Is This Love? How Can You Know?
Ohhh... love! It's what we all seek. Even those who already have it are continually seeking ways to keep it. But what is love, really? How can we know that what we're feeling is not infatuation? What's the difference?
If you are currently in a relationship or if you hope to be in one, this is a very important question. Distinguishing this difference can be very challenging since we can't see love, we can't weigh or measure it to see how great or small it is. And if you are highly psychic, making the distinction can be even more challenging because you may naturally feel as though you "know" the person. But if we want to have happy, healthy relationships, we need to identify our feelings accurately.
Infatuation is like a drug, or a form of madness. You are taken over by a whirlwind, you are consumed by thoughts of the other person and nothing else matters. Your life suddenly revolves around this person and you want to spend every waking moment with him or her. You are in a dream, dizzy with bliss. True love, on the other hand, is more a sense of friendship and respect.
The surest way to distinguish love from infatuation is to give your relationship the test of time. But while you are waiting for time to tell, there are things you can watch for. Here are 10 questions that can help you evaluate your feelings:
1. Can you be open and honest with your partner without fear of rejection? Are you able to be yourself? Or do you hide your weaknesses and try only to show your strengths? When you truly love another, you don't concern yourself with impressing your beloved. Rather, you are more interested in serving your lover and you know that is easier to do when you are honest.
2. Can you accept the ways in which your partner is different from you? Infatuation is self-centered, thinking primarily of how the other person makes you feel. With infatuation, you see the other person through "rose-colored glasses." But real love is rooted in reality and acknowledges the imperfections of another without judgment. It has a deep respect for the other's individuality. When you truly love another, you want to know what makes that person tick, why they do what they do, why they think what they think. With love, faults and weaknesses of the other person are recognized and accepted.
3. Are you able and willing to discuss your differences with your partner? If you are your own person with your own thoughts, you will experience differences. Can you communicate about your disagreements lovingly? Can you "fight fair?" Love can step out of its comfort zone in order to address the differences in a relationship without harming it. Some of us have been taught that if you love someone you'll never disagree, never be angry or argue. Real love encompasses all the emotions. The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. And it's possible to be angry with, and even hate someone that you love. A healthy love relationship will allow you to express anger.
4. Do you care about the other person's, dreams goals and plans? Do you desire his or her success? To love is to be actively involved with a person's spiritual purpose. It is the choice to give support, nurturing and encouragement to your beloved's spiritual growth and attainment. Real love seeks what is best for others and makes us want to encourage them to grow. It considers the other person's happiness and well-being. With true love, your partner's well-being is just as important to you as your own and you take actions to nurture that sense of well-being.
5. Can you see yourself going through the mundane motions of life and growing old with your partner? Infatuation is attraction, admiration, adoration... and is mainly based on physical, or chemical connection, while real love is based on spiritual connection - a common spiritual understanding and shared purpose. It wouldn't matter if your lover lost a leg, gained 300 lbs. or got burned in a fire. With true love, you are attracted to much more than just the physical. You are attracted to the soul of the person. You want to see into your beloved's heart as much as you want to touch him or her physically.
6. Do you feel good about yourself without your partner's validation? Infatuation depends on others for validation. When you truly love someone, you have a genuine sense of security, confidence, self-reliance and self-respect. Life is complete with or without your beloved. You're aware that you and your partner have different gifts. You approve of yourself just as much as you approve of your partner. You take responsibility for your own life and you allow your partner to take responsibility for his or her own life. You can feel complete without your partner.
7. Are you able to give as well as receive? True love makes giving of yourself to the other person as easy and as fulfilling as getting something back. The relationship is much more than what you are getting out of it. The give and take are shared. Infatuation is want, need, but real love is abundant and fulfilling. When we are fulfilled, we find it easy to give. We can give even as we are receiving, by utilizing what the other has to offer for our own spiritual growth. This is a most powerful form of giving for it gives meaning to the other person's gifts.
8. Do you have a life of your own? With real love, you don't live for the other person completely. You still have your own direction in life. You're not afraid to "take your space" or to give some to your partner. You allow enough space to let the winds of heaven dance between you. Other relationships, activities and interests continue to be important to you. You see the goodness in all people, not just your partner. Time and space can't separate you. It's impossible to feel unfulfilled when you are truly in love because you can always feel your beloved's presence, therein lies the fulfillment.
9. How would you feel if your love was unrequited? Could you love the other person enough to respect his or her choices, even if those choices exclude you? Real love needs nothing in order to live. It is not dependent on being loved in return. With true love, you are more focused on the "now moments" of the relationship than on the future or outcome of it. Whether or not your love is returned is of no consequence when you truly love another. You may feel sad if your beloved doesn't love you back, but it won't stop you from loving.
10. Does your love endure? If love is true, the relationship will remain strong under the strains of life. The relationship is more than just joy and happiness. You can cry together, suffer together and even be angry together. But whatever your experience, the love will always remain. It is eternal. Infatuation will either develop into true love or it will die.
If after reading this you've discovered that you are infatuated and not really in love, take heart! Real love doesn't try to force a relationship to grow. It respects its natural pace. But you can greatly increase your relationship's chances of moving to the next level by learning what people in true love do and following that example.