How do you insulate yourself from getting hurt when you open up your heart to somebody and admit (even to yourself) that you love them? You don’t.
Loving someone (need not necessarily be romantic love, it can be love for a child, a friend, a sibling, a mate, a partner) is like telling them “I trust you completely and fully. I expect you to be around when things are rough for me. I want you to hold my hand and be there for me. Please do not let me down.” It is opening up your most vulnerable inner self to them, giving them fully the power to destroy you, but knowing that they will not.
Loving someone always comes with expectations. Elizabeth Stone had said
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
You can strike out the words ‘have a child’ and replace it with ‘to love someone’. The quote would still hold true.
When the loved one, the object of our affections ,does not react the way we expect them to, we feel deeply hurt. It is almost as if we’re saying “How can you do this to me?! I gave you my heart.” We feel upset, abandoned, lost, let down.
Most spiritual Gurus advise us to practise detachment when it comes to love. They tell us not to have expectations. But I do think one has to be either a Mother Teresa or a Buddha to love without having any expectations. I think it is only human to expect love to be reciprocated, to expect people to be around, to expect a hundred little things from the ones you love.
If love causes so much hurt, so much pain, why love at all? Why not live a life, detached from everyone, with a tight barbed fence around your heart, so that you let no-one in? The answer on contemplation becomes clear. The joy love brings, the hope it fuels, the feeling it reinforces that you can do anything really and the heights you reach when your loved ones push you on, is something truly incomparable to any feeling in the world.
Close your eyes and think of someone you truly love. The very thoughts fill you with joy, happiness, and pure delight. (And if you cannot have them by your side anymore, it is deep sorrow in equal measure that one feels).
Loving someone is giving away control of a small part of your life to them. Your happiness is in their hands. How terrifying it is! Yet how heady! No surprise then that hundreds of writers, artists, poets have written reams and reams on this topic. It is eternal. It is always fresh. And everybody loves a love-story.
Love—one truly cannot escape it. Everyone succumbs to it, at one point or the other, in their life. It is only human to.
When you love someone, you hand over the reins of your life to them.
And you hope like hell, they will not let go.
© 2011 Preeti Shenoy