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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Love, Longing, and Heartbreak

Love, a 4 letter word with perhaps 4 billion connotations, seems to be a tricky business. Just like one’s thumb impression is unique, so is one’s definition of love. No two people have the same definition of love, not even the Made-in-Heaven type of pairs.

Just the other day, I observed that a colleague of mine was visibly very downcast since last 2-3 days. On inquiring he tried to evade my question with a somewhat amusing answer. Then suddenly, perhaps due to the emotional turmoil he was undergoing through, he blurted out “Why does a young man look downcast?” I got my answer. Yet another heartbreak! And then he, smiling artificially but crying in reality, elaborated how a three-and-a-half year old relationship has been put to gallows. Polite sympathy followed and I was forced me to think what love actually is?

I guess it's a strange kind of feeling. It happens so suddenly and lightening fast that you have hardly anytime even to comprehend what hit you out of the blue. In a moment you are pulled back from a fairy land to a torturous hell. And with time wounds may heal eventually but the scars will perhaps remain forever. Why is love so painful for some? Is the cause of this pain they themselves or the one they love or something else?

Why it hurts and who is responsible for this pain?

Love, I mean serious love and not time pass or convenient companionship, is something that catapults you to a different orbit. Suddenly, the forces and powers that keep you in orbit are not something you entirely have control over. Slowly and gradually, the source of control becomes a shared one, where what you do, how you feel, how you behave is equally determined by the presence of someone else in your life. Your circle of influence decreases and your partner’s circle of influence on your behaviour increases. It does not become apparent as long as everything is going on happily. But the moment discontinuity sets in due to break-up; one becomes suddenly aware of the influence of the other person in one’s life. The more you are absorbed in love, the more this feeling of helplessness will be there in the event of a break-up.

But then who is responsible for this pain? You or your partner? I think neither. It is love that causes pain. There is a common thread that binds love and selfishness. If one loves someone then it starts with selfishness. The more selfishness is present there, the stronger the bond of love is. If you are not selfish in love, you do not really love someone. Why someone loves somebody? Definitely not because of charity. The simplest reason is that loving someone gives you happiness. Mutual love brings forth a feeling of being loved and this feeling in turn results in a feeling of happiness, well being and security. Isn’t this innate combination of happiness, well being, and security a form of selfishness? And if this innate combination is lacking, can there be real love? So isn’t it true that love and selfishness go hand-in-hand.

And this very relationship between love and selfishness is the cause of pain caused by sudden break-ups. Break-up threatens your comfort levels. And there steps selfishness. “How can my comfort and happiness be taken away from me?” But by then you are not controlled by your mind but through the emotions generated from the comforting associations with your lover. And a feeling of helplessness and self pity sets in. RESULT: Pain, mental trauma, disenchantment, agony etc.

It’s a vicious cycle of love, longing, and heartbreak!

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