Keeping Love Alive

An all-time favorite movie about a screenwriter who falls in love with a famous bachelor, it’s one of the few movies that I can’t resist watching. There is an excitement and hope that even through the ups and downs of their relationship, in the end, I hope that they will be together. That’s what love is about. Getting through the ups and downs of life and through it all, we remain together. At least this is what I’ve told myself so many times, but the truth feels that we have forgotten about real love and replaced it with the fantasy of being in love. Are we just pushing love away, or is that we have fallen out of the idea of being in love?

There is truth in how often people push love away. We reject love by withholding our emotions and pull back. Perhaps it’s the fear of being hurt or the fear of getting to close. As people get closer to each other in a relationship, they have a tendency to reach a point where they get scared and pull back. We create distance and start withholding the qualities that bring value to ourselves. The process is often unconscious and can happen unintentionally, but the effects can be lasting ones. We resent the things that we use to love in the people around us, and our internal defense system that cuts off our feelings.

Past experiences and hurts can bring about self-protection, but instead, it serves to limit our lives and our relationships. Think about the last time that you felt feelings for a person and suddenly warning lights to flash before us. It’s the thinking that tells us that “this is moving too fast.” It’s what puts the brakes on our feelings. It’s the thinking that “I’m going to get hurt” that brings us to step away from something or someone that could make us happy.

When we act on defenses, we convince ourselves that we really don’t care much at all about the relationship. We can become cold inside and find a million excuses for why we shouldn’t interact with someone, and at different degrees, we stop having feelings for them. We stop giving any importance to our emotions and instead turn to criticism. We give off only the negative and distort the other person’s love or feelings. This is the downward cycle for how we reject love and to be loved, and instead, we enter a fantasy bond. We forgo love for the fantasy of being in love. We resist the temptation of becoming a “we” and become a “you and me.” We become connected and avoid making a connection with another person.

We can free ourselves to what is meant to be. We can free ourselves to the types of reactions to being in love by making sense of them and not giving power to them to the point that it affects the way that we behave. We can make the choice to engage in being in love by allowing ourselves to find love and to stay there, both as a priority and keeping it alive and well in our lives.

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