What Is Real love?
The question everyone wants to know. There’s only one kind of love that can fill us up, make us whole and give us the happiness we all want and that is the unconditional love or real love.
Real love is caring about the happiness of another person without wanting anything in return. With real love nothing else matters; without it nothing else is enough.
Throughout our lives we compile a picture of what we think real love should look like. Often this process begins early as little kids listening to fairy tales at bed time. As we grow older we often imagine finding a soul-mate, that perfect person who we were destined to spend our lives with. The trouble is that the reality of love is not quite as simple as the fantasy picture we create in our heads. Our fantasy idea of love often leads us to choose romantic partners for the wrong reasons. Even when we choose partners for the right reasons creating fantasies can interfere with the real connection two people naturally share.
As for those who believe you have to merit love, real love isn’t. You can’t earn real love. It’s not subject to how good you are or whether you’re pleasing to your partner all the time. Imagine that I tell you I love you. I smile at you, speak kind words to you and perhaps even present you with gifts of all sorts. Understandably you enjoy this as we all would. Five minutes later however I storm into the room describing a mistake that has been made and while shaking my finger in your face and scowling with rage I say, “Are you the one who did this?!” How loved do you feel now? That great feeling disappeared the moment I entered the room didn’t it? Yeah, so I tell you real love can’t be earned or bought because we are all human and as humans we are err to errors.
Real love is a spiritual practice in that your focus is not how you can change your partner to alleviate your anger, pain or annoyance but how you can assume full responsibility for those feelings and find healthy and constructive ways to attend to them. When you change in positive ways the relationship will positively change as well. Real love is a lifelong practice. You’re not expected to know how to give and receive real love at the onset of marriage but are expected to work at it so that over the course of your life together your capacity to love grows. Real love is based on shared values and a solid friendship. You genuinely like each other (even though you might not like everything about your partner). Real love is more concerned with how you can give to your partner than what you can get from him or her.
It’s also real love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally. With real love people are not disappointed or angry when we make our foolish mistakes, when we don’t do what they want or even when we inconvenience them personally. Real love is unconditional.
When I use the word happiness I do not mean the brief and superficial pleasure that comes from money, sex, power or the conditional approval we earn from others when we behave as they want. Nor do I mean the temporary feeling of satisfaction we experience in the absence of immediate conflict or disaster. Real happiness is not the feeling we get from being entertained or making people do what we want. Real happiness is a profound and lasting sense of peace and fulfillment that deeply satisfies and enlarges the soul. It doesn’t go away when circumstances are difficult. It survives and even grows during hardship and struggle. Real happiness is our entire reason to live and it can only be obtained as we find real love and share it with others.
Real love may seem less exciting than our shiny fantasies but it is a million times more rewarding. Here are the qualities that I believe make up a truly loving relationship.
Honesty is an essential component for a healthy relationship. Part of treating someone lovingly is being honest with them about your feelings. Often people try to shield their loved ones from the truth believing ‘what they don’t know won’t hurt them’ or that they are protecting their partner’s feelings, however being lied to is even more painful than hearing painful truths. Part of real love is learning to trust one another therefore betraying someone’s trust does a tremendous amount of damage to loving relationships.
Physical affection and sexuality are vital components of a loving relationship. Affection and sexuality are not only important in developing an intimate relationship they are also essential aspects of keeping a relationship alive and exciting throughout the years. Once a relationship becomes more routine couples often fall into a pattern of placing less importance on physical intimacy and casual affection. However simple acts of affection such as holding hands, making eye contacting and engaging in small flirtatious behaviors can help people feel closer to one another.
It is important to share activities and do things with your partner that lights both you up. Often when people first fall in love, they bond over a shared love of certain activities and mutual interests. To maintain a healthy relationship, I suggest that couples continue to share their mutual passions and be willing to try new things together.
Respecting your partner’s individuality is a key factor in having a truly loving relationship. At the beginning of relationships people have a natural respect for one another as separate individuals and they tend to relate to each other with kindness and genuine interest. As time goes on couples often lose this sense of autonomy and relate to one another as part of a unit. When we lose perspective and stop thinking about our partner as a separate person, we often begin to act in ways that are more intrusive, manipulative or disrespectful rather than being sensitive, understanding and independent.
It is important to be open, willing to look at yourself and make changes in order to develop a meaningful relationship. Rather than acting defensive, overly hurt or angry when your partner gives you feedback try to adopt an attitude of openness and curiosity about what they are trying to tell you. When we are closed to suggestions, criticism or new experiences, we limit our self-development and often begin to resent our partners. When we are open however we are able to develop ourselves and our relationships further.
#6 Real Love Means Saying Goodbye To Expectations.
Sure, we all want people to behave the way we want them to. We want them to be more affectionate. Or more outgoing. Or smarter. Or more ambitious. All of these things are expectations. Expectations are just your requirements for “acceptability” of loving someone. But real love has no expectations. It simply loves “as is.”
#7 Real Love Has No Room For Jealousy.
Like possession jealousy doesn’t equal love. We think that if we’re not jealous of our loved ones that it means that we don’t love them. Real love has confidence in the quality of the relationship. It knows that the other person is happy and content coming back to you and only you.
#8 Real Love Means Putting Other People’s Needs Equal To Or Before Your Own.
While people may be inherently selfish for survival purposes this does not serve us well in relationships. If you don’t put other people’s needs at least equal to your own they will grow resentful. Real love truly, genuinely cares about other people’s happiness and will go to great lengths to make people feel valued.
In a perfect relationship it’s good to have your own space to grow as individuals. But at the same time if you truly love your partner you’d see them as a part of your life. When you think of your future you can’t help but see them by your side.
What Real Love Can Do In One’s Personal Growth
#1 You’ll lose whatever addictions you have—to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. Real love takes away all forms of addictive behaviours from a person and replaces them with something much lively and fun – real love.
#2 You won’t get irritated at the many little things that bother you now.
#3 You’ll discover who you really are which fewer than 1% of people realize now. Real love helps you to find who you really are and your capabilities.
#4 You’ll enjoy a richly fulfilling relationship with your partner, friends and others. Real love helps you enjoy a richly fulfilling relationship. Happiness comes from this coupled with a sense of great assurance.
#5 You will eliminate fear from your life. That’s a miraculous feeling! Real love eliminates fear and cowardice from one’s life. When you love someone unconditionally there’s no extent you won’t want to go for them.
Are You Experiencing Real love?
If you’re in a relationship and aren’t experiencing these real love signs don’t fret. Perhaps your relationship hasn’t reached the state of emotional maturity that surpasses physical attraction or the stage of infatuation.
Take your time and test the waters. You can’t fall in love with someone by forcing yourself into the relationship. If it’s not working out try to understand each other better. And if nothing you do can bring happiness back into love perhaps both of you would be better off dating other people.
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