We all want it, but what is it really? Do you really want love or the dream?
I’ve been in many relationships, from long-term to casual, and in all of them, feelings are inevitable. If you’re lucky, you get to experience love. Some are fearful of falling in love because they’re afraid they’ll get hurt. But I once heard someone say, “You can rise in love.” The term “rise” means growing and elevating to a healthy level, as opposed to "fall in love," which implies pain.
There are many who also tout that they are "hopeless romantics,” but I much prefer the term “hopeful romantic,” especially when I’m single. Love is about hope. You can’t possibly find love or have love find you if you aren’t hopeful. You also might throw a dash of faith in there. It’s easy to like someone, but love is something that most of us want, seek and desire, because of the powerful energy that results when you combine forces with another and “fall” or “rise” in love.
Throughout my relationships, flings and casual dates, I’ve learned many lessons—of which one of the most important is tolerance. When you take someone as she is now, and not who she might become, or who you want her to become, you give her a great gift. That gift is called acceptance. Acceptance is beautiful and important both when dating and in a relationship.
The other quality that’s important is compassion. Compassion is connected to love and is defined as having empathy for someone’s misfortune and wanting to alleviate it. It’s an emotional quality. Compassion means to “suffer together with,” and relates to the mantra “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” I’m not suggesting that in love you should suffer, but there will be both good times and hard times in a relationship, and when you love someone—really love someone—you would bleed for her. There really isn’t anything you wouldn’t do to help the person you love.
Love is about respect and trust. You can’t possibly have a relationship without trusting someone. It’s also imperative to respect someone’s needs and desires, and to understand them even if you don’t understand her wants. You don’t have to agree with them, but make an effort to understand them. True love is selfless and it asks only that you put someone’s needs at a high degree of importance. Factoring in another’s emotions shows you care. All these traits are characteristic of love.
When you are in love with someone, there is a feeling you get inside that makes you glow. Suddenly colors are brighter, you may be inspired with creative ideas, you smile more, the hard things don’t bother you so much and there seems to be a contagious nature to your energy. Others just want to be near you. When you are in love, you give off a “love vibe." I’m sure you've noticed that when you’re single you don’t have this vibe. But ironically, when you are in a relationship and happy, you usually get asked out more than when you’re single. It’s frustrating, but when you’re single you may give off a desperate vibe, and others can sense it. But when you’re happy and content, there is a calmness to your energy and you radiate it. Others want to be near you. That is the power of being in love.
What is NOT Love?
I’ve dated enough guys that weren't healthy for me that I’ve learned what love isn’t. I’ve been tangled up with men that I’ve loved who didn’t love me back. There have been many men I’ve wanted passionately, but they rejected me for reasons they could only explain with such reasons as “I don’t want a relationship,” “I’m not into monogamy,” or “I’m not over my ex.” If you are a man who feels this way, don’t get into a relationship with someone, because you’ll end up hurting her. Only date when you are ready, open and available for love. When you date and you aren’t commitment-minded, issues and drama crop up.
What isn’t love is selfishness. Many men I’ve dated unfortunately have been selfish, and it’s a bad quality to have when dating or in a relationship. Selfishness causes arguments. It’s such a demanding quality that it causes much friction, such as cheating and lying, which also aren't love. Unfortunately, I’ve been through both of those with several men. They’ve cheated and lied to me. You can’t possibly love someone if you’re cheating and lying to her. That’s a version of love that is dysfunctional, and it doesn’t do either party any favors. When you cheat and lie, you put yourself and your needs first. You don’t factor how you can hurt your partner, and you set yourself up for breaking up. Even if your partner takes you back, you inevitably won’t have trust. A relationship without trust isn’t worth having. You will always question your partner’s motives, whereabouts and activities. When you do, you are acting out of jealousy. That’s not love. Jealousy is totally fear-based and makes you act out of insecurity. Be confident, feel secure and have trust, and your relationship will be much healthier. Love isn’t abusive. There is no way you can tell someone you love her and then abuse her either verbally, emotionally or physically. You can’t trust someone who is abusive. True love asks you to respect its delicate nature. It needs trust. Relationships depend on mutual respect, trust, tolerance, compassion and love.
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