When Love Fails

Love. What is love? Is it just a choice we make to insulate our emotions from less desirable feelings? Do we love others or is love something we have for our self that we in turn share with others? It is very personal and I expect that no one can love another without first loving their self. We may be part of a community that helps us to love our self and we may truly regard another person, so affectionately, that we are in love. People who love must love themselves if there is to be any love for others.

There are many expressions of love. Love of family and friends, of people in general, of life, of different things and activities, and no discussion of love is complete without the illusive complication that is romantic love.

Let us look at romantic love. Different cultures approach it differently and have different considerations. Across all cultures, I think our hopes and aspirations concerning love, are largely the same and this is true for romance. Certainly love is fraught with failure. It only takes one participant to ruin a marriage and family. Those who are innocent bystanders in such a failure are left to make the best of it and often the salvage falls to one person who steps up to carry the load. This of course is the case when children are involved and a marriage has become poisonous. In such a situation one person can be the difference while the other is so toxic as to threaten everyone’s welfare. Of course both parents in a failed marriage can be supportive and work for the good of the family. That is so easy, so obvious and simple but it is rarely the case. Often neither parent consider the best path forward.

Love is very personal and romantic love is as personal as we get. When a loved one uses this intimacy to harm their partner the violation is durable. Such a person does not love their self or they would not do such a thing. I think, the cause of this sort of dysfunction is often due to misplaced worth. Many people think it is someone else’s responsibility to make them happy. When this type is not happy, they blame the person they have charged with the task, of their happiness, for the failure.

When love fails badly where can a person turn for the resolve to do and build what seems best? It is important not to treat a toxic ex in kind, especially while the marriage is coming apart and then while raising children in the aftermath. There is something that is not love, it is similar but it is not fragile and it has a strength that is inexhaustible; compassion. Compassion is indifferent. It makes no judgement of worth. It is enough. We can choose not to make our self available to it but it is always available. There is no weight greater than it and it can not break. It can not have, and knows, no favorite. Its measure is the same no matter what, it is boundless. We choose it and it is there.

Compassion is an absolute because of its qualities or at least its qualities demonstrate its absolute nature. I consider absolutes touchstones for whatever God might be. It would be a failure to define God and so I am comfortable with whatever God might be and when I consider God I do so by observation of the absolutes; compassion, truth and understanding. When we define God we simply create God in our own image and we all know how troublesome that has been. I have no concern for what God might think of me, if God can even do such, and instead, I strive to do what is best. I do not care about being right or wrong. I see right and wrong as the two sides of the same worthless coin whose purchase has no value. In doing what is best it is not possible to be wrong and there is no need to be right.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

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