Mindfully In Love Or Madly In Love, Which One Do You Pick?

As a teenager I used to believe that if I found true love and got swept off my feet falling in love, I would be the happiest. Because what would make one happier than loving and being loved, right? I think you too might have believed the same or maybe you still do. Either the way, hear me out.

We are created with minds and hearts, both very strong and capable of leading us through life: living, loving, building, creating and achieving but moreover – making choices. We are gifted with our hearts for their great ability to love but usually we forget how strong and capable our minds are especially when we are in love.

Mostly when you love, you forget about your mind and you let your heart take the lead. But here is the thing, you weren’t created with both so that you would only use one, right? Love is the most unique human feeling, and it’s so sophisticated and complicated that only something as strong as the heart can handle it. However, decisions made by our heart aren’t always and ultimately what’s right and suitable for us. They usually go too far loving and they forget about everything else. For that the mind comes in need.

I think we can all say that most of us who would label themselves as “Madly In Love” would agree that the heart is taking the lead while the mind is involved a little bit. In that kind of love, sometimes the happiness we feel is just an illusion and only few times it’s real. And I am ready to bet that those whose happiness is real don’t just use their heart in their relationships, they use their mind too. Each one of us uses their mind with different percentage when in a relationship. In fact, how much we use our mind goes directly proportional with increasing our level of happiness. However, when you only use your heart there’s quite a big risk to end up with a heart break or a life that revolves around the person you love and believe me, – that’s trouble! You would never want to lose yourself loving someone so that when they leave, it hurts so much that you would want to die. Because yes, madly in love brings this kind of suffering, and only your mind can help prevent your suffering. Hence, in this “Madly In Love”, your mind is taking a long nap.

So how can we be deeply in love and have a balanced, happy and healthy relationship without taking the risk of having a heart break? How can we be committed, faithful, devoted and giving without losing ourselves in the process of love?

Here comes “Mindfulness In Love”. Madly in love brings you a feeling of enchantment, magic and bliss but it’s temporary like drugs. However, being mindfully in love would create just the right balance you need in your life. It creates a long lasting happiness and contentment with your life. When you love mindfully, you would know what to let into your system and what not. You would know how to give and how to receive love without getting too far loving. You would know your partner’s rights, your rights, which compromises are okay to make and which are not. You would know that your life has all other aspects other than your love life: it has yourself whom you should love ultimately, it has your career that you should invest time and energy into so you would reap the goods later, and it has your family and friends who are a huge support system and a huge source of love and happiness and who also need a quite big chunk of your love energy. But most importantly, it has you living as a whole human being who is all happy by himself/herself, capable of leading a beautiful balanced life.

“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what’s going on deepens and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love. “- Thick Nhat Hanh

I invite you all to start analyzing your relationships and ask yourself: Am I loving mindfully? Does my relationship allow me to have a balanced life? Do I give attention and invest energy in all my life aspects equally? Does my world revolve around someone and only that someone? No matter what your answer is, I believe that if you are conscious enough you would know that mindfulness is definitely something you either need to integrate in your life or need to keep increasing throughout your life.

For me, meditation is a great way to increase mindfulness and thus have a balanced, mindful love life or so I try. You can try for yourself and see how it helps increasing your awareness, mindfulness and consciousness. Then, you can decide what’s best for you. Although I am sure that if we compare our life to a pyramid, we would never want to build the pyramid’s base out of one stone only, our love life, would we?

Photo credits: Captured by Caity Photography https://capturedbycaity.wordpress.com

Why We Keep Failing At Love

The concept of love has existed as long as the human race. For centuries, scholars have tried to come up with different definitions of love but it never suffices due to the complexities involved in this magical word or feeling. So many times I’ve tried to understand what this word means but it has never been easy to come up with a hundred percent understanding of the word.

Could love be a myth or a trick? Is it just a concept created to make people happy and vulnerable at the same time? Or is it really the key to eternal happiness? What is this feeling that makes it hard to go to sleep without one’s head spinning like a carousel? These are some of the questions that many of us ask especially when we have once found ourselves in an unsuccessful relationship before.

We do not realize love is the same

Have lived in this world for at least one quarter of a century, had my own fair share of messed up relationships with different kinds of people worldwide, I figured eventually that a lot of us are not loving the right way. Love means the same everywhere, and the right application of it brings the same result. I might start by asking you, how do you want to be loved? I know the answer to this question may be an unending list, such as I want to be given attention, provided with material needs, or complimented very often or never to be cheated upon.

How about if we reverse the above question to, how do you want to give love? Worth thinking, right? But the issue here is not just about giving but more of giving what we have. There is no way you can truly love somebody if you do not love yourself enough. The sustainability of every relationship depends hugely on deeply rooted love of self before loving another person. A lot of times we failed at love because we were either trying so hard to please our partners that we somehow diminished our own value or rather because we were expecting too much than we were ready to give. In my opinion, it is about striking a balance between loving yourself and giving out love to a significant other.

Like being a pilot with an air-plane

If you spent more time in your own self development, you would feel more confident and eventually develop self-love. This makes you ready to be in a loving relationship without necessarily getting too attached, needy, vulnerable or egocentric. You just give out love naturally, also knowing when to strike a balance without feeling guilty or making your partner feel lesser. Loving the right way is like being a pilot with an air-plane, knowing when to fly high, higher and descending without a crash. Just like a pilot, this skill is only possible when you invest in yourself first before you can be able to manage the emotions of another person as well.

It is necessary therefore to also identify the fact that we cannot take actions to invest in ourselves if we have not searched within to see whether that deficiency of love comes from an experience in our lives such as childhood or another. The same goes with understanding and dealing with an insecure or needy partner. It took me years of contemplation before I finally learned the art of meditation that has taught me how to observe with no expectations and let go, especially negative self talks or assumptions. This skill has helped me unlock some of the mysteries of love and relationships.

Finding balance

Still wondering how to start loving yourself, finding inner peace and having better relationships? Try meditating 15 minutes a day for at least 21 day and you can thank yourself later. Please don’t get it twisted; sharing my opinion here does not mean that I’m an expert at love or meditation. I’m a work-in-progress, and all I can say is, I feel more balanced in my emotions now than I was before. I hope you find your balance too. Happy love month!

Photo credits: Finn Hackshaw, Unsplash.com

 

Here Comes Love Again… Wait, Really?

Opennes to love

On desiring infinity while experiencing finitude. Thoughts on love. Part I. 

In our practical life, we love people, pets, stuff, nature, art etc. We experience this feeling not only in romantic contexts but in many others – or at least we can be open to feel love in multiple ways. However, the fact that we love those things/people doesn´t mean that we can have them all the time we want, or whenever we want them. Here we start to play the limits of the material life. There are duties, distance, and particularities that make us realize that we do not always have the opportunity to get what we want when we want it, no matter how much we love it. When you get the experience – not only the rational understanding of it -, you feel the limit. You acknowledge the space of separation between you and the object of your love that comes from outer circumstances. You feel it. 

On a more personal level, our reactivity is our limit. Whenever we react, we are on the edge. A reaction is impulsive, unconscious behaviour, a byproduct of the circumstance. Every time we get A, we react B. Every. Single. Time. Because of this simple formula we get lazy about our own self-development and/or life, judgemental about ourselves and others, we blame anyone, complain or become the victim of circumstances. There is another name for this consciousness or state of the mind, we call it EGO.

In basic etymology, EGO is the first person singular in Latin (nominative case or when the pronoun is doing the action or otherwise serving as the subject of the sentence). It basically means “I”. And because EGO is semantically very charged – we use it in a variety of contexts with multiple meanings – and can mislead, I prefer to name this person simply “reactive behaviour” (“persona” means “character or mask” in Latin, another insight there). Here we are complaining about our last breakup to our friends, blaming the other (ex-boss, boy/girlfriend, friend), being the victim “I don´t know how we got there” “I gave my all to that relationship” “Relationships are harder than I thought” “Life is not fair” and so on. All that talking and complaining is from our ego, our mask, that part of ourselves that is insanely fixed and reluctant to change or see things under another light.

Wings of love

 

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi                                                                                             Credits @delnudotatuajes

One thing is the feeling that we have in our hearts, sincere and truer than any rational epiphany, and another thing is the thing that runs in our minds. The first one is our raw, vulnerable nature, the openness of our heart that sometimes feels like a painful break; the second one – our reactive behaviour. Here we rely on the meditation practice again in order to understand this in a practical and holistic way. When we notice our emotions, thoughts, and start training the “no reaction” attitude or equanimity, when we try to let those things pass, when we try to let them go without engaging in the inner drama, we are walking away from our reactive nature and gaining more than one important thing not only for our meditation but also for our lives. That is the whole thing of this simple yet not easy exercise of mindfulness. In meditation, we train ourselves to become less reactive and more aware by learning to control our habitual tendencies.  

We trust here in the basic principle of universal economy: everything has its raison d’être. And as in any type of economy, from domestic to global, restriction is essential. There is, though, a restriction to restriction: healthy restriction, not repression. What´s the difference? The difference is very simple: restriction implies awareness, repression is a denial of reality. This said, we now understand that it´s not about repressing our ego or reactive behavior, but to set a limit to it (and later on to transform it… but that´s for another post). To restrict our ego in a way that doesn´t become the king of our minds. Why? Because otherwise, we are far from love – love will always find ways to bring us back to its territory anyway… Here is a tough truth about love: love drives us down that path of stretching and restricting with the promise of abundant and unconditional satisfaction.  We walk the path and our ego has little to do there. The rest is yet to come.

Credits for the image @vip.mambo76

You’re Good Enough, And Always Have Been

If you’ve ever struggled or still struggle with loving yourself, know that you are not alone. And more importantly, know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. In a world full of pressures and expectations, it is easy to feel less than. It is easy to compare ourselves to others or seek perfection when it is not necessary (or healthy).

Learning To Open Up About Your Struggles

I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to be open and honest about your own struggles. Without communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthy mind. Whether this means talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or even a journal, it helps tremendously to release your emotions.

Let me start by opening up about my own personal struggles with perfection and never feeling good enough.

Throughout high school, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get spectacular grades. While it was fabulous that I wanted to get good grades, my approach was not healthy. Rather than being satisfied with my achievements, I would dwell on the smallest mistakes. If I missed one question on a test, I would see only that mistake, not the achievement. Spectacular was not even enough. In fact, perfection wasn’t even good enough–it was just “all right.”

When my high school years came to an end and I no longer stressed about grades, perfection slithered its way in differently. This time, I became obsessed with weight loss and health, never seeing myself as worthy of happiness if I didn’t achieve a certain weight or maintain a specific diet.

This struggle was with me from a young age; even when I was in middle school, I struggled with my weight and in high school I attempted diets, but ultimately made a lifestyle change. At first, I lost weight healthily but then I began to obsess over it. Weight and calories were always on my mind and thin was not enough–I had to keep losing more and more weight.

The peak of my eating disorder lasted the first semester of my freshman year of college, but the mindset took a long time to fade away. Throughout these struggles, I’ve realized that if you don’t love yourself, happiness is hard to come by.

Taking Care of Yourself, Every Day

After I began focusing more on loving myself, my mindset began to change. I replaced negative thoughts with positive thoughts, bad habits with good ones, and hatred with love. My whole mindset needed to change. It took a lot of time and work, but it paid off, and I work every day to be good to myself.

I want to repeat those last few words: I work every day to be good to myself.

Loving yourself isn’t something that happens over night. It also isn’t something that, once learned, can be thrown under the rug. We are constantly changing, so we need to constantly reevaluate our approach to self-love, and cater our efforts to the needs of the moment.

I want to remind you of a phrase that has helped me tremendously: You are good enough, right in this moment, and always have been.

I think we can easily spend too much time thinking about the person we want to become rather than the person we are right now. If we don’t work on loving ourselves in the moment, how can we expect to love ourselves in the future?

Of course, we can always improve and strive to be better people, but we don’t have to give up our happiness during this journey.

Self-love starts with this very moment.

Without caring for ourselves and communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthier mind.
If you want to read more by Jerry Ehlers, please visit his website Discovery Overflow.