WHAT IS LOVE AND WHAT ARE ITS 5 CLICHÉS
The most overused and misunderstood phenomenon is love and all thanks to the clichés that tag along. Lately an immense need to review the concept of love has emerged. In Hinduism, Kalyug is the fourth and final era in the spiritual evolution of man and is the most difficult for the human race as violence and injustice will become prevalent in society. In what is often known as the 'Age of Downfall', I believe Kalyug needs a touch of love too.
Love is one such element of positive psychology that can protect oneself from the violence that is widespread in Kalyug. Love conquers all (cliché no. 1). Love is the strength that cultivates happiness and other positive elements. Love is ensured when we gain a sense of belongingness. Humans thrive for the ‘need to belong’. In Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory too, love and belongingness come as third most important needs in the hierarchy after physiological and safety needs. Well, this need of belongingness has to facilitate the expansion of self and love plays a key role there.
Love enables a rapid (thus immensely pleasurable) transition from the existential isolation of ‘me’ and ‘you’ to the subjective fusion experienced as ‘us’ (Aron & Aron, 1996).
Now, the major platform to widen love is through interpersonal relationships. And not to mention, friendships and love relationships are the best predictors of happiness. Love is a strength of interpersonal nature and so is kindness and forgiveness, those that come along. An established relationship often results in women’s regular ovulation and increased fertility. A stable marriage accounts for children’s better mental health and education. Love does wonders (cliché no.2).
Love is a highly delightful state of being which is quite hard to achieve. Love hurts (cliché no.3). And it does not hurt because it’s hard to look for the right one but mainly because it takes a lot to maintain the initial feelings of love for the one in the midst of developing relationship with passing time.
That brings us to: Love is patient (cliché no. 4).
John Harvey, the author of the book “Minding the close relationship” gave the minding model of relationship development which suggests on how to make love last and grow by identifying five definite gears required for journey of successful relationships:
1. Knowing and being known: Self-disclosure and understanding the partner are important factors of a meaningful relationship. Try to know, question how your partner is feeling, what his /her thoughts on a certain topic are, what are his/her likes/dislikes, or how his/her life has been so far. Once two people are known to each other, they tend to smooth the progress of relationship by helping doing things that his/her partner does not enjoy doing but has to do (like cutting onions because he/she does not enjoys doing that while he/she prepares your favorite cuisine).
2. Attributions: It refers to the explanations you derive of your partner’s actions. If his/her actions and behavior are positive then attribute it to his/her nature or intentions (she is so uptight with her daily routine and hustles because she wants to have a secure future with me). And if the partner’s behavior is negative then try and attribute it to the external factors (she didn’t call me the whole day, probably having a good family time), until and unless the attributions you make are proven to be wrong.
3. Acceptance and respect: Especially when you are in argument. Try to accept what’s done and respect other person’s point of view. If the argument arises out of a specific problem then complaining about it is justifiable but excessive emphasis on the wrongness and criticism is unjust.
4. Reciprocity: It refers to the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefits. It leads to sense of equality in a relationship. And to practice reciprocity, one needs to respect, recognize and appreciate what his/her partner is doing to maintain the healthy relationship and reciprocate in similar manner.
5. Continuity: A serious meaningful relationship keeps on developing despite the changes in society, financial status, and individual personalities or even bigger, life cycles. Minding here is important process that requires time and continuity as it continues with the continuation of love relationship.
Apart from these, intimacy, passion and commitment are three major components of love that strengthens relationship. Also, don’t forget the final cliché ‘action speaks louder than words’ (cliché no. 5).