6. The Case for True Love
The Case for True Love
I am in my 30’s now, and throughout my dating life, I have discovered that true love does not come by often. If all you are looking for is a good looking person, it is actually not that hard to find. However, we all know that that kind of love is called attraction, and it will need something extra to be classified as true love.
As humans, we have a deep desire to be loved for our authenticity and to give love genuinely. We have all been loved. But one-way love does not work, because the desire to give genuine love is also as strong as the desire to receive. The ultimate motive and reason for doing everything we humans do, is to find and to grow in the depth of true love in different areas of our lives.
Are we capable of loving the way true love does? Is this problem of finding true love a macro problem - does our MZ generation find it especially tough to do this thing called true love? - or micro - you and/or them? Is true love nowadays only found in a parent-child relationship?
Looking at my dating life, the people I could muster up (?) feelings for often had a commonality, which was that they signified the next 5 years that I was to walk into, whether it be similar interests or industries. Well, it is necessary to have some sort of common ground to get anything started. They had many stories that were interesting to me at that time, and I found it really fun talking to them. Fortunately, they also found it fun talking to me as well.
I kind of thought the attraction I had for them was respect. While it is true, and while we had mutual interest, this sort of attraction was a form of self-love, seeing myself in them and loving the me in them. At times I felt like I was being a girl to them and not a woman which I wanted as an equal partner in the relationship. If the relationship did not work out, I felt like my own future self said “No, not yet” to the current me. Naturally, it was a blow to me for introspective reasons.
I also tried being unselfish and dated someone that I could freely give to. This also had its drawbacks, because I felt depleted. I was not loving myself and felt empty, which led me to form a principle I now hold dearly: Love your neighbor as yourself. Giving them more love than I gave myself made my feelings for that person disappear. With all the romance taken out of the relationship, I started viewing the relationship as more as a friendship all too soon.
Now I am in a phase where I am ok with having someone who is on a different path than mine, with their own authentic walk in life. I try to grasp what he is made of sooner rather than later. What is he born to be and what does that tell me about his identity and path of life? Are we the right people to walk that journey together?
This is hard to figure out if you don’t know your own path in life or don’t have an awareness about which point you are at in your life. How will you see someone else’s makeup when you don’t have a clear idea about your own life assignment and personality to carry it through? If you know the purpose for your life, you also know what kind of character you need to grow into in order to live it out. Then you can keep a humble attitude. Since the kind of love I wanted to ultimately share was bigger than the love I was giving myself, I decided to go on a journey to expand the love I have for myself first.
While I don’t have all the answers, after about 8 years of conscious experimenting, I have learned a thing or two, which I will share below in the hopes that my quest for true love will empower you. I hope that our MZ generation will be called a generation that awakened to the call of true love, never gave up on finding it even though it is challenging at times, and better yet, encouraged each other to continue pursuing the higher road as opposed to instant love.
The more people experience true love, the more families will be healed, and the broader society will be better off as a whole. I believe that the best kind of legacy for our generation to leave is the legacy of true love.
- What were some of the examples of loving myself?
I discovered that I spent time for others before I spent time doing what I liked, and I decided to allocate time to myself first. I had been a manager for a dry cleaning business, and as my contract came to an end, I sold my inventory; instead of going back to a full-time job right away, I worked out for 6 hours a day.
A 6 hour workout day went like this:
- 2 hours of swimming
- 1 hour of home training
- 2 hours of bike riding
- Another hour attending a dance class
It spanned from morning to night. After two months I decided not to maintain it at exactly 6 hours, but I still continued to exercise pretty aggressively. This period lasted for about 6 months, from March 1, 2016 to September 2016. After this, I experienced a new high in my physical prowess and stamina! If I had a cut in my body somewhere, it would have been healed super fast! My face glowed from having great blood circulation. I am not recommending 6 workout hours per day to everyone, but this was my own way of doing what I liked and a lot of it.
I also created some rules: do not compare yourself with others. Do not covet others’ abilities or lives. What I am born with and have is enough to work with for me. There are many different experiences that I had that others did not have, and I feel lucky to have them! The same goes for them. I also told myself I was not allowed to beat myself up for taking a leap of faith, even if I did not get the results I expected.
- What were the findings of that experiment?
This loving myself project, with the ultimate goal of expanding my scope for loving others, was a longer term project than I thought. It is not a 3 month fad diet, but rather a lifelong lifestyle. This change led me to make some real life adjustments, such as making sure I put aside time for work that I love doing for the pure sake of the work itself. In fact, I continue to redefine the meaning of work. I never really accepted the broadly accepted definition of work - exchanging time for money - and I wanted to come up with a better definition. So loving myself had a real impact on how I see work and the value of work.
Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
- “On Work” by Kahlil Gibran
The basis of dating is that you can’t force yourself to like someone; and you can’t force someone to like you. But there is something we can all do: with time, you can learn more about one another, and almost always, perception of the other person evolves. Even if I did not understand someone at the time, I either grew to see their perspective, or they got to see more dimensions of me. And the changed perception sometimes is a great basis for a long term friendship, which all relationships based on true love eventually become.
- What are some obstacles in finding true love?
It is hard to love someone else when you are suffering yourself. Heal yourself first; try simple activities that are mentioned in my blog article The Origin of Things. In the article, I have described some ways to get out of a perpetual cycle of unfruitfulness. If you feel like you have been robbed of justice and have bitterness in your heart, please read A New Era: The Administration of Justice through Forgiveness.
Strongholds also really affect’s someone’s ability to see others, to love and to be loved. Strongholds are strong dispositions that you hold as a result of having false beliefs about people and yourself, habits and addictions, ignorance and unforgiveness, wrong goals or values, or even a lack of purpose. They cause you to keep running away from certain situations and people with certain traits, but you must deal with the underlying issue in order to mature.
Think of a hedgehog. I may indeed be a cute hedgehog, but if I have spikes on me, they can keep me from someone else loving me. Being aware of my spikes is the first step towards receiving love. If you have dangerous habits or have bitterness, unforgiveness or hardness in your heart towards a close family member, your partner will wonder when you will project that bitterness onto them. You can do something about it; all you have to do is to remove those spikes. Perhaps think about what may quality as strongholds in your life.
- What are some things that helped me move forward in my quest for true love?
When ending each relationship, analyzing why it came to an end really helped me learn. Dating in a sense is a great mirror, where you can voluntarily subject yourself to a myriad of states such as joy, disappointment, happiness and anger.
I analyzed why I was having these thoughts and emotions and what kind of needs I was projecting onto the other person. Out of these needs, what should I be fulfilling yourself? What should I ask the other person to continue to do in order to keep the flame alive? The choice was up to us each and every single day; to be or not to be.
Another thing that really helped me was doing things that were important and urgent, which I will elaborate. Often when I had ideas for friends, I was busy messaging them and talking to them as the ideas came up. But I now put a reminder in my calendar, then contact them once I have finished tasks that I am to do in the “Important and Not Urgent” category for myself.
[The Eisenhower Decision Matrix]
You might have seen this matrix already; it breaks down tasks into four different quadrants that are measured by importance and urgency. You will naturally always be doing “Urgent and Important” tasks, and you will almost always want to avoid tasks that are “Not Important and Not Urgent”.
Being able to spend time on things that fall in the “Important but Not Urgent” category was truly satisfying! If you are only spending time in the “Important and Urgent” category, you might feel like you are just living to work and to pay for your bills. Life becomes meaningless pretty quickly.
To experience a stable level of happiness in the long term in the relationship with yourself and others, you can systemize the process of ensuring future happiness by regularly spending time in the “Important but Not Urgent” category. And I have classified doing that kind of work as something I should fulfill for myself rather than expecting someone else to fulfil for me.
In conclusion: Why do you want to burn?
The more you understand yourself, the more you can understand others. You can discover a lot about your own personal walk in life by looking at your dating life.
Why do you like who you are dating?
Do you view yourself as valuable? What do you see as valuable about the other person?
Do you see yourself as authentic? What is authentic about that person?
Are you ready to accept everything that comes your way, while pursuing your own authentic path? Are you ready to accept everything that comes their way, while they pursue their authentic path?
If you said yes to all the questions above, I believe you are on a better track to accept each other for who you are rather than letting circumstances affect your relationship. Again, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I have shared what has helped me keep a healthy view and attitude towards dating and friendships.
You can only offer as much kindness to others as you give myself. If you offer more kindness to others than you give yourself, it leads to a burnout and a grudge. If you give too much kindness to yourself but are harsh to others, that makes you a stingy person, and nobody likes Mr. Scrooge!
We are a company that is into all things that are new and efficient. However, when it comes to true classic human values, we believe it is important to hold onto the old fashioned standard, whether it is efficient or not. Keep the methods efficient and the values classy!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Are you giving yourself this kind of love first before setting out to love others?
Why do you want to burn?
We long to be known as a generation that finds their ‘why’ in true love.
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