Love, Actually? Print E-mail

Feature written by Rama Tandon

Guy meets girl. They fall in love. A beautiful relationship begins. Somewhere along the way, something goes wrong. Suddenly, his temper becomes annoying. Her stubbornness irritates him. And the relationship becomes more an issue of tolerating rather than loving. Weren't these qualities present before? Is there something wrong with them? Was it his fault or hers? Was it anyone's fault at all? These are experiences we come across every now and then. Tales of two wonderful people but a not so wonderful ending.


One of the biggest problems we face in relationships today, be it husband-wife, parent-child or between friends, is the phenomenon of attachment. Attachment in relationships is when you begin to depend on a person because of a perceived return. This return may be material, emotional or even intellectual. When we function on attachment, the relationship reduces to a business deal. You are happy when the person caters to you and unhappy when he or she doesn't. You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. We continue the interaction as long as it appears beneficial to us and when it doesn't, we conveniently drop it. Attachment in the final analysis is self-love. It is the most disguised form of selfishness because at the end of the day, all you are interested in is yourself. The relationship is based on what you get out of it, not what you are giving to the other person involved.


Love, however, is a completely different ball game. You don't love the person ‘for' anything. You just love the person. No strings attached. You do things for the other person without wanting or expecting anything in return. Quite contrary to popular belief, love is a one-way street, in the lover's mind at least. Because you're happy irrespective of whether your favour is returned or isn't. Whether your gesture is appreciated or isn't. For you, the joy comes from simply doing something for the other person.


However, even in love, there are times when you need to be harsh keeping in mind the interest of the other person in the relationship. A typical example is a parent being harsh with the child when it does something that is damaging to itself. The parent always maintains an attitude of love but does what is necessary to make sure the child does not hurt itself. Similarly, in our relationships, there may be times when we need to be harsh. But the harshness must come out of a spirit of love. Therefore the attitude of love that we are talking about is not something that leads you to be a doormat for someone else. Love must be the underlying feeling, its manifestation, however, depends on the situation you are faced with.


When we approach relationships with an attitude of love rather than attachment, it becomes insulated from change and more sustainable. Love helps us put our fears to rest and frees us from the clutches of expectations. It is a phenomenon that liberates the soul and, most importantly, takes us forward on the spiritual path.


In your relationships, think about what you can give and how best you can serve the person in the relationship. Is it love or is it attachment? Question yourself when expectations creep in. Try and keep your love as pure as possible and enjoy the peace that ensues.