The love paradox

love paradix

This week had been a challenging week for me as I have been pulled in a lot of different directions. I had planned to write about a great conversation that took place on the OIC regarding the interrelationship between love and happiness but, believe it or not, there have been so many posts that I can no longer find the conversation string.

I am not making excuses for myself, but it was one of those situations where every time I went to save the conversation, the phone rang, or an email came in, or I received an instant message, and somehow I never managed to get it done.

Rather than beating myself up about this, I am trying to sort out what it is that I really ought to be writing about this week.  And in doing so, I have recalled another conversation that I had regarding whether it is simply “vain” to love yourself, or whether it is essential to first learn to “love yourself” in order to properly love someone else.

This is a contentious issue that can be argued from either perspective. In the purest, most perfect sense, it might well be wrong to love yourself – having reached a highly enlightened state I can see that it would not necessarily be a good thing to focus solely on yourself. One would simply be content to serve others and draw comfort from the knowledge that one was serving a useful purpose. One would find happiness in feeling at home in one’s own skin and one would find joy in mankind and in simple things like the stripes on a caterpillar – “Love” per se might well be of little concern.

But what about the rest of us, who have not yet achieved this level of enlightenment? Does the existence of love serve a purpose for us?

And for that matter, what exactly is love? Is love a joyful fulfilling thing? Or is love a weak aching addiction that is never truly satisfied and leaves us dependent on others for constant endorsement and reassurance?

You don’t like reading this? Then answer a question – how many times have you said “I love you” to someone mostly to hear them say it back to you?

Not a comfortable thought, is it?

Ok, so what if instead of focusing on getting others to give you your daily “love fix”, you instead focused on learning to appreciate all of your own little quirks?

I am not suggesting that you should stop loving other people, or that you should indulge the weaker parts of your own nature that you know in your gut are not ok; I am merely suggesting that if you can find a way to like (let alone love) your own good qualities, then you will be more equipped to be kind, patient, compassionate and loving to the people who pass through your life, and a happier person in general.

Do you agree?

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
Dalai Lama XIV


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