Oh, the fascinating concept of love. I’m always wondering whether I will ever find a single person on this planet who can claim they understand love completely.
There’s a famous quote by Paulo Coelho that goes,
“The wise are wise only because they love. The fool are fools only because they think they can understand love.”
I don’t know if I’m a fool for trying to understand love, or if I will ever succeed in understanding its essence completely, but I want to get as closer to it as possible.
What always fascinated me is that there’s always something new to learn about love. We think we know everything we need about love until someone comes and changes our perception of it completely.
Whether you are with someone or on your own, reading the following quotes about love and relationships can really help you view love in a different way, gain some more wisdom about it and reaffirm your ideas about being in love.
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1. “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
– Thomas Merton
I‘m sure you’ve heard about this cliche more times than you can remember: when you love someone, you don’t want to change anything about them.
Yet, most people who have been in a long-term relationship can tell you that’s not true. After the initial sparks and enthusiasm fade away, the things that didn’t annoy you before, such as certain of your partner’s habits and quirks, start getting on your nerves.
Naturally, you might prefer that they make a few changes to the ways they think and act — and tell them so. And although it’s acceptable to try and change a destructive behavior (e.g. that your partner quits drinking or smoking), you shouldn’t try to make your partner fit your standards and your own image.
As Rob Pascale and Lou Primavera explain in this article in Psychology Today,
And that’s not what love is about. Love is about accepting your partner, even if you don’t always agree with the way they lead their life. It’s about letting them being completely themselves and act/behave based on the way they feel.
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2. “A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.” — Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, not only because he was a greatly talented painter but also because he was a troubled soul. He spent most of his years feeling misunderstood — something I think many of us can relate to.
When I first read this quote, my eyes filled with tears; I was insanely moved because, for me, Van Gogh’s words reflect something that runs deeply in most people’s hearts: the desire to be loved.
You see, people rush so easily to judge others, without making the slightest effort to understand them first. We all have our share of emotional baggage and for some people might be incredibly difficult to open up and get close to someone.
They might not show it, but deep down they crave what we all do: to find someone who will knock down their walls and love them for what they are.
If you ask for my advice, don’t be a passer-by. You might take a look at someone and see nothing but a wisp of smoke, when in reality, they might hiding a burst of flame waiting to keep you warm.
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3. “It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Love may be the most beautiful feeling in the world, yet so many people are afraid of it. They tend to build walls around them, making vows that they will do their best not to get close to anyone.
Why? Because love equals pain. And who isn’t afraid of pain?
As clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone explains in this article:
When we make ourselves numb, it is easier not to let any sort of sadness affect us, but at the same time, we make it difficult for us to be happy.
And that’s the irony of love. Loving someone means being vulnerable and coming to terms with the possibility of being hurt. However, loving someone — and being loved in return — also means being alive.
Love gives you energy, makes you feel validated, and helps you grow. At the end of the day, feeling pain is a risk worth taking, because, as Roosevelt says, without love, “we shrink until life is a mere living death”.
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4. “Unrequited love may be painful, but it is safely painful because it does not involve inflicting damage on anyone but oneself, a private pain that is as bitter-sweet as it is self-induced. But as soon as love is reciprocated, one must be prepared to give up the passivity of simply being hurt to take on the responsibility of perpetrating hurt oneself.”
― Alain de Botton
Have you ever wondered what’s the psychology behind unrequited love? What is it that makes people fall in love with people who could never like them back?
That’s something that always concerned me and was one of the first things I researched when I first tapped into the fascinating world of psychology. This quote by Alain de Botton reflects one of the main reasons people prefer pining after unavailable people: the fear of being responsible for someone else’s feelings.
You see, people aren’t afraid just of being hurt; they also dread the idea of being the ones who will hurt another human being — even when it is unintended.
That might have something to do with the fact that the experience of hurting someone else can create feelings of shame and guilt (or “I’m a bad person” thoughts), which can be difficult for some to handle.
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5. “True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” -Erich Segal
Throughout my life, I’ve witnessed so many people confusing enthusiasm for something deeper, unable to distinguish between superficial excitement and true love. It’s always the same story:
Them — “I swear, we kissed and I instantly knew he was the love of my life.”
“I know we’ve been dating only for a couple of weeks but I know I’ve found my person.”
Me — feeling the urge to roll my eyes but smiling out of politeness and saying something along the lines of “Wow, that’s great!”
The more you hear someone gushing over their partner and how perfect their relationship is, the more likely it is they’re gonna break up soon. Segal’s quote is really important for understanding that quiet love is actually the most viable type of all.
After all, you can’t truly love someone without knowing them completely, without discovering the deepest corners of their minds, without experiencing hardship together. And these things take time and effort.
True love doesn’t run you over. It’s like a seed, that takes root in you and grows slowly. Quietly.
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Love makes the world go round.
Poets write about it.
Philosophers discuss it.
Musicians compose songs about it.
And we all crave it.
Even if we are never able to understand love completely, one thing’s for sure: we can never live without it.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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