It is easy to fall in love or have strong feelings for another. Loving someone is a trait that comes naturally to many people. But loving someone does not also mean taking them for granted. The flame of love is kept alive by nurturing and strengthening four important qualities. Read on to know what they are.


Continuing from my last post, I share with you the four pillars, four constituents of love. If you see what I mean, I promise, by the time you finish reading this post, you’ll have a new perspective on love. What is love? Just having feelings for the other person, or wanting someone real bad is not always love; it may be, but generally, it isn’t.

Think of love as an object for a moment, an entity that is made up of four elements. You bring them together and love appears miraculously. In the absence of the primary constituents, what you experience may be strong attraction, it may be a crush, infatuation, something, anything but love. Let me start with an anecdote:

A man comes home in the evening to see his children, still in school uniform, playing barefoot in the street. He enters his home and finds that their school bags, their socks, and shoes are lying in the living room. A further he goes and sees the dining table littered with open bottles of peanut butter and jam, dirty plates, bread crumbs. On his right side is the sink with a stack of dishes. The dinner’s not ready, and the whole kitchen is one big mess.

Shocked and intrigued, he goes to his bedroom and finds the bed undone, his wet towel from the morning still lying there, and his wife, still in her night suit, reading a book.
“What happened?” he exclaimed, “the house looks as if a ghost did the rounds today.”
“Oh, that,” she said casually. “You know how you always say what do I do sitting at home all day? Well, whatever it is that I do, today, I didn’t do it.”

In our sense of self-importance, it is easy to underestimate, even overlook, the contribution of the other person. Your work may be different, it may even be harder but it doesn’t mean it’s more important. Love is about seeing the world through the eyes of the other person. This leads me to spell out the four factors of love. As follows:

Respect

When two people are living together, there’re going to be trying times, difference of opinions, disagreements, and all. But, at that time, if you choose to be respectful to the other person and not be sarcastic or contemptuous, your relationship will remain intact. Even if you don’t agree, still, be respectful. It’s worth it.

Each time you shoot words of anger, every time you belittle the other person or their contribution, if you mock them, a great blow is delivered on the delicate flower of love. It’s okay to disagree, it’s even okay to have arguments sometimes, but it’s not okay to shout and it’s not okay to talk down. For your own good, respect each other.

When someone’s self-esteem is attacked, they’ll quickly, even if temporarily, forget what all good you’ve done for them. Why? Because self-esteem, self-respect, or even ego, is linked to the most innate, fundamental human aspect of self-preservation. Respect is not limited to just respecting the other person but their values too. They may have different beliefs than yours, a different way of thinking, of operating. You don’t necessarily have to agree, but if you wish to retain love, you’ve to, at the least, respect.

Care

The second piece of the love-puzzle is care. It is love in action. You may tell someone twice a day that you love them but the first moment they need you and you are not there for them, what good is that love? If he or she’s sick and you don’t even give them medication, if they are scared or nervous and you make no attempt to soothe them if you can’t make them feel good about themselves, if you can’t comfort or brace the other person, what good is that love?

Care in words is important but care in actions is far more important. It doesn’t just stop at paying the bills, it’s about repaying the other person. Every word, every gesture of care fosters love. What do you do with the things you love, be it cars, gadgets or accessories? You take care, right? Therefore, what would you do if you really loved someone? You do the math.

Compassion

I once read, “Nobody is perfect. And, I’m Nobody!” This is how many people live. They know they are not perfect but they believe and behave as if their word is the gospel. Compassion is about being kind towards the other person and their mistakes and not holding them hostage to your own self-perceived sense of superiority or perfection.

Sometimes, when you don’t agree with them, or when you can’t understand their perspective, can you, at least, adopt a compassionate view and let it go? Forever justifying our thoughts, acts, and emotions, we are often compassionate towards our own mistakes. But, it is having compassion for the other person that heals love. I’m hurt but I’ll let it go says forgiveness. I’m sorry you had to do this, says compassion. Forgiveness sympathizes, compassion empathizes. And love? Love synthesizes the two.

Appreciation

The fourth and the final ingredient of love is appreciation. From a five-year-old to a ninety-five year old, appreciation makes the other person feel valued, it makes them feel loved, important. No one wants to be unhappy.

Whenever you see good in the other person, express it, appreciate it and they’ll automatically want to do more good. You don’t have to do it artificially, you just have to look at their positive side. Everyone could do with a bit of appreciation. In a relationship, two people, day-in-day-out do numerous things that could be appreciated but the lack of the first three elements makes them oblivious to the good the other person is doing.

After being married for fourteen years, a man applies for a divorce.
“On what grounds do you seek divorce?” the magistrate said.
“Your Honor, my wife has absolutely no table manners. She’s a disgrace at social dinners.”
“You’ve been together for fourteen years, and now, suddenly her table manners is an issue?”
“Yes, Your Honor, because only last month I read a book on manners and etiquette. She has none of them, I observed after finishing the book.”

As we grow and gain new perspectives, as our priorities change, often we want the other person to change as well. The other person, however, is going through his own set of lessons. Just because now you know more or know different doesn’t make the other person unworthy or unfit for your love.

Mostly when people say do you love me, what they are really saying is: “Do you want me? Like really want me, more than anything or anyone else in the world.” It is then followed by an assumption: “So, if you want me, I’m sure you’ll do everything possible to keep me happy, to take care of me. Forever.” Often, love is confused for an emotion, for madly wanting someone or being wanted badly by the other person.
It may be a form of love but it’s often not sustainable. The truth is, in real life, this type of love only happens for a short time, and then people enter into a relationship. Once living, loving and seeing each other becomes part of the routine, they start to ignore one or all of the four elements above and as that happens, love withers away before long.

Lasting love is always mutual. You can’t love someone out of pity or obligation, it won’t last. At the initial stages, love is a strong feeling and then a strong desire. Thereafter, it is an act, not the act of making love but the act of loving, it requires some effort from both sides.

Next time you tell someone you love them, ask yourself if you respect them, care about them if you are compassionate and appreciative towards them. Yes? Now ask yourself if your actions show it too. Yes? It is love. And do you want them too? Yes? Big Bonus. Companionship, joy, togetherness, a sense of peace and security automatically find place in a loving environment. Love adds up.

And what if they don’t love you back still? For another day.

Peace.
Swami

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Our worlds are built around love. Loving someone, caring for them, and being around them constitutes a happy and meaningful life for most people. However, loving someone is only the first step. To sustain and grow love, there are many other factors. The questions below may provide you deeper insight into the state of love, heart connections, and how loving someone in entirety is possible.
Does loving someone mean that, even if it hurts me, I must always be accepting of whatever they do and say?

Compassion or love is not always speaking flowery words especially when you don’t mean them or when you are hurt. At the same time, it is not about hurting the other person to get your point across. You can have a difficult conversation with a difficult person in a gentle manner. Sometimes, confrontation is necessary, but you can confront someone lovingly and compassionately. You can make your point in a soft tone without accusing the other person. Loving someone means having to be firm at times. 

Read more here.


Why does loving someone seem a hard task after being with them for a few years?

We work hard so we can be happy and so we may share that happiness with our loved ones. But, in working hard, in winning the race, we often lose sight of why we are doing it. Two people come together with the intention of loving each other, with the hope of leading a life of happiness and sharing, but soon reality and practicalities give way to resistance, differences, disharmony, and love disappears like dew upon morning sun.

Often we work towards big goals in life but love is not made up of big things. Loving someone is not a grand affair.

Read more here.


Despite loving someone with all my heart and being loved in return, I find I am still restless and dissatisfied with my life. Why do I feel this way?

Irrespective of loving someone and being loved, personally, I think inner unrest, discontent, and unhappiness are not the causes we need to worry about. For, they are not even the causes, to begin with, they are only the symptoms. The truth is that the source of all good and bad in our world stems from one thing. In my view, it is resistance.

Almost every one of us has only two key problems in life. They are, in fact, the only two challenges. Eliminate these and there is no resistance, no unhappy feelings, or stress.

Read more here.


By first accepting myself, will I then be capable of accepting and loving someone else in entirety?

The act of turning inward is like putting on the comfy, wrinkle-free, and soft pajamas. Living in your pajamas means being yourself. Once you turn the tables on your mind, everything will become clear. You will love everybody in their pajamas and they will only have love and respect for you.

Go on now! Find yourself that pair and learn to live in it. You need to discover yourself before you can be yourself. And in the process, you will also discover what loving someone completely means.

Read more here.


Loving someone deeply and then losing them unexpectedly has created unbearable sadness in me. How can I deal with grief so consuming?

Grief must be absorbed by a higher emotion or it never ebbs. Because, unlike most other emotions, grief is not a temporary or a fleeting feeling. It arises from the deepest point of love. The river of grief can only ever unite with the river of gratitude, it can only merge in the ocean of love.

It hurts bad when a loved one exits from your life. And until you reach a point of loving someone else with the same intensity, you can’t overcome your grief at the loss of the one you once had in your life.

Read more here.