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Love as a conscious choice
Hello dear readers.
A bit about me. I have spent my entire adulthood working on myself, trying to find healing and happiness. I am now 54 years old. I started my journey in my mid twenties.
Along the way I have suffered all kinds of abuses and serious psychological trauma. I am like many in that regard.
I have been without support or guidance save for resources in the community like books of healing. I am at the stage where I am asking myself, what is it all for?
I think I now have an answer. All I have experienced has prepared me to make the conscious choice to love myself and others.
I am ready. I am learning how. I believe that love is the pinnacle of relationships, but that my life so far has been about readying me for such an awesome responsibility.
How does a healthy adult behave in accordance with a conscious choice to balance love for herself and for others? How can I be mindful of being loving?
I throw open this question to the reader. I guess I am asking, what is love between adults? Have you given any thought to this question? I would love to hear your replies. To start the ball rolling, I might suggest that there needs to be judgement in order to protect oneself and to assert self love. Self love comes first unless you are consciously acting out of sacrifice or selfless altruism. Comments?
Highly sensitive person the main part of loving oneself or another. Is learning to acept one for who they, or what they are right now. Warts and all. This is as good as it gets. Not an easy task espeicaly if you have a disability, depresion or what ever. We can always improve our quality of life. Lesson the impact of depresion or disability. But it's like a baby or a pet dog or cat. They love uncondisionaly. We have a duty of care to feed, clothe, educate, provide medical, look after them. These are my thoughts on this
Good to meet you. I had a discussion about love with a friend of mine. She said love is an emotion, loving someone is an action. Definitely not the same thing. I think the discussion started on why I was doing voluntary work because I thought I was doing it for myself. Of course there is some truth in that but it was also about being loving, or as the church puts it, loving your neighbour.
Mindfulness is part of loving yourself. Mindfulness and meditation are those acts you do to take care of yourself and your inner spirituality. While you are doing this you cannot help but start loving others. This is the place where you learn about forgiveness. It is part of your inner journey to forgive both yourself and others. In fact you cannot help but do this. Forgiveness is never to give the other person peace, or because they have earned it or deserve it. It is our process to lay aside our hurts, anger, tears and all the other painful emotions.
All this adds up to acceptance, of ourselves and others. I think we do not consciously set out to be loving, others or ourselves. But on that journey we find, often with surprise, that we have become more loving. And that helps us to take care of ourselves. I think one aspect of loving ourselves is to make us mindful of what we really need and want. Once you can put aside your need for possession, recognition, reward or any of these things, you suddenly find you have more time and energy to to reach out to others.
Love to read your response.
I was intrigued by your thread title so had a peek at your post. Some good questions there.
It definitely does seem like you have been on one incredible journey. Also, a history of abuse is something that can make relationships (love even) rocky waters to navigate. I mean, I think relationships can be tricky- even with the most solid foundations and a lot of love- but a history of abuse just throws in an extra challenge (or 2).
Self love comes first unless you are consciously acting out of sacrifice or selfless altruism. Comments?
I think that is a really difficult question to answer. You'll probably get a gazillion perspectives on it, and they will probably all be equally valid in their own right. I think the answer depends on the individual. For some, his or her own life (for example) will always reign supreme. For others, there could be moments/causes/ideals/people that are more important than their own life.
It was interesting to read your reply. A few things came to mind.
By way of process and the way my mind works is to examine as many possibilities as can be found and weigh up that which is fair and reasonable. That is who I think I am.
So in reading your suggestion that love requires acceptance, I started to think of the opposite or other possibilities.
The opposite of acceptance is rejection. Is it possible never to reject anyone or anything? I don't think that is realistic and balanced. How do I reject people? By making a judgement about their merits.
In between acceptance and rejection there is tolerance, which is sitting with it rather than deciding that something is appealing or unappealing. It is ambivalence or ambiguity.
I think that for mental health there needs to be flexibility as far as each possibility is concerned. Of course, if you have a narrow view of what's acceptable then you end up rejecting a lot. So I guess the idea is to be broad minded and not narrow minded.
i don't think it's healthy to see acceptance as a should or a must. This is not helpful to your cognitive processes and may lead to unpleasantness.
So I guess you have helped me see that healthy love is having standards that you can live with and that make allowances for others up to a point. There may be compassion towards those who do not meet your standards, but love might be asking too much. Here I take love to mean to hold someone in your affections.
i also think that it's useful to draw on the Greek classifications of love and distinguish between the types like phillia (friendship) and Eros (sexual) and agape (humanity).
Thanks for your contribution to my understandings.
Hi Mary and thanks for your considered response.
I think we have inherited some very powerful messages through the church and society to be all loving, which I think we associate with famous spiritual teachers throughout history.
I have tried to offer some nuance to the belief in my response to Kanga. But you also talk about mindfulness having an effect on how we see others. In my healing journey I came to understand how hard it is to be human. It is quite a challenge to have a human mind. And to have it damaged and do the repairs.
I now know that healing is not possible for everyone. There are many who will suffer all their lives. This fills me with sadness. I am also driven to think of ways to prevent some of the pain and suffering. Although biological temperament will always play a part.
The world needs to get smarter about the ways we live and not rely on therapy as reparations for needless damage to the mind in our youth. We need to invest in people from antenatal to post death. That's my thinking anyway.
Thanks for your response.
The abuse has made my experience with love extremely difficult. But guess what? I am starting to formulate laws of communication from it. That makes me grateful to the abusers who are my teachers, even if unwittingly or not.
i guess I was trying to say that now I have achieved a certain level of healing and recovery, what does love look and feel like between mature adults?
I know what it's like when you're sick, but I don't know what it is like when you are well. Do you have experience of healthy love? I don't know if I will ever find out.
It's lovely to hear from you again.
Thank you for clarifying. Hmmm...healthy love? Gosh, I'm probably the wrong person to be answering that question.
It's a really good question, mind you. I don't what the future will be like for you but I certainly hope that you experience healthy love.
I believe mindfulness and meditation can play a large part in healing. These are the ways we reach deep inside ourselves, come to know who we are and accept ourselves. If we can do that, and it's always a work in progress, we become more able to see others as they are but through the eye of compassion and love.
Interesting you said, I now know that healing is not possible for everyone. There are many who will suffer all their lives. That may well be so but not because there is no way for them to heal, rather it is a choice they make not to engage in the healing process. The world needs to get smarter about the ways we live and not rely on therapy as reparations for needless damage. No argument there. It is a challenge to be human and have the freedom to do as we please, in general terms, and with few restraints. And at the same time to care for and respect others.
In your reply to Kanga you mention the various types of love. Through my meditation practice I have learned about these separations and I think it is important to understand love in the Greek differentiation. We tend to think of love in one dimension and usual Eros. Accepting others is a demonstration of Agape. There is a difference between acceptance, Agape, as an expression of love and the judgemental way of choosing who is worthy.
Of course there are differences between people which is good, but does not exclude anyone from being part of our agape perception of of others.
Thanks for starting this thread.
I agree with you that healing means looking deep inside ourselves. I guess I have the compassion and agape to accept that not everyone can do this. It takes a certain intelligence to do it justice. Many have no idea. They are not even self aware.
The battle then is with ego and the self that wants what it wants. Occasionally we get a little of what we want but I find that it is largely piecemeal. Rarely are we totally satisfied. That is my experience. Perhaps the key is to come to terms that satisfaction is only ever partially found. Life tempers my expectations. I am happier that way. There is a constant battle between the biological substrate and the reality of this world.
I do take issue with a couple of other things you said, but I have said enough already. I decided to focus on points of agreement. My hope is that you find this a pleasant experience in reading my reply.
Thank you for the opportunity to converse.