26 December 2015

Love And its Asymmetrics

"What you should look out for in a healthy relationship":

1) Trust, cooperation and lack of self-doubt.

2) Comfort with intimacy and dependence.

3) Accepting the partner as a fallible human being with his/her own set of strengths and weaknesses.

4) Friendship and mutual exchange of ideas and feelings.

5) Lack of anxiety about relationship.

6) Scaling down unrealistic expectations from the partner.

7) Lastly, be confident of and proud of who you are.
Unless you are in terms with yourself, you can never contribute heartily to a relationship. Few tips kept in mind and you are all set for a healthy (if not a kickass) start to a lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Love!! Well, the mere mention of the word calls forth a burst of positive energy, a plethora of crushes and heartbreaks woven into sweet memories…that girl with the sweetest smile..the childhood heartthrob with rosy, plump cheeks….the homely coziness exuded by the boy next door….even the moon making love with the star-studded sky for that matter…a feeling of freshness overwhelms you..all-pervasive warmth grips you tight as a smile lightens up your face…a smile which shots straight from the heart. No doubt Robert Burn’s outpourings are justified when he rides high on the wings of ecstasy and is proud to declare:”O my luve’s like a red,red rose./That’s newly sprung in June;/O my luve’s like a melodie/That’s sweetly played in tune.”

When I asked my fifteen-year old brother “What’s Love?” the changes in his facial expressions were way too prominent to escape my eye for detail.Nonetheless, he tried to keep it short and terse, and shot back almost instantaneously, “It’s complicated.”When I probed for more, he opened up a bit further and disclosed, “Sharing and Caring.”And the silent exchange of gazes, the wordless conversation which followed told him that I had got what I wanted as an answer.

You see, love being an emotion, has an impermeable aura of subjectivity around it and I would never dare intrude into that, waxing eloquently about what is love and how it is felt and expressed. It would be a rather foolish endeavour on my behalf, because, then, I would pass for a trespasser into your privacy, whom you would be ever ready to prosecute. My sole purpose of writing this article therefore, is to help you, in my own little way, to understand love better so that your satisfaction from a romantic relationship is maximized. Understanding when and how love happens, is a question which intrigues psychologists till date as:

”Love seeketh not Itself to please; /Nor for itself hath any care; /But for another gives its ease, /And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”[The Clod and the Pebble,William Blake]

Is it the spirit of self-sacrifice, the urge to do something good for others or sheer lust and raw eros which causes us to shed our egoistical self and give in?Well, nobody knows what it is. Do shame, guilt and inhibition go down the drain when we are in love? I raise this question because there are many confused souls, racking their brains out there, thinking whether losing their virginity was the “Forbidden Fruit” of their life. Sex is certainly as much a part of love as affection and compassion and Donne makes its crystal clear when he celebrates his mistress’ body, bubbling with sensual energy and giving way to occasional fits of passion:

”Licence my roving hands, and let them go,/Before, behind, between, above and below.”[To his Mistress Going To Bed]

The eroticism in Rich’s “The Floating Poem: Unnumbered” takes a bolder turn, churning out a rhythmic collision between two bodies as it were: " Whatever happens with us, your body/will haunt mine-tender, delicate/your lovemaking…. /the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth….” Pablo Neruda pours in more graphic detail to his erotic love in his sonnet xx( the two xx’s are suggestive enough for someone acquainted with smiley and emoticons and adding another x would have completely sealed the deal):”Ugly: where did you hide your breasts?/They’re meager, two little coops of wheat./I’d much rather see two moons across your chests,/two huge proud towers.”

With poets so divided in their opinions about love, almost bordering on platonic and physical extremes, the compassion-passion conflict is raging in the minds of psychologists with no less intensity. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, affection, attachment and trust, while passionate love is characterized by heightened emotions, sexual attraction and vulnerability coupled with anxiety. To what extent love should be sexual or compassionate is a question best left open to subjective interpretation. Being a student of psychology, I would suggest that a healthy balance between the two is the “spark/chemistry” that works in a relationship.

Not intending to strain my readers with loads of psychological jargon, I would deliberately cut short on the theoretical part of love. But Robert Sternberg’s theory stands indispensable in this regard because it identifies the three major components of love: intimacy, passion and commitment and mixed together in the right proportion, it can ignite the most consummate love affair you can ever dream of. I would dedicate extracts of poems to each of the three concepts so that you can develop a holistic understanding of what I am hinting at.

Intimacy-“And to the leading Love-throb in the Heart, /Thro’ all my Being, thro’ my pulse’s beat; /You lie in all my many Thoughts…” reinforcing the equation:”You +Me =Us”.

Passion-“And looking to the Heaven that bends above you, /How oft! I bless the Lot that made me love you.” which is primarily concerned with aesthetics and appreciation coupled with carnal fantasies.

Commitment-Being rooted to the lover, working for the relationship by setting common goals, which gets intertwined with role expectancies and provides the soil on which the relationship flourishes.”Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,/And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:/I will luve thee still, my Dear, While the sands o’ life shall run.”

These components coexist harmoniously to ignite a sense of fulfillment and purpose, without which any romantic relationship is rendered futile. Due to the spatial constraints set by the editor, many areas under this topic were left unexplored, but if you request the editor for a full-fledged column on this we can all celebrate the day to day nuances of life under one roof and enlighten each other so that we all are well-equipped to deal with life situations more effectively. What say?






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