We thrive more on in-logical desires, then on well considers choices. The philosopher Plato already said it; fantasy land is (for us) more real than the actual physical experience. If this was’t true, we would not have novels, computer games, erotica, dreams for a better life and even religion. We wouldn’t talk about self image, depression, hope and love. We would be driven by our animal instinct instead, stupid for reason and unable to reach out for others.
The biggest part of our ability to love is actually a psychological process. We have triggers and motivations to engage in certain behaviors, which have as goal to fulfill or express certain emotions. Love can be uplifting, but it can also be a destructive force when deprived of it. We can be proud, but we can also be ashamed by certain behaviors in order to gain being loved, a wish or desire we want to fulfill over and over again.
Paradox of desire
The action based theory of desire says, that: “Desiring is a state of mind that is commonly associated with a number of different effects: a person with a desire tends to act in certain ways, feel in certain ways, and think in certain ways. If Nora desires tea, for example, then Nora will typically make herself a cup of tea; if she does not get herself some tea right away she will nonetheless typically feel the urge to do so; she will find the thought of tea pleasant and will find her current lack of tea unpleasant; she will find her thoughts repeatedly turning to the idea of tea; she will judge that tea seems like a good idea and so on.” — Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
There are desires for pleasure and desires of the avoidance of pain. This is the emotional desire. Most of our actions stems from this, we give them a pass by rationalizing it or disregard and suppress it on disapproval. We also have idealistic desires (a wish), that is we do not feel an emotional urge or need to do so, but is mere intellectual, this is what intellectual desire is. Emotional and intellectual desires are inflicted by our thought process. What we desire is largely influenced by personal history, culture/religion, personality and biological make up. We should not resist desires; it will be stronger, since it builds up tension. We should reframe our desires instead.
“In fact, it’s healthier to allow oneself to experience these feelings and then let them go.
When you suppress these feelings, you give them power over you, you let them dictate your behavior for you (suppression) rather than dictating your behavior for yourself (feeling them and yet choosing not to do anything).” — Mark Manson
My definition of a (true and sustainable) desire is a connection with people with whom you feel a compassion or trigger for the things that resonates in you of the other. A desire that is sustainable is a fulfilling desire and needs to be nurtured. This desire is like a flow of motivational inspirational thoughts full of positive emotional reactions for wishing “seeing” more of it from that person or situation. This means you focus on the desirable qualities of that person. When we are in true connection with an other person we feel an expansion that is beyond our imagination. Our world grows exponentially. Our feeling of fulfillment, of belonging, is incredible strong. These kind of connections even helps overcome the toughest times.
This desire is a desire for growth, inspiration and creative expression. Sustainable desire is not waiting to be fulfilled, grabbing for things you do not own. An egocentric mind thinks that way, but an honest curious mind is warm and open to learn, to experience and to grow.
The problem lies in that we fool ourselves by believing that the only reality is outside of us. That’s an outward focus. We have this body conscious mindset. That is, we accept and focus on our life only through our five senses, we will become someone who’s desires are objectified. Looks become all and everything else second or is not even taken into consideration. Our minds are capable of making desire after desire. When we satisfy one of these desires we feel a temporary relief. Our mind is then quiet for a while; in this state we feel love, peace and bliss. The lie lies in that we trick ourselves by thinking that this is due meeting our desires. When in fact, it was the conscious mind which went inactive and gave access to bliss. We can have bliss without constantly trying to satisfy our made-up desires. By stopping to try to focus on what we desire and to achieve, what actually is injected by culture and/or religion and opening up for the actual world around us instead looking it trough a narrowed view.
Letting go is key here. When we let go on our conscious desire, or carnal desires, we let life in, because it gives room for other things than where we narrowed our focus on. When we get there we feel a longing for love, creativity, hope and an endless river of inspiration. It becomes something we want to express. One form of expressing this is by our sexuality towards the other for enlightenment.
A fulfilled person does not seek approval, is not afraid of rejection (it does not mean that it does not hurt). Love does not allow fear to come in. You are free of judgement and free of the thought if the other likes you or not. You have a genuine desire, an interest for knowing the other person. You feel an attraction from the inspiration that the other person gives you. You respect this person and you are at the same level with whom you have a connection with. You do not look down or idolize this person.
Our desires should be an amplification of the blissful life that you live. Our desires should not be an amplification of your frustration and anger by channeling/framing desires the wrong way. That is an abreaction of your body, mind and spirit trough a kind of release when getting what we attempted to have, instead of solving our emotional issues by a conscious effort.
The paradox of desire is that on the surface, lust, wishing or wanting looks the same, but on an emotional level are completely different. By translating our desires in creative expressions, where we connect with who we are and with ourselves, wrong desires fade and our true, good, noteworthy desires start to flourish. This means we should lust for less and love instead.
To keep it simple, love is giving. But to love, to express, we must experience the other in their true essence. That means we open ourselves up to be vulnerable, yes vulnerable. Not all of a sudden, but slowly, step by step. This sounds weird, but this means less and less of us. To put it practically, we must let go of all the preconception, judgement, knowledge, which give rise to fear, anxiety, shame and a bunch of things that destroy love.
Every person loves in an another way. Practically, this means your way of approach to and your style/attitude of relating to the significant other. One of the popular theories of love is the styles of love, developed by the Canadian sociologist John Allen Lee in the 1970s. John distinguishes six different styles; the Eros love, Ludus Love, Storge love, Mania love, Pragma love and Agape love.
Eros love is the erotic, passionate love. These kind of people tend to feel a strong sexual desire and attraction to their (potential) partner. These people tend to value tactile (touch) sensations above other styles.
Ludos lovers are playing the game. They love to flirt and seduce their partners. It is the excitement, the trill of interplay between the two that has the main theme in the relationship.
Storge love is the more sustainable type of love. The central theme of this type of love is friendship. In contrast to Eros and Ludos lovers, this takes a much longer time to develop. This is also true for the sexual side of this kind of relationship. This kind of love is about mutual interests, trust and soul connection.
Mania lovers are possessive, dependent and often controlling in nature. A mania lover clings to the significant other as a source for emotional comfort. This type of love is driven by insecurity of the self.
Pragma lovers are practical in whom they invest time. It is a more business type of relationship. These type of lovers select their partners rationally, more with the mind according to a certain type of criteria. They like aspects of compatibility, such as education level, profession, social status, income, potential parent. These lovers place less importance on the emotional side than on the practical side of a relationship.
Agape love is the brotherly love or divine love. This love is selfless love, a self sacrificing love. It is a love that does not expect something in return for their “investment”. Practically it means that I love you no matter what you do.
These love styles are distinctions from each other, but can overlap each other as well.
Everyone has the freedom to engage in love. This is more and more accepted. The strict rules of religion and culture are more and more fading away and give room for true love.
“Sociologists studying social change, from Durkheim to Weber, have all observed that individuals are increasingly seen as having the right to say for themselves what they’ll do and with whom they’ll associate. There’s no reason that association in bed (or in any social situation) should prove to be an exception to that rule.“ — page 173, Sociology for Dummies, by Roger R. Hock
When we made a choice, consciously or unconsciously to engage in a social situation, we want to be involved, engaged, connected to it; in order to feel one. A oneness that can’t separate us, a true connection. This is the experience of love.
Connection, the way to enlightened love
Connection between two people is a kind of a dynamic interference between two souls. An interference with a certain level of energy or excitement about the other. You are interested in who the other person is and what the person is up to. This happens when you feel the other person. You are in connection. You are in connection with yourself, you are in connection with the people around you. We are wired to pair bonding, not just casual connections. Forming strong connections, which strengthens our feelings of belonging and value.
But, this is not something you intrinsically know, you have to learn and train your emotional muscles to get there. First of all, it is an attitude towards life, that brings you to an attitude towards others. If your attitude is love, that is also your attitude towards others. These are the basic emotions that you convey and make you attractive or repellent to people. When you interact, it is the interaction from a basic emotion, to a specific emotion of liking or disliking the person. The other feels this warm welcome or exclusion from verbal and nonverbal cues.
There is more than just a positive attitude. There are certain aspects that make a connection real.
Key to connection is equality. Equality in ability, competences and talents. There is no competition between two equals, if the two want to maintain friendship. Instead of competition, there is cooperation. We should not put our focus on why I am better and why people should choose me for the job, but on how can I help, how can I serve.
Respect the space of the people around you. It gives them freedom for them and for you too, to explore and think about the relationship. Respect also means room for expression. Respect is not disengaging in thinking or feeling better or worse than the other. In respect we do not judge our perception of the other. In respect we allow ourselves to take a step back.
Sharing is a skillful communication. In the past and some tribes still today make friendship with the other tribe by sharing gifts. Sharing is not only limited to gifts, but to feelings, ideas, plans and life in general as well. This means building bonds with each other, that give a sense of security and intimacy. Some researches suggested that forming strong bonds opening up towards the other is one of the most important things in a relationship to form strong bonds (Collins & Miller, 1994; Sprecher et al., 2008).
Listening, not only what the other person is saying, but to the whole person as well. Listening also means being open for change, being open to learn new things. Being open to accept and knowing what the other person wants, what the other is up to. Be there, not somewhere in your head. Be present, pay full attention.
Humor is the amusement of the mind. A true connection consists inspiration, a novelty where we find us in what we get from the other. It is creativity at its best. It is opening new ways of seeing things. Laughter is the pleasurable response to these new things.
Be authentic, empathetic and build trust. Above all, this is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. You are always novel to someone, because you do not try to mold yourself in a brick, a copy of someone else. You can feel and live in the world of the other. You feel the other. Trust is that you can rely on the other, that the other holds his promise, keeps secrets; trust deepens relationships.
To make a connection even more sustainable, concentrate on the positive things you have in common and work to expand that and that experience. Ask yourself the question, what do I like about the other person? But first ask yourself, what do I like about myself?
Your relationship with yourself
How we relate to ourselves is how we relate to others as well.
Accept your body, mind and spirit for who you are now, not what you want to become, but what you are now. This begins with making friends with yourself. Accept your vulnerabilities, your strength and acknowledge if something is wrong; it is honesty towards yourself. This could be really painful at first, but have a healing effect for the future. The relationship with yourself is formed by past experiences, social values (religion, upbringing) and your personality. It is a mix of beliefs, values and assumptions. Your sexuality is a combination of fantasy and reality. Sexuality is woven in who you are. Be blissful in who you are, from the inside to the outside. Have peace with yourself.
What you desire as character in the other person is what you desire to have as a character-ship in yourself. It is kind of a reflection. You want for example a relationship where the other person accepts you as you are. This means that you want to accept yourself as who you are.
Be emotionally independent. Go for example hiking alone or go for dinner etc. Be comfortable being alone with yourself; do not seek outer approval. Do not be afraid of your independent thoughts. But honer it as your uniqueness for how you experience the world around you. Give yourself the support, the time you need and do not feel bad about it. If you have a feeling or a creative idea, look at it as awesomeness and think of it how you can you express and expand it. Give yourself priority too, you are as important as everyone else.
One of the arts of life is to learn gratitude and forgiveness (towards others and towards ourselves). When you are in this state of thankfulness, we begin to start being at peace. This is a state when anxiety and stress begin to fade. When you are in a state of peace, a state of being fulfilled, you are not searching the tangible. When you are without need, you can cultivate honest interest in the other persons. You can cultivate interest and love, not seeking fulfillment from the other. This is such a beautiful feeling of peace and happiness. You feel whole in who you are. Finding love will not be hard, because it is a plus and not a need. It will be an addition of everything and you get even a little bit more. How blessed can you be?!
Our obsession with fulfillment
We live in a society towards a more hedonistic mindset. Sexuality is mostly for pleasure. We know that bodily pleasure is momentary and shallow. It feels so good, that’s why a lot of people start craving for this feeling as a form of escape from the sorrow of everyday life. This craving can be strong but also weak, depending on the level of it. As a way to be stabilized as a person in who we are and having a sense of more value. In this state we cannot create real contact with the others or even with the world, because we are inwardly focused on being emotionally fulfilled.
Searching emotional fulfillment is a consequence of emotional imbalance (feelings of abandonment, depression, low self-esteem) caused by having goals, values, not our own, but imprinted by our outside world. We have to remember that every good thing and blessing doesn’t just come by itself, but is created by visioning love and inspiration.
“Codependency, lust and addiction that underlies all other addictions including sex addiction (hyper sexuality), romance, relationship, and love addiction. Lust and love can overlap.” — Darlene Lancer a Marriage and Family Therapist.
Darlene made a list to compare:
Unhealthy (lust) relationships
- Intense attraction — feeling anxious; idealize each other, ignoring differences
- Falling “in love” and make commitments before getting to know each other
- After a while disappointment comes in, the two persons start clinging to fantasy of love
- Trying to change our partner into our ideal; feelings of resentfulness and feelings of being unloved start to come in.
Healthy (love) Relationships
- Attraction and friendship begin — feeling comfortable; attraction grows as they know each other; acknowledge differences (or leave)
- Growing to love each other
- Making commitments
- Compromising needs
- Loving and accepting each other deepens feel, support and love.
We need to change our mindset from using sex as mere pleasure where we have the right to experience when and where we want it to a mindset where sexuality is more than just pleasure or a thing we can use for manipulating others. A mindset where sex is incorporated in your life in a way that you are drawn to people. You want to be with them, align with them, where you have this beautiful feeling you want to experience.
A balanced inner world also means balanced desires. Not pointing to one or the other extreme, in a way that it burns your energy levels or causes a lot of stress. In the end it really comes to expressing/sharing yourself. A genuine desire to be with and be one with the other. When you feel that you have to make less of yourself, stop. You are with the wrong person and the other is not giving (opening up) to you.
Our relationship to beauty
We are blown away. We see something by which we are amazed. We are putting it on a pedestal and by doing so, we are disconnecting it from us; we are valuing it higher than ourselves, where we feel a discomfort.
When you see a person which you really like, you find beauty. We should react to beauty the same way an artist does. Do not feel intimidated or challenged, but engage in it, taking it up fully and letting it go and feel the bliss that comes after it. Not holding on to it and trying to keep it when it fades away. This is possible, when we are already fulfilled in who we are, when we are living in peace with ourselves and when we are surely alive and outwardly in our expressions.
You have certain desires. Culture or religion may have stigmatized certain behaviors, thoughts and ideas. Maybe you feel ashamed of it when you feel it, when in fact this is a natural reaction to your desire. You should know though where your desires stem from. Is it because you want to feel better, more, fuller or is it a sincere reaction what you see and you feel an honest desire of curiosity for knowing it better?
When your answer is yes, accept the beauty, enjoy it. Otherwise you will find yourself in an empty pursue that burns you down and leaves you empty. The positive as the negative will reflect on your face, words, the tone of your voice and your body image. Positive sincere curiosity is an engaging experience for the other person to come in. You are attractive. The joy, smile and confidence is as a sparkle of the reflection of light in the water. It gives a sense of control and expanding emotions, where you start to feel great and endless in opportunity.
A few other thoughts
Our attitude towards ourselves should be of confidence in our love. A kind of love, that you can laugh about yourself, that you can loose yourself in who you are. Attract what you love, by expressing true love. True love brings people together, on all levels.
Smile at the world and the world will smile back.