Archive for Fear

Love and need

Love is not need, and the two should not be confused. The feeling that we need someone, along with the desire for that someone to need us, is harmful and must be replaced. A stable relationship is based on the mutual desire for the other to be happy. It is not based on the desire for the other to make us happy. This latter desire can never be fulfilled. The idea that someone else can make us happy, or that someone else can fill some void within us, is a red herring. We can only do this for ourselves.

Therefore, whenever we believe that we need someone, we must fight this belief. We must acknowledge that we do not in fact need them, and that if they were hit by a bus then we would still survive. Knowing that we can survive alone, and indeed that we can be happy alone, does not make our love any less. There is a big difference between knowing that we can be alone and actually wanting to be alone. If we drop need, it makes our love stronger. It means that we are with our partner because we love them and because we want to be with them, and not just because we need them. It also reduces the anxiety and fear that they will leave us, whether by choice or not.

Similarly, it is foolish to desire that our loved one need us. Such a desire arises out of fear. We may think that our sense of security is increased knowing that our partner cannot leave us because they need us. However, really, it is much more flattering to know that our partner is with us because he or she loves us. Although it might seem scary to think that our partner does not need us and could walk away at any time, we can also take immense reassurance in the fact that they choose not to.

Hence, we must always be careful to distinguish between love and need. Although they are often confused, they are very different. Love is an open and generous emotion based on genuine caring and compassion. It is unselfish and makes no demands. Need, on the other hand, is a constrictive and selfish feeling based predominantly on fear. True love cannot flourish alongside this feeling.

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Who should we blame?

Society is becoming obsessed with blame. When a tragedy strikes, when relationships go wrong, when anything happens to disappoint us, there is a growing tendency to label it as someone’s fault. The concept of an “accident”, of “bad luck”, or “the way things are”, is being replaced by the idea that life ought to be a Utopia. If this Utopia is not the case, then we assume that someone is not doing their part. Much of the time, we will conclude that this person is ourself, and that we are to blame. Although this latter attitude is positive in that we are taking responsibility for our own happiness, and is definitely a better attitude than blaming others for our misery, it still leaves much to be desired.

The fundamental issue here is not so much our tendency to blame as our tendency to assume that life should be perfect. Whenever a so-called bad event occurs, we assume that there is a problem. This includes a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, contracting a disease or being diagnosed with cancer, or perhaps a disagreement in a relationship or a personal failure. Rather than recognize that such things are a part of life, we see them as a sign that something is deeply wrong. This lack of acceptance then leads us to find fault. In the case of a natural disaster, we may blame authorities for not implementing stronger housing standards or emergency procedures. In the case of a disease, we may blame our health care system for failing to detect it earlier. In our relationships and personal life, we may blame ourselves, our partner, or those around us.

It is clearly beneficial to find the causes of suffering and to take steps to reduce it. However, we must have an accepting attitude when we do this. Life is unpredictable and can never be controlled. Even the so-called preventable tragedies, caused by human error alone, can never be realistically eliminated. Therefore, while doing our best to improve on things, we must remember that death and suffering are a natural part of life, and we must also remember that no-one, ourself included, is perfect. This will let us work on problems without being bogged down by them, without feeling that life is unfair, and without looking for someone to blame.

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