What about love?

by Evans Yonson

(Note: I wrote this piece as an email to my students on 3 October 2001, a few days before my birthday.)

There was a time in my life I became afraid to fall in love. Because everytime I fell in love, I got hurt. I thought maybe that’s why it’s called “falling” in love. I would give my all, loving deeply and wholeheartedly. It would be a truly emotional, extremely euphoric experience. I would be dreaming about the object of my affection all day and all night, imagining good times together, thinking of what I can do or buy for him to show how much I care. I would feel light as a feather, energized and excited, literally blooming with the joy I feel inside. Then somehow things would go wrong and my whole world would crash. Disappointment. Resentment. Anger. Pain.

Why? Can we not love without feeling pain? Is it really a price to pay for all the happiness we feel when we are in love? Should we just accept that because we love, we risk getting hurt? It was only after many years of soul-searching and reading inspirational writings that I realized that we could love without getting hurt. Only recently did I understand what unconditional love is all about.

Love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It is the fire that burns inside, the
essence of being. Love is the source of all our comfort and contentment. It is a precious gift that
defines our purpose in life. If we keep in mind that we can indeed preserve its true meaning, we can love to the fullest and be happy the rest of our lives. Accept that other people express love differently.

How do you express love? You say, “I love you” three times a day, kiss and embrace as often as you can, you never forget anniversaries, you always prepare his favorite dishes. How does he express his love? He rarely says I love you”, he seldom kisses you, he forgets your birthday, and he doesn’t know how to cook. But he worked overtime, walks the dog, takes out the garbage, takes you to movies, and calls you “honey”. He probably loves you more than you can imagine; he just shows it differently. If you can accept that then you will have a healthier perspective of your relationship.

Derive happiness from giving love. When you love, do it because you want to. There is an indescribable joy in loving. Just give it. And cherish satisfaction in having given someone something of yourself. It’s like giving a gift. Whether it is appreciated or not, find
joy in simply giving. Love without expecting anything in return. This is where pain comes in. When you demand something in return for the love you give. You are setting yourself up for disappointment because love cannot always be reciprocal.

Love between two people can never be of the same intensity at the same time and place. No matter how much your partner loves you, she will never be able to fill all your needs all the time. And you will be in the worst situation if you believe you should love only when you are sure to receive equal love in return. You will be waiting in misery forever. Love now.

The past is gone and the future is just a dream. All of yesterday’s aches and pains, as well as the loves and laughter, are mere memories. Let them go. Fantasies and worries are for a future that may never come. Don’t dwell on them. Live now. Give love now. Do it now and enjoy it now. That is the secret of genuine contentment. Throw away those destructive habits. When you insist upon yourself that you always have to be in control, that you always have to be right, that others must always please you, you put yourself in a very tight spot.

Loving relationships are flexible, dynamic, and evolving. Leave room for change and interaction. Allow for new behavior and learning experiences. When we welcome these into our lives, we open ourselves to sharing more love and affection and less frustration and pain.

Yes, you will say that unconditional love is easier said than done. I agree. Especially when we have always believed that love is give and take. But try believing that love is simply giving. And you will be surprised that a lot of it, even more, actually comes back to you.

“In life, love is never planned nor does it happen for a reason. But when the love is real, it becomes your plan for life and your reason for living.”