In order to create conscious love relationships, we need to understand our motives and needs.
WHY DO WE ENTER INTO RELATIONSHIPS?
In order to create conscious love relationships, we need to understand the motives and needs which now cause us to form relationships.
We enter into relationships for the same reason we do everything else in our lives: because we are motivated by our needs. We seek out others in order to fulfill our unfulfilled needs. Alone we feel empty and isolated. We hope to complete ourselves through our relationships.
There are many levels of needs and desires which we seek to satisfy in our relationships, whether with a spouse, parent, child or friend.
1. One of our most basic needs is to feel secure. We feel more secure and safe when we are with someone. I have heard people who fear being alone at night in a remote house admit that they feel safer even if there is an infant or cat with them. Obviously, this infant or cat will not protect them from any danger. We can see how important it is for us to feel that we are with someone else.
In primitive cultures, our safety was directly related to being in groups. Only in groups could we survive and be safe. If one were ostracized, he would quickly perish due to predators or lack of food. We associate safety with being with one or more persons who pledge they will be with us always, even when things are difficult.
For most of us, it is not sufficient that a person is with us now. In order to feel secure, we want to know that he or she will be with us forever. This is one of the reasons we give so much importance to exclusivity in our relationships. If the person on whom we are dependent for our feelings of security begins to show attention to others, we tend to fear that we may lose him or her and thus our security. Such fear and jealousy is common when we are children and often continues in relationship to our spouse and close friends.
2. Another reason we fear our loved one’s giving attention to others is that we are programmed to believe that we then lose our self-worth. The reasoning is that we believe we are worthy of love when there is at least one person in this world who loves only us. We feel worthy and important because this person sees us as special and loves only us. If suddenly he or she also loves someone else, we feel intimidated.
Another factor is that we associate being able to keep a mate with our self-worth as men or women. A man feels that he loses his manliness if a woman leaves him for another. Most women believe they lose their self-worth if their spouse shows interest in another woman.
3. Another powerful attractive force in the formation of relationships is the need for affection and physical and / or sexual contact. This need for contact, intimacy and physical union with another being exits on many levels: biological, emotional, mental, spiritual, and for the balancing of our bioenergy. Thus we seek someone with whom we can share our affection, intimacy and energy.
This giving and receiving of affection and energy is basic to our physical and emotional harmony.
4. Another reason we form relationships is to recreate familiar emotional exchanges that we experienced as children. We are often subconsciously attracted to someone who will sooner or later behave like one of our parents. We complain that we escaped from this negative behavior in our parents and now we find the same behavior in our spouses. This has to do with our subconscious need as adults to learn the lessons involved in confronting such behavior.
Thus, it would be best not to complain about this situation, but rather to ask, “what is life trying to teach me here? What do I need to learn so that I can transform this negativity into a conscious love?”
5. Less frequently today than in the past, some still may also choose a spouse who is «socially superior» in order to gain prestige and power through this connection. Social dictates can sometimes be a motivating force in marriage. This is especially true in some countries of the world where women are submitted to great pressure to marry before they reach a certain age.
6. Two people may decide to form a relationship because of common interests. They may be studying the same subject or pursuing the same goals in life. They may give each other mental stimulation and satisfaction. They may have similar professional goals and work together, helping and complimenting each other. This could be in anything from scientific research to running a supermarket.
7. A primary force in bringing people together in marriage is the subconscious or conscious desire to create and care for children. Through children we manifest our continuation. We offer to society human potential for the future. We also frequently seek to gain self-affirmation through their achievements. In some cases, we may also hope they will support and protect us when age makes us less capable.
8. We are also attracted to someone because he or she embodies qualities which we admire or which supplement our personality. If we are overly emotional, we might be attracted to a person who is more subdued and rational. If the opposite, we might be attracted to a person who freely expresses his or her emotions.
9. Another factor which some might feel has played a role in their coming together is that of “fate” or destiny. We may feel that we were “supposed” to be together. We feel “Eros”- feelings of infatuation or of “being in love”. These strong feelings create in us a need to be with the other and to unite our lives.
These intense feelings seldom remain in the strength that they were first felt. This infatuation will then need to evolve into pure love, respect and admiration. Once those intense feelings subside, if they are not able to transform them into love, the relationship may be in trouble. It might end in separation or simply as a lifeless co-habitation.
Most relationships are formed on the basis of some combination of the above as well as other factors that apply to each specific case.
Relationships that are based only on the above factors without some higher evolutionary spiritual goal are likely to develop a number of conflicts. This is not an absolute law, but a very common reality.
10. You will notice that we have not mentioned love as a reason for coming together. This is because true love is independent of needs. The “love” we feel in most of these situations is an attraction which is created because one receives something from the other. If we stop receiving or have to share what we are receiving with others, our feelings of “love” will likely diminish.
The “love” we feel when we are attracted to someone whose presence makes us feel secure, self-affirmed or satisfied may, in many cases, actually be love with conditions - with the condition that the other will remain that way for ever and continue to give us what we need.
All of these motives are based on our need to fulfill some needs through the other. They are based on the fact that we feel empty and need the other in order to feel secure, self-affirmed or happy. The other’s presence in our lives completes us. This is something extremely vital for us, as we have not yet learned to complete ourselves.
True love does exist and we can evolve toward it. That is the purpose of life, as well as the subject of this book.
WHAT IS OUR GOAL?
These relationships are called codependent relationships in which our sense of security, self-worth and happiness, and perhaps purpose in life are dependent on the other. We are mutually dependent on each other.
This might be the case even when one of us might seem very “strong.” The “strong one” often gets his “strength” from the “weak one” who depends on him. In many cases, the victim needs the abuser so that he can remain in the role of the victim. The “super-responsible one” is often addicted in his relationship with the “irresponsible one,” so he can be affirmed as the “responsible one.”
When we need something from someone and they do not give it to us, we begin to feel disappointment and hurt. We could be talking about time, attention, acceptance, recognition, services, material objects, love, affection, exclusivity, or any type of support. And when the other cannot or chooses not to give these to us, we feel offended and angry and sometimes hateful and vindictive. If this person gives what we are asking for to someone else, we feel jealousy and subsequent anger.
This is all happening not because we love the other, but because we believe we need the other.
Our relationships are a means toward an end and not an end in themselves. The purpose of all relationships is for the continued growth of the soul. Each relationship is a lesson in self-knowledge and in how to love truly. We can love truly only when we are free from fear and needs. Wanting to be with someone because we need him or her and cannot be happy without him or her is attachment or dependency, not love.
Love without attachment means that we enjoy being with the other and want the other to be happy and to continue on his or her evolutionary path in any way in which he or she is guided internally, whether or not we agree. It means feeling the same love for that person, regardless of how he or she behaves toward us. It means supporting that person in his or her search for happiness, even when that does not satisfy our needs or causes us to confront our own fears.
It means knowing that we can be safe and happy without him or her, and that we are with him or her out of love and not out of fear of being alone.
Thus, a relationship is a lesson in love. It gives us an opportunity to see and overcome our weaknesses, our selfishness, our ego-centeredness, and learn to love purely. This will be the subject of this book; how we can use our conscious love relationships in order to grow spiritually.
When two individuals agree that they mutually want to grow into greater self-knowledge, love and spiritual development, wonderful transformations can occur in their relationship. These changes might not be immediate nor without conflict, pain and effort, but ultimately they are worth the effort. Also, even if the other is not willing to work on the relationship consciously, we can benefit from the same growth process working alone with our feelings and interactions in the relationship as a source of self-knowledge.
This work will be very meaningful, fulfilling and enlightening as we learn to move from fear to love.
From the ebook Relationsips of Conscious Love