When you fall in love your brain looks like someone with brain damage. You lose frontal lobe capacity, the ability to make good judgments is impaired, your appetite decreases, you can’t sleep, and you become slightly obsessive-compulsive, but without the anxiety. It’s temporary. The brain returns to normal in a rather short amount of time and now you regret sharing your Netflix password.
This is often referred to as Eros (one of four types of love mentioned in the Bible), or erotic love, associated with “madness from the gods.” This is where we get those cute little arrows on our Valentine cards because Eros stems from Greek mythology involving “love’s arrows.” This sort of love wounds the lover because they are overwhelmed with desire and longing. Reminds me of high school and I have no desire to return to that sort of mania.
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.” Neil Gaiman
That’s new love, it might be magical, but believe me it is liminal in nature. This sort of love is based on appeal, mutual need, unrestrained sexuality. There is this silent negotiation going on all the time involving dependency, desire, craving. I think it’s better to fall in love the same way you fall asleep, slowly, with a lot of repositioning, before you are comfortable enough to finally drift off.
What I want to know more about is radical love, love that spans decades, endures hardship, forgives all trespasses, has dignity, respect, reaches beyond compassion, only to arrive at a place of immeasurable safety and trust. That’s what I’m talking about, shoot me with all the arrows in your arsenal because this kind of love acts like a shield. It’s an impenetrable, solid, fortress with twinkle lights.
There are many types of love that come close, such as love for ones children, parents, siblings, and close friends. These are more instinctual in nature, long term, and enduring. A storic sort of love is often used to describe the love between exceptional friends, one steeped in compassion, and desire for one another’s wellbeing. This sort of love tends to be based on trust, connection, companionship. Not that this wouldn’t be an important part of a good marriage but I think it’s only a stepping stone in the evolution of love.
When you aspire to a higher kind of love, ego and neediness begin to count for much less. You feel that love can be a healing force that binds everyone. You can love someone else without needing anything from him or her. Such love begins to be less personal and attached. Your awareness expands, and you feel less insecure. Love becomes more mature and peaceful. Relationships involve mutual appreciation; there are fewer conflicts between two defensive personalities. Deepak Chopra
I hope everyone has a storic love in their life, you only need one, one person who sees you, validates you, understands your indoiosycricies, and still loves you. They say people who enjoy strong friendships have a longer life expectancy? That is amazing. Makes me want to rethink my selfish, uncompromising, feisty nature. Right?
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” Elbert Hubbard
The real deal is agape love, it’s the highest form of love, some believe it comes from God, pure, unconditional, sacrificial in nature. Stephen Chbosky says we accept the love we think we deserve. I think this is ridiculously important. The more you love yourself, the deeper the well so to speak, the more ‘living water’ you have to offer. It’s not that complicated.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Friedrich Nietzsche
The other day Larry and I got into a scrap over a trivial issue. I’ll not bother you with the details, let’s just say we were at odds with one another, both of us coming from extremely self-serving positions. You know how it goes, we start digging in our heels, gathering ammunition from old battles, shooting off arrows with the intention to wound, win the war, lose the battle sort of conflict. As if a California wild fire it leaped from accusatory to combat zone in a matter of minutes. In the heat of the battle I rarely stop and consider what a lack of love this represents from both of us. Even boxing matches have timed rounds where each opponent returns to their corner for patching up and coaching. Might be a good practice to consider in the future, “ding-a-ling, back to your corners.”
We finally came to our senses, life has a way of realigning your priorities when you least expect it, you find out how much you were compensating when you let go, and nothing pulls you off course. So it got me thinking about this form of agape love. I’ve come to believe even this type of love must have it’s share of conflicts but maybe the resolutions are kinder and gentler? More like a tennis match, where we lob balls at each other, but end up in a love, love situation.
Love grows more tremendously full, swift, poignant, as the years multiply.
We’re not well educated in practices of self-love. Maybe if I spent more energy working on my own flaws I wouldn’t have time to detect, categorize, and label my partners? Learning to love myself requires not only self-reflection, quiet, solitude but also honesty, forgiveness, and mercy. Isn’t that why I blog? I’ve read somewhere we have to become the person we want to love? So when my knight in shining armor shows up at my fortress hopefully with chocolates, flowers, and a card, I’m flinging the doors wide open, dropping the shields, plugging in the twinkle lights, may we all be pierced by love’s arrow. Happy Valentine’s Day.
“That’s what love does. It pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you’ll do anything it takes to get it, even if it costs everything.” Bob Goff
I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, we validate one another.
- “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” William Shakespeare
- “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” Anais Nin
- “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 14:3-8
Previously published on CherylOreglia
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: istockphoto