedies, popular songs, facebook memes – and they all show this fuzzy romantic type of love, and as you are aware, in your own life, these ideas have led to more anxiety and pain then true pleasure [fullfilment] and happiness… because these ideas themselves are flawed, they are based on ownership and selfishness “You are my bae, my boo, my sweetheart; I love you – but only if you’re with me”. That’s a possessive type of love, that’s a love with strings attached, that’s an impure type of love.
Ask yourself this question: who do you hate? It’s probably somebody you used to love right.
Thinking that somebody can fix you or that you can fix somebody else is just plain wrong. See, love is an inside job. In order to love others we must first love ourselves. We have to mature in a way that we can take care of our own emotional needs – we can help ourselves – and that way, we accept the flaws in our partner because we have already accepted the flaws in ourselves.
There’s no more anger or controlling clinginess in this type of love, there’s a relaxed acceptance, there’s kindness, there’s tenderness, there’s vulnerability.
And when you are reflecting your true self, your true soul, you’re no longer reflecting anger, pain, your past failures, and your ego – that’s when love can blossom because the souls only expression is pure love.
And I think when two people, when two souls come to this understanding – that’s rare, that’s beautiful, and that’s something we should all strive for
So word to the wise, if you don’t know how to love, you will ultimately destroy it.”