Wise & Wisdom: Vidura’s perspective
June 4, 2015
Carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength
June 7, 2015

Being in, and out of, love

It’s stupid to expect that all our desires will be satisfied. No matter how much powerful or influential we may be or become we are sure to experience frustration(s) by sheer presence of a desire.

The things we don’t have – we’ll long for them. Once we have them we desire something else.

Longing for the “love” of another person is among the powerful desires we can have. When we “fall in love” and find that our feelings are not being reciprocated, we experience frustration.

Nothing is predictable in life. Even conditions which are clearly favourable one moment could prove otherwise the very next.

Some “fall in love” at “first sight” and remain “happy” for the rest of their lives; some others sooner, or later, realize that their “love” was only “infatuation” and regret it later. It’s fair to conclude that dynamics of this “love” is unpredictable. It’s burstable. Human emotions, like all things in nature, are subject to change. Therefore, in any relationships there’s a clear possibility of “break up”.

A relationship which once might have appeared like a perfect dream can turn sour and the parties involved could head for a split. The difficult thing then is the pain that follows. Handling this pain can be a phenomenal challenge. In such conditions it becomes important to know that emotional knots have to be cut sooner or later, and each time they are cut the parties involved bleed a little. One should accept the fact that for some time, one will be subjected to sharp fluctuations in emotions.

In such situation, some people walk around like wounded victim. If there is nothing that one can do about the breakup, the very first thing is to accept the inevitability. Until one does that, one can be paralyzed, with thoughts running over and over in the mind of how to mend something that cannot be mended. One must be prepared to undergo a few stages emotionally before recovering from the breakup.

At first, there will be the shock. One will find it hard to believe that the breakup has really happened. After the shock will be one’s injured sense of pride. After the shock and finding a way to salvage the pride, one has to face the loneliness – by being alone. But even this will go away eventually. It is not going to go away in a day or a week; it will take time, but it wither away is a reality. During this period, one should try living one day at a time. Don’t think about the past or worry too much about the future. Living one day at a time will help one in tiding over the worst days. And then, before one knows it, one is no longer affected by the breakup, and one is really free again.

One should avoid doing anything foolish during the period of adjustment. Every now and then, we read in the newspapers about tragedies of suicides, violence and murder committed by the broken hearted people. There was a case of a young man who threw himself into a river drowned, with his love letters neatly wrapped in a plastic package stuffed in his pocket. He was broken hearted because his girlfriend had decided to marry another man. This young man had committed physical suicide. Some commit emotional suicide by going insane out of frustration and disappointment due to broken love affair being jilted.

Why do people have to undergo all this suffering? It is because they have not developed an understanding of the uncertainties of life and is, therefore, caught up in an emotional turbulence. They develop attachment and have unreasonable expectations. A person who has a better understanding of the nature of life will know that life is affected by eight worldly conditions. Like the waves on the ocean, these eight worldly conditions fluctuate. One moment it is favourable and is welcomed with open arms; at another moment it becomes unfavourable, which is rather hard to bear. Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, desirable and undesirable conditions prevail in this world and everyone, without expectations, must face them.

One may enjoy some gain, but for every gain there is also the danger of loss. This is true for fame, praise and happiness, which have the risk of their negative counterparts, namely, defame, blame and pain. However, the occurrences of every negative condition carries also the hope that things will change for the better. A loss can set the foundation for a future gain, while defame can turn into fame, blame into praise, and pain into happiness. Such is the instability of worldly conditions. And the affair of the heart, being subject to worldly conditions, is no different. A love between two persons can grow into something deep and matured, fed by selfless giving, mutual respect and sharing. It can also turn sour when the parties involved become careless with one another or when conditions change through no one’s fault.

One way to find solace for your mental agony or frustration is to understand the degree of your own sufferings and difficulties with that experienced by others. You think that everything around you is about to collapse. However, if you try to take a mental stock of things and try to count your blessings, you will find, surprisingly, that you are better off than many others who suffer more. In short, you have been unduly exaggerating your problems. Many others are worse off than you and yet they do not worry unduly.

Another method to reduce your problems is to recapitulate what you have gone through before, under similar or worse circumstances and how you have, through your patience and efforts, been able to surmount your then difficulties. By doing so, you will not permit your existing problems to “drown you”. You should realize that you have gone through worse situations and that you are prepared to face the issue – come what may. With this frame of mind, you will soon regain your self-confidence and will be able to face and resolve whatever problems that are in store for you.

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