Approaches to Devloping Loving Relationships
Especially in English, love is a complex and difficult to define term that most of us experience at one time or another. Love can refer to pleasure (I love chocolate) or personal attraction (I love Sarah). But at its root, love is a virtue that represents all of human kindness, compassion, and affection.
Although love is often compared in complexity to empathy, or the power to react emotionally to the experiences of another person with no possible reciprocation of those emotions, empathy is hundreds of orders more complex and mysterious than love, especially in regards to personal development.
Developing Loving Relationships
Many psychologists refer to love as having three distinct forms, although your version of love may be drastically different based on a variety of independent factors. Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed the triangular theory of love, which argued that love is composed of three different entities: passion, commitment, and intimacy. Each of these intimacies represents a stronger form of love, beginning with intimacy.
Intimacy: You likely have intimacy with most of your friends or close connections. Intimacy results when two people are willing to share details of their personal lives, perhaps confidential information that they hope is kept secret. There is a beginning of trust in the relationship and you're likely interested in learning more about your friend or romantic interest.
Commitment: Commitment strengthens the bonds of intimacy but with the expectation that the bonds are more permanent in nature, not necessarily through something like marriage, but certainly through a more defined and public relationship. Sometimes these commitments occur naturally, over time. Other times, they may be arrived at through the desire of one or both people (Would you like to be my girlfriend, in rather blunt terms).
Passion: Passion is the strongest form of love, or a feeling that you have a bond so strong with a person that no other person could potentially enjoy such feelings from you. Passion is essential in romantic love as well as infatuation.
It's important to understand that there are different types of love that can take form using variations (or absence) of any of these components. For example, empty love could be a commitment only, as in an unhappy marriage forced by circumstances.
Recognizing Loving Relationships
You might be resistant to love for fear that it will compromise you in some way, or are unable to trust anyone enough to feel true love. For example, if you are afraid that love will interfere with your ambitions, desires, intentions, and purposes, love can be a dangerous sounding state of mind. You might have experienced a difficult end to a relationship that makes it difficult to love again. Regardless, it's important to understand that love, in any of its forms, is a natural emotion that we all must experience to truly develop as humans.
Love is a powerful emotion that can release creativity, answer difficult questions, and increase wisdom with more experience. Have the courage to allow love to flow through you. Only that courage will lead you to the freedom and feelings of wholeness that only true love can provide. As you form connections with those around you, you'll find life purpose, self-fulfillment, and inner peace as wonderful side effects.
Love is such an integral part of personal development that most LifePath Unlimited products touch on love at some point during the training courses. Once you've discovered what the various levels of love can do for your life, it's much easier to recognize ways to improve your self and get more out of your relationships.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the role love plays in your life and relationships, or if you want to know more about how to experience more love in your life.