To Love is Not to Own Another Person
“Throughout my whole life I’ve understood love to be a kind of consented slavery. That’s a lie: only freedom exists when love is present. He who gives himself fully, who feels free, loves his neighbor. And he who loves fully, feels free.
For that reason, in spite of everything I could live through, do, or discover, none of it matters. In love, nobody can crush anybody else, every one of us is responsible for what we feel, and we can’t blame anyone else for it.
I felt hurt when I lost women that I was in love with. Now, I am convinced that nobody can lose anyone, because nobody owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world, without owning it…”
Eleven Minutes – Paulo Coelho
They key to evolving as a couple and as a person is to stop trying to own people, and to love freely and without excessive attachment. If we understand love as an eternal succession of concessions, sacrifice, and struggle against oneself for the good of the relationship, it can be deadly.
Love is not found in the other person, it’s within ourselves
“The great human objective is to understand true love. Love is not in the other person, it lies within ourselves; it awakens us. But in order to be awoken, we need the other person. The universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our emotions with.”
Eleven Minutes – Paulo Coelho
It’s precisely here that most of us go astray. We look for someone to complement our faults and insecurities without realizing that our only salvation is already inside ourselves.
We put the weight of our lives on other people’s shoulders, making them responsible for our successes and our failures, and most of all for our emotions. This leaves us empty inside, without pride or personal satisfaction; at the same time, unfortunately, we destroy any seed of healthy love that we could have been sowing.
And so our dependence grows and grows, undoing the authenticity and emotional identity that we should have created within ourselves.
We don’t realize that if we remove the bandages and patches that cover our wounds, we can create a deep and sincere bond with ourselves and with the person we love.
Let’s stop making excuses! Love and relationships begin, always and without exception, within ourselves. If we fertilize this patch of land, we’ll spread that freshness to the rest of the field. And so we’ll see ourselves grow instead of wither away and die.
Withdraw from passion, or pursue it blindly?
Nobody likes to mess up the order of their world. There are people whose passion makes them uncomfortable because they’re afraid to uproot their home and destroy everything they worked so hard to create.
In fact, most people live with broken relationships and bad habits simply because they’re afraid of change. They live by the popular saying, “a known evil is better than an unknown good.” This serves as a dogma, an unbreakable law, a guide for their lives.
However, there are also people who indulge in their passion without even thinking, hoping that the initial impulse of inertia will solve all of their problems. These people put all responsibility over their happiness (and possible unhappiness) on other people. For this reason, they will always be euphoric because something wonderful has happened to them, or depressed because something has destroyed them.
What is the correct attitude to have? Neither in their extreme forms. As long as we act with restraint and responsibility, whatever we do will bring hope and joy into our lives. Only in this way can we love truly and freely.
Images from AJCass