Love is meant to be a happy thing isn’t it?
Hearts and flowers, hugs and kisses, cuddles and snuggles.
From the flush of first romance to the joy of a snuggling newborn: “love is all you need” .
The Beatles were 100% accurate with that line.
So what about the painful love songs?
‘Tears on my pillow’
‘Nothing compares to you’
‘Heard it on the grapevine’
Why is so much pain involved in something which is meant to be so beautiful?
The problem comes because our love is mixed with something called attachment.
With regard to relationships this could be described as our tendency to mix our love with self interest, holding expectations regarding the other persons ability to ‘make us happy’ and fulfil our wishes and desires for perfect happiness. (This, in fact they can never do from their side as we are the creators of our own happiness)
Pure love is holding a wish for the other person to be happy, purely wishing another person to be happy without our usual self concern interfering.
Sometimes our love is pure, in those moments when we are totally focused on benefiting another, concerned only for their happiness.This pure love gives rise to only happiness both for ourselves and others.
But when we have a belief that happiness comes from outside ourselves we become victims of a craving, attached mind. We become ‘needy’. We are convinced that we need that person, or need them to behave in a certain way to function as our own personal ‘happiness machine’ ,bestowing on us the happiness we think comes from ‘ out there’ rather than ‘ in here’, inside our own mind.
We may think there are different categories for our love; romantic love, parental love, brotherly love, friendship love etc,but although they may all be expressed in a different manner, the same rule still applies: Pure love is wishing the other person to be happy. Attachment is expecting the other person to provide our happiness.
There are many symptoms of attachment being mixed with our love.
We may also experience a sense of ‘ ownership’ of the other person.
“Be mine and nobody elses.”
“You are my boyfriend/partner/ child, therefore you need to behave in this way for me to be happy.”
We develop dreams of how things will be and are pained when our expectations are not fulfilled. If our adult children engage in worrying behaviours, not only are we concerned for their safety but we have the additional burden or dealing with the disappointment of our broken dreams.
When relationships fall apart we may become ‘ broken-hearted (I cannot possibly love anyone else, you were the only source of my happiness).
When friends fail to phone or text we feel let-down, because we were expecting them to provide us with happiness from their side.
If we hold on to these ideas we are setting ourself up for more pain. Nobody can provide us with happiness from their own side, happiness is a feeling within, a state of mind we can work to develop.
Resentment arises from our disappointment with the other person when they fail to provide us with happiness. Often we can’t forgive them for our disappointment and carry grudges form the past into our future relationships, souring them before we begin.
So all-in-all attachment has a lot to answer for, it is the cause of all pain and misery in any of our relationships.This doesn’t mean we give up on our relationships, it means we bin our attachment, so we can have love without pain
Observe our mind and see how it reacts in different situations and under different conditions.
When we notice our mind becoming uncomfortable we can stop it in its tracks and look for the cause. (It will be our self interest and attachment to having our wishes fulfilled)
We can experiment with our experiences eg ” If I let go of this, how will I feel?”
We can switch the focus from ourself and our wish for happiness, to our loved ones and their wish for happiness.
(N.B. This in no way means we should remain in a dangerous or abusive situation merely to please another, as this would not bring them happiness in any case. It is possible to remove ourself calmly from any situation if necessary, while holding a mind of love for another.)
As you observe and experiment with your mind it will become obvious that to increase your happiness and improve your relationships: ” All you need is Love”