Learning to Love
I am sure you must be wondering at the title! Love to us comes naturally right since birth when we first experience our mother’s unconditional love, followed by the love of the father, siblings and others. This does establish the fact that we know how to be loved, but does it tell us how to love? Some of us have such bad experiences in our life that we completely forget how to love as our hearts are filled with negative emotions such as hate, anger, remorse, jealousy and so on. The entire space in our heart is occupied by negative emotions and it becomes very difficult to get out of this web of negative emotions.
To break out of the web we need to first get over whatever trauma has driven us to our current state. We can do this by unconditionally forgiving the protagonists in our life drama and then forgetting that the incident ever happened. We can do that but we must always remember the lesson we learnt in that difficult time so that in future in similar circumstances we can take a more positive course of action. Once we get out of the web, we need to awaken a desire to love — a pet, a person, whoever — just that we learn to re-establish love in our heart.
Once we feel the want to love then we are on the right path. You do everything for the sake of others. You stop putting yourself first. Don’t put conditions to your love — “If you love me, I will love you otherwise not; if you do this for me, I will do this for you”, kind of statements! All our problems in life are caused by such feelings — love is not something you can trade! It has to come naturally, it has to flow from your heart selflessly, else it is just like any other transaction!
We lose trust and become miserable when love is conducted like a business. There is no way you can be happy with this kind of transactional love. Don’t worry about the other person, he/she will find his/her own path. You choose a path which leaves you happy and joyous within. Unconditional love for all beings will come naturally to you once you find peace within yourself, once you begin to love your own self.
Loving one’s own self first is the stepping stone to love others. If you don’t love yourself, how will you ever love others? Whether it is between husband and wife or even between two friends, if your relationship is going to be based on what is to be gained from the other person, you will never be happy. Remember, the other person cannot always give you what you want. Just be content to love unconditionally.