Love is not a feeling. Feelings change constantly. My understanding of the inherent changeability of feelings has led me to utter the phrase “this too shall pass” when dealing with difficult feelings more times than I can count. This is where many people get confused and struggle in their attempt to find love. Feeling a certain way about a person is never going to suffice when trying to identify love.
Love is an emotion. Emotions are not the same as feelings and the primary difference can be gleaned from examining the word “emotion”. It connotes movement. Fluidity. Evolution. Emotions become part of you, but feelings come and go.
Understanding this difference can be simplified further by comparing what it would mean for someone to say “I feel love for you” versus “I love you”. These phrases are indeed very different. The latter implies ownership. Not of the other person, but of the individual’s state of being. The person saying “I love you” is making a statement that within themselves they have taken ownership of the magnitude of what the relationship with other person means to them, and they are ready to deal with the external ramifications of that. The main point of controversy in all of this however, is what happens next?
Let’s say both parties declare love for each other and enthusiastically look forward to dealing with the external ramifications. Why then will they inevitably still have so much trouble maintaining their relationship?
The reasons are many, but I will touch on one that I believe is often at the heart of all of the other reasons: ego. Check my previous post.
The most obvious manifestation of this that erodes the best of relationships is trying to get the other person to adhere to a script that proves their love and devotion. When the feelings of lust and euphoria wear off in relationships, domestication often begins to take various forms of demanding acts of compliance from the other person. Lack of compliance brings out the ego monster.
Compliance from the other person is proof that they are still under your control. Even the most passive aggressive requests for compliance can have a hint of the ego monster ready to pounce. Couples who are bickering are epitomizing this with their every breath. Someone has to be “right” and someone has to be “wrong”. Someone must acquiesce to the other person’s need to secure their ego’s need to feel in control, but when both egos need the same thing, you get. Absolutely. Nowhere. The ego is the love killer.
Love demands that you work on yourself. Stop trying to work on the other person. Work on yourself. Next time you’re arguing with someone you claim to love ask yourself, “Is this argument really important to me, or am I just trying to win?” The ego monster wants you to…no needs you to win. That need can quite literally be deadly. It can kill a person, it can kill dreams, and it can kill love.