Understanding the Love in Our Lives

Love can be a very beautiful force that we humans have the ability to feel. It can improve our wellbeing and consciousness. The love we manifest has a great deal of influence on the people around us and vice versa. We, and the many or few people in our lives, are like nodes in a network, either lifting each other upward or pulling each other down. But too often we get caught up on the love we feel towards other people that we forget love is much bigger than two people. We can also fall in love with ideas and concepts. Humans invented democracy in Athens and the telephone in the United States. These were amazing accomplishments for us humans that all started with an idea. Love is an eternal force.

An eternal force… what?

The world, however, is by no means benevolent. There is no doubt that love comes leaves us vulnerable to a great deal of elements. Good or bad, it can consume us. But we can reduce potential damage by seeking to understand love and its many forms, not only in others but in ourselves.

Love is such a powerful force that the encounters we have with its many forms of manifestation, as a child, can play a drastic role in shaping our personality. This love typically comes from our mothers, as in most cultures a baby spends most of its time with its loving mother. This is called Attachment Theory and was brought forth by John Bowlby in the late 1950’s, which was further elaborated by others.

What is attachment theory?

Safety & Exploration

If a baby is safe(ensuring survival) then it can explore(gather valuable information and play) as it wants. If the baby doesn’t feel safe it cannot explore, if it isn’t safe then it could die. And this is where mom comes into the picture. Mom acts as a safety base for the baby to explore as it wants. We can see this in action if we are ever around a mother and her child. If they are at a playground or park we can observe the small baby as it goes out and plays and occasionally returns to the mom before returning to play again. This is the safety mechanism leveling out the level of exploration that is taking place. If the mother is not in sight then we can expect the baby to become frantic and scared. No exploration can take place under these circumstances. We all experienced this as babies.

Somewhere along the way as babies we built up an internal working model of the relationship between us and our mother. If our mother was always there for us then we were bold with our exploration. If our mother left us on occasion then we are nervous to be left again and our exploration was limited. This is what dictates our attachment style. It’s important to note that our attachments were only on our parents until about 14–17 years old. When we reached adolescence a shift of attachment transferred from our mother to our peers. And this is where we can witness our attachment style in action.

Attachment styles

Fearful-Avoidant Style

  • Desires but resists intimacy.
  • Struggles to have confidence in others or relying on them.
  • Pushes people away.
  • Has very few close relationships.
  • Highly suspicious of others.

Secure Style

  • Tends to have a positive view of interactions with others.
  • Being alone or with someone is not a problem.
  • Capable of setting strict boundaries.
  • Has no problem showing intimacy and receiving it.

Anxious-Preoccupied style

  • Drama oriented.
  • Dislikes being alone.
  • History of unstable relationships.
  • Requires a lot of ego stroking and show of affection.
  • Somewhat reluctant to trust.
  • senses negative undertone in partner, mostly projected.

Dismissive-Avoidant Style

  • Extremely self-sufficient.
  • Somewhat passive aggressive.
  • Tends to avoid intimacy as it brings vulnerability.
  • Prioritizes a great deal of things before a relationship.
  • May have a problem with commitment.
  • Very few close friends but a lot of acquaintances.

While most people lean towards one style over the rest, it is entirely possible for us to move across the spectrum over time.

These laws govern human nature.

Love can sometimes leave an individual broken, hurt and unable to love again. This typically happens when one or both parties are ignorant of the laws that dictate our experiences. Knowing is half the battle here.

Yeah, I just used a G.I. Joe reference so what?

Why is this important?

When it comes to the love that we experience with our partner(s) there are only two types.

Passionate Love & Companionate Love

Passionate

Companionate

“Love means that you accept a person with all their failures, stupidness, ugly points, and nonetheless, you see perfection in imperfection itself.” — Zizek Slavoj

One should not get discouraged when passionate love wears off. It is just a stepping stone to something much greater.

Eternal Love

And I agree.

Love is not only experienced through other people. Love can be felt when we are reading a book that entices us or on a hike surrounded by natures vast creations. It can be felt while listening to a beautifully composed song with heart-touching delivery, or when we are working on a personal project and get “in the zone.” No one can refute this. Love is an eternal force. Plato then presents us with a ladder of love, demonstrating how one can move towards an eternal Love.

The ladder of Love

Plato was right.

Love is an eternal force. It is not limited to one person. But if we wish to become better partners to the one person whom we are committed to, we must experience the love that Plato talked about.

Up the ladder

We can learn to love something we do. This can be an activity like a martial art or a game of chess. We can fall in love with our work wether it be a job, artistic venture, goal we need to achieve or something we need to create. With phenomenon of spoken language sometime in the distant past came the ability for us to speak things into existence. We can communicate what we think in our heads with others and can work together to accomplish great things.

One can begin to expand their knowledge of society and the mechanisms which shape our daily lives. We can get involved in our communities or join a movement which we know to be just. These are are things that we can fall in love with that can improve our quality of life.

“Love makes us whole, again” — Plato

Experiencing love in all of its forms can shift your attachment style to lean more towards a secure style. This will improve not only your relationships but your life in general.

Love should be a positive force in our lives

We should adopt a quasi-Victorian attitude, not towards marriage but relationships in general. Relationships should be strictly strategical. They should lift us up and improve our life since they have the power to do so. Relationships should not bring you down. Obviously no relationship is perfect and they come with their ups and downs. But we can get a general sense of which way they are headed. It is up to us to terminate any unhealthy relationship before it begins to degrade us. This requires us to be brutally honest with ourselves. We must scrutinize both our partner and ourselves. Our wellbeing depends largely on the people whom we spend most of our time with.

It is worth noting that we don’t choose to fall in love, it just happens. But even a basic understanding of love gives us a better chance of thriving in its turmoil than our ignorant counterparts. We must remain attentive to its invisible grasp and its influence on us.

Love can be a positive force in our life, but it can also be dangerous if we are not aware of its pitfalls. An alert and informed individual can prevent unwanted suffering. We have all experienced love in our lives but we hardly ponder its nature and potential. Our love is not limited to physical bodies but to ideas, souls, institutions and knowledge. Too often we get caught up on the love that we feel towards one person and begin to lose sight of what love really is, an eternal force bigger than two people. If we wish to be better partners we can begin by scrutinizing ourselves and our forces that govern our lives.

Philosophy, Psychology, Spirituality, Mysticism, and other Occult topics.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store