15 Aug 2013

Inspire Aspire - Be True to Romance

As I set about the ambitious subject of love relationships and romance for this article, I literally felt a pain in my heart, as I was trying to figure out how best to approach the subject. So I decided I would start off by dedicating this post to L-O-V-E as I mean it: true, unequivocal, uncomplicated, unadulterated love, the kind of love I do believe in. That's the kind of love that needs to be earned and worked upon, and in just a few pointers I'm going to show you why and how.

Photo by Jana Williams Photography, via Style Me Pretty

I do feel flattered that friends come up to me for advice and guidance regarding all things heart-related. I have become an agony aunt of sorts and I should be none the wiser to follow the clarity of advice I give out, but this of course is a different matter. But there is one thing I preach time and time again to the broken-hearted or disillusioned in love: choose honesty, and stay true to yourself, true to the other party, true to love, true to romance, and you cannot - and will not - go wrong.

You see, I just get confused when friends come up to me with their knickers in a twist so to speak, telling me about how being "friends with benefits" with so-and-so resulted in it going horribly wrong. Or how that gurl/ guy whom they "led on" without reciprocating the sincerity of their feelings has now somehow backfired on them and dented their ego! Man, who are you kidding? Of course someone is going to get hurt in those shady free love arrangements and half-baked sentimental trips, because as much as we know the old adage of "there isn't such a thing as a free meal", the same applies to free love.

Love comes with unspoken boundaries and secret expectations while giving out that grand illusion of freedom... Because the friends with benefits combo carries hidden agendas, and stirs the dark corners of human psychology into stratagems: "We're just together for now cos it's convenient", "I'll stay with him until I find The One", "She will do for the time being and she knows about it", "I just couldn't stay on my own", "He's only a sex partner to me", "I don't love her, I don't even care that much about her anyway", "If he left me tomorrow, I wouldn't bat an eyelid", etc. Huh, what kinda vibe are you sending off to the universe?

'Into the Wild' (2007), feat. Emile Hirsch (pict source)

Now I fully understand that this carefree attitude towards love is sadly a by-product of the throwaway culture we live in, a culture of instant results at any cost: self-gratification, instant pleasure, self-indulgence, where people try to find satisfaction in the moment. Where we have no time to wait, no inclination to see a relationship slowly develop, where we want something without putting much effort into it, and we want it now. No compromise. Friends with benefits implies you have sex and a cuddle with your mate, in that second-best/ something-better-than-nothing mindframe, and no guarantee of love and stability and growth of feeling, because from the moment it starts, any prospect of the relationship evolving is stunted. It is biased and conditional.

However with honesty of heart comes truth of feeling and a chance for a relationship to develop. If there is no relationship in sight, how about learn to (re-)discover who you truly are, and learn to fall in love with yourself? For you cannot expect someone to fall in love with you or you fall in love with them, if you don't love yourself first and foremost. This is the most basic rule that defines success in relationships, and something that the likes of Louise Hay have been drumming into the collective psyche for the last few decades.

Via Pinterest

So then, do yourself a favour and ditch the toxic duos and half-hearted pairings, and take time out of the dating game. Enjoy quality time with yourself, and why not overhaul your whole life: are you happy in your current job, in your town/ village etc? How can you improve certain areas of your life? How about take up a course, how about exploring the possibilities of a gap year? Cultivate happiness, don't make it dependent upon another.

On a more practical level, enjoy and embrace celibacy for a while. Oh and yes I do have first-hand experience of it and there is no shame to be had. This lifestyle choice will give you self-respect, clarity of thought and inner-strength and it will keep you focused on other areas of your life. I don't believe in second bests and subterfuges and alternatives and faking it as far as love is concerned. I just come from a pure heart. Call me naive, old-fashioned and a hopeless romantic, but true love can only be borne out of truth. True love needs solid foundations to thrive. As much as we have the Slow Food movement, how about Slow Love?

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