What is True Love?

by Neseret on November 4, 2011

A Natural GiftCreative Commons License
 photo credit: spikey_64

Recently watching one of Oprah’s life classes with Iyanla Vanzant I realized that the relationship I’m involved in right now is the most loving and nurturing relationship I’ve ever experienced in my life. Mind you I have been in plenty of relationships before, however looking back I realize all those times I thought I was “in love” were most accurately what Eckhart Tolle describes as an “ego attachment”.

In order to truly love another human being and “extend yourself for the purpose of nurturing” their “spiritual growth” you have to first be in the process of doing the same for yourself. Most people, including myself however get in to relationships from a place of need and vulnerability.

As the saying goes we’re looking for love in all the wrong places and going about it in all the wrong ways.

In my case I was still reeling from a very traumatic childhood. I ran to the first guy that paid any attention to me which helped me avoid dealing with my own issues. Relationships gave me somebody else to focus on instead of my own problems and pain.  Most of the relationships I was involved in were with people who were often also running away from their problems.

When two people who are not happy and whole on their own come together what you get is a very boring, painful and dysfunctional relationship. So many people wonder why things are not working in thier relationships or why there is so much drama in their relationships. If this is you right now, look no further, don’t blame your partner or anyone else for that matter. Just start looking within.

The road to finding your true love starts with self development, self acceptance and self love.

You can’t give another person what you don’t have. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn in life when you’re coming from a place of not knowing who you are or how to give to yourself.

In my case I was addicted to relationships. They were my drug of choice to numb my fears and pain. For years I didn’t like being on my own. I’ve had boyfriends since I was 11 years old. When one relationship ended I wasted no time in being involved with the next person. Overtime I noticed a clear pattern. Each and every relationship had a lot of issues and ended in pain. Sometimes a lot of pain.

You reach a certain point in life when you’ve had enough pain, heartache,  and drama.

You want change. It took a lot of courage for me to confront my fears and to make change. I first accepted the fact that I was the common denominator in all of these relationships that didn’t work. I knew something needed to change. I also knew that the change was not going to be coming from the other person. I realized the only person I can change is my own self.

The journey of healing has brought me peace and freedom. Furthermore it brought me what I’ve always longed for – a loving and nurturing relationship. When I was not searching for love desperately it came to me.

I continue to learn to love myself and nurture my own and my partner’s spiritual growth. A relationship coming from this place of healing is beautiful. Keep in mind every relationship has its challenges but when two people make their own and each other’s self development a priority in their life their relationship will blossom.

I’m truly grateful to have found my path to healing and self love. I invite you to share your experience of healing and of finding a loving and nurturing relationship. Below is one of my favorite reading about true love by Dr. Scott Peck. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Please leave me your comments and questions below.

Peace, Love & Gratitude,

Neseret

“Love is perhaps too large/deep to be described by words, but in this context love is:”The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

Of all the misconceptions about love the most powerful and pervasive is the belief that ‘falling in love’ is love or at least one of the manifestations of love. It is a potent misconception because falling in love is subjectively experienced in a very powerful fashion as an experience of love. When a person falls in love what he or she certainly feels is “I love him” or “I love her.” But two problems are immediately apparent.

The first is that the experience of falling in love is specifically a sex-lined erotic experience. We do not fall in love with our children though we may love them very deeply. We do no fall in love with our friends of the same sex – unless we are homosexual oriented – even though we may care for them greatly. We fall in love only when we are consciously or unconsciously sexually motivated.

The second problem is that the experience of falling in love is invariably temporary. No matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough. This is not to say that we invariably cease loving the person with whom we fell in love. But it is to say that the feeling of ecstatic lovingness that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes. The honeymoon always ends. The bloom of romance always fades.”

“To understand the nature of the phenomenon of falling in love and the inevitability of its ending, it is necessary to examine the nature of what psychiatrists call “ego boundaries.” At infancy, we can’t seem to separate the universe from ourselves, there was no identity as to what we are and what we are not, what are mine and what is not. We came to accept our size, physical limits, and power. The knowledge to this limit is call “ego boundary”. As we grow up to young adult, we find that we are separate individuals, isolated from others, confined by physical limits and power, relatively small and weak function of the society.Our ego boundaries are harden, our world became colder, more confusing and hostile. It is very lonely and sometime painful to be confine within one’s boundary.We seek to escape the wall of individual identities so that we feel more unified with the world out side of ourselves.

The experience of falling in love allows us this escape temporarily. The essence of the phenomenon of falling in love is a sudden collapse of a section of an individual’s ego boundaries, permitting one to merge his or her identity with that of another person.The sudden release of oneself from oneself, the explosive pouring out of oneself into the beloved, and the dramatic surcease of loneliness accompanying this collapse of ego boundary is experienced by most of us as ecstatic.We and our beloved are one! Loneliness no more!

This experience of merging with someone reflects the feeling we had when we were with our mom at infancy. Being united with the ‘loved’ one made us feel like the world once again revolves around us. The power that we had to give up when we were kids is back to us again, we are now powerful, the future is bright, and nothing is impossible anymore. Superhero days are back to us once again. “The unreality of these feelings when we have fallen in love is essentially the same as the unreality of the 2 year old who feels itself to be the king of the family and the world with power unlimited.

Reality bites. Sooner or later, in response to the problems of daily living, individual will reasserts itself. He wants to have sex; she doesn’t. She wants to go to the movies; he doesn’t.. etc. Each person realized that they are no longer “one” with the partner and that the other has their own wishes and desires. Eventually the ego boundary get set back in their own place, gradually or suddenly, we fall out of love. We are back to separate individual.From here, they either break up the relationship or begin the “real” work of “loving”.

Falling in love is not an extension of one’s limits or boundaries; it is a partial and temporary collapse of them.The extension of one’s limit requires effort; falling in love is effortless. Lazy and undisciplined individuals are as likely to fall in love as energetic and dedicated ones. Once the precious moment of falling in love has passed and the boundaries have snapped back into place, the individual may be disillusioned, but is usually none the larger for the experience. When limits are extended or stretched, however, they tend to stay stretched.Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience. Falling in love is not.

Falling in love has little to do with purposely nurturing one’s spiritual development. If we have any purpose in mind when we fall in love it is to terminate our own loneliness and perhaps insure this result through marriage. Certainly we are not thinking of spiritual development. Indeed, after we have fallen in love and before we have fallen out of love again we feel that we have arrived, that the heights have been attained, that there is both no need and no possibility of going higher. We do not feel ourselves to be in any need of development; we are totally content to be where we are. Our spirit is at peace. Nor do we perceive our beloved as being in need of spiritual development. To the contrary, we perceive him or her as perfect, as having been perfected. If we see any faults in our beloved, we perceive them as insignificant -little quirks or darling eccentricities that only add color and charm.

So what is real love if falling in love is merely a temporary and partial collapse of ego boundaries? ” The experience of real love also has to do with ego boundaries, since it involves an extension of one’s limit. One’s limits are one’s ego boundaries.When we extend our limits through love, we do so by reaching out, so to speak, toward the beloved, whose growth we wish to nurture. The act of many years of loving, of extending our limits is a progressive act of enlargement of self, incorporating the world around us, a stretching and a thinning of our ego boundaries. In this way the more and longer we extend ourselves, the more we love, the more blurred becomes the distinction between the self and the world. We become identified with the world.And as our ego boundaries thinned, we begin more and more toe the same sort of feeling of ecstasy that we have when our ego boundaries partially collapse and we ‘fall in love.’ Only, instead of having merged temporarily and unrealistically with a single beloved object we have merged realistically and more permanently with much of the world. This mystical union with the world, although is more gentle and less dramatic than falling in love, it is much more stable and lasting.

The process of extending one self is an evolution process, where you grow as a human being. When a person is willing and successfully extending one’s limit, even for other people’s spiritual growth, they themselves have grown to be a larger state of being. The process is never ending and very satisfying.

As we’ve heard, one can’t love others unless one learns to love oneself first. We can’t be a source of strength unless we established our own strength. So self-love and love for other has to exist together, not as a separate function.

This act of extending, which means going beyond one’s limit, suggest that it requires effort. “When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion – through the fact that for that someone ( or for ourself) we take an extra step of walk an extra mile.Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.”

Above quotes and extraction are from M. Scott Peck, M.D. from his book,”The road less travelled, A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth”. There’s much more to this topic than I can put in this article, but I do realized how short the netter’s attention span is, so.. go grab the book, it’s a valuable mind asset to acquire.

I hope you find “real love”, an eventual total collapse of one’s ego boundaries. It isn’t easy, to break down our ego boundaries. We must find ourselves and our identity before we can transcend it. You might find temporal escape from ego boundaries when you “fall in love”, sexual intercourse, or use a certain psychoactive drugs, but that’s just a small glimpse of nirvana, not nirvana itself.It takes commitment and effort in exercising real love to reach a lasting enlightenment. Only then, you’ll not only find that you are no longer a separation of any other entity and that you are oneness with the universe, but the perception of discrete object, separated from one another is an illusion.It’s like being back to infancy again. The world would be as much more peaceful and ‘loving’.

By Scott Peck

PLEASE share your comments down below! I’d love to hear from you! And please also share this post on twitter or fb if you liked it! Thanks so much for spending time with me here today!

Blessings and Peace,

Neseret,

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