If impoverished love, romantic love and teamwork love are relationships, accepting love is a conscious choice and an attitude of mind.
One of the main achievements during the accepting love stage is that a person can identify and meet their own personal, emotional, resources and services needs.
This does not mean that they become isolated from people, rather it means that they are able to have inter dependent relationships with others based on their wants rather than their needs.
It involves striving towards self-completion rather than completion through another person. As Neil Strauss says in his book, The Truth:-
‘Love is not about finding the right person. It’s about becoming the right person’
This can be achieved in the context of teamwork love or on your own outside of a love relationship. To quote the mistress in Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress she says:
A mistress ‘is made to be a realist; that is to say to realize herself. It is one of the richest blessings life can bestow.’
‘Some intellectual mastery is fundamental to personality and it is at least difficult to love a non-person’
‘In the nature of things, we meet and marry long before we are full-scale entities but that is not excuse for staying incomplete. We love most those who make us fulfill whatever greatness lies in us, not those who induce us to resign it.
These sentiments are also echoed by Michael Foley in The Age of Absurdity, when he writes:-
‘A couple will grow together more surely if each encourages the other to grow separately – and the paradox is that in mature love, detachment encourages attachment.
And by Robert A Johnson in ‘We – Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love when he says:
Each man must learn to relate to external people and situations. But it is equally important, and even more urgent, that he learn to relate to his own self. Until he learns to confront the motives, desires, and unlived possibilities of his own secret heart, he can never be complete within or genuinely fulfilled. The power within which constantly urges us to experience our unlived possibilities and values, is the most awesome force in human life.
Accepting love is characterised by acceptance of self. It is a recognition, that we are all a blend of positive and negative, light and dark. In fact we are potentially all elements of the Psychological Bingo Board and more. This acceptance is propelled by the drive towards integration that we have inside of us.
In the process of learning to accept and love yourself you will also learn to love and accept others.
I am not going to spend a lot of time on this stage of love here because accepting love is crucial to achieving happiness for yourself and others and they are a vital underpinning set of skills to achieving an evolving love relationship. The Handbook section of this book, will specifically address how to learn to accept and love yourself and in the process be able to create an evolving and loving relationship with a partner.
I will also return to this theme of learning how to love after I have talked about more of the theories of love.
However I want to make a comment that when working through the ideas in the handbook with my friend Veronica, people started to notice and comment on the change they had seen in me. When I asked them what difference they had experienced or observed it all amounted to the same thing – they said ‘you are just easier to be with’.
Interestingly this difference was also reflected in how Neil Strauss had changed according to his girlfriend after he had undergone significant personal development. She said:-
It’s just incredible how different you are now…You’re much more calm and mature and patient and understanding. Sometimes I’m waiting for you to get upset and annoyed and it doesn’t come. It’s magical. You spun your little cocoon and you transformed. Even your eyes are different. I can see your heart through them.
This reflection made me realise that sometimes the difference between ‘not being easy to be with’ and ‘being easy to be with’ just involves some very subtle changes, which enable the other person to feel more comfortable. I would guess that the healing of old wounds and learning new skills are the keys to these transformations.
So in addition to becoming ‘easier to be with’ the Handbook will enable you to:
- ‘Un-decide’ some choices you have made about yourself and how you should be
- Gain a clear sense of the core values, which drive your behaviour.
- Heal unresolved emotional wounds
- Modify your beliefs about yourself and others
- Alter behaviours, which are counter productive
- Increase your range of positive behaviours
As I have mentioned before these developments can be achieved outside of a relationship or inside a relationship
Just to get you started on thinking about yourself and who you are:-
- What would an evolving, creative, adventure filled life look like for you ?
- What would an evolving, creative, adventure filled relationship look like?
In my next blog I will take a look at what an evolving love relationship would look like when two people are committed to developing themselves as individuals, allowing their partner to develop themselves too and to being part of an evolving and developing relationship.
With thanks to Jo Grant for permission to use her photographs in this blog
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