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Disconnected Hearts: The Lost Art of Love
The Search for Deeper Meaning
Here in western culture, we are preoccupied with being individualistic consumers in a disposable culture that seeks fast fixes and instant gratification of our needs. The industrial revolution and its hungry capital developments have lent a hand by creating technologies that offer quick and superficial communication reducing the quality of our experiences. The focus on ego centric fulfilment has reduced our abilities to truly value and appreciate the essential nuances in life. It is all about me and the 'modern me' is desensitized and numb. With even more media than ever, we are even more lonelier, unhealthy, unfulfilled and disconnected from each other. Where is the heart and soul of humanity?
Relationships are like oxygen, we require it to survive. As human beings, we possess a fundamental need for intimacy, love, inclusion and social connection. When we lack true closeness and intimacy in our lives, loneliness and disconnection can seriously deteriorate our mental and physical wellness. When a person is emotionally detached, deprived or lonely for long periods of time, they may even experience 'skin hunger' for the simple touch of another. Their stress hormones or cortisone levels increase, so does your quality of sleep leading to fatigue, anxiety, isolation, immune deficiency and even depression. Without close nurturing relationships, it is like we are unplugged from motivation and a source of life which feeds our souls so we may accomplish more than simply survive.
Intimacy is like soul fuel.
A relationship is an engaging opportunity for experience, satisfaction and growth which aid in validation and self-actualization. We are energetic and spiritual beings having a human experience through our bodies here on earth. With intimacy, nurturing and love, our being feels connected and more alert and alive. This existential connection to another through human expression helps us transcend our simple selfish egos and focus on a life altering exchange. It is so life altering that the absence of a intimate relationship can mean the difference between utter hopelessness and despair or faith, joy and hope.
Love and intimacy do matter.
Love and Intimacy Begin with You...
So why are we lacking so much of it in our lives? Are we losing our collective human memory and capacity to trust and nurture each other? Society can be fast and harsh yes, but we can make choices for fuller, loving and embodied intimacy and experience. Intimacy begins with the self first. Are you kind, gentle and nurturing to your inner self? Do you have a relationship with a higher power whatever that may be to you? These aspects are self affirming and increase your ability to reduce ill effects, loneliness or separation first with yourself in mind. Self love is not selfishness, it is an exercise in self acceptance. For you cannot accept another, their attributes and also their flaws without compassionate tolerance.
How can I love myself?
It starts with having the highest degree of respect for yourself. Be mindful of the thoughts you think. Are your thoughts affirming of self or self defeating? Do you think on the brighter side, or do you gravitate to the dark side? It is a slippery slope, so be aware of your thoughts and what kind of state of mind and attitude they are creating everyday. Maybe you need to adjust this and direct your mind away from negative processes and cognitive trappings of your past. Make a new course correction in your thinking if need be on a daily basis. It is about programming yourself with nurturing healthy thoughts rather than destructive memories or notions. It should be only your voice in your head, not the voices of abusers past. What is your inner voice saying?
Take actions to satisfy yourself that only support your needs...not your impulsive wants. Put thoughtfulness into every healthy choice supporting your health and well being. This means taking care of yourself inside and out. This may be anything from diet, to slowing down, rest and relaxation. Make and take time for you.
Protect yourself with setting up safe boundaries not thick brick walls around you. Boundaries can be limitations that make you say, "enough is enough" of something or someone. Set reasonable limits on things like work or chores. I know we have a social fascination with being super heros in our culture, but being superman or woman will only burn you out and make you unhappy. Realize you are human- and to be more human is being real. This may mean spending less time with fake 'frenemies' or inviting others that offer warm friendship and intimacy more often.
Do 'forgive' yourself often. Stuff happens and we are not perfect and sterile fake plastic Kens and Barbies- who would really want to be? Remember there are no failures or mistakes, only learning lessons for growth. Don't punish yourself for the past or a bad day. Be easy, kind and natural with yourself and this is what you will attract. Take off a mask or two. It is okay to be a little vulnerable and feel in the moment.
Your intentions and attitude will direct your days. Do you intend to make it a good day? You should and put your best forward. When you meet a small goal or accomplish a task there will be more meaning and healthy contemplation in your life. You will feel more personally validated and rely less on what others think of you. Let your good intentions guide the way. Practice these simple life changes each day to cultivate greater self-love.
More people are admittedly more spiritual than religious. Most people realize there is some truth to our being energetic and spiritual beings- no religion is required in this. Many are returning to connecting with a divine higher power through meditation, prayer and surely, Mother Nature and God. Even experiments in the power of loving intention through prayer and meditation have proven to alter the matter of physical properties such as a spontaneous purification and crystalization of water. Such experiments prove directed loving connection and intention positively encourages inner peace and higher brain functions in human beings. To a certain extent our intentions can equally manifest disease or improve health in our mental and physical bodies. What are you manifesting each day?
When you are concentrating from a place of self-love and self-awareness....what is next?
More Intimacy Means No Rush...
Beware the pressures of Hook Up Culture, Seduction Games or the Pick Up Artist. Studies have proven youth and people pushing for fast sex often can't achieve greater intimacy, have the most sexual regrets, increased sexual dysfunction and harder times achieving orgasm. It leaves people feeling like victims, used and devalued and does not lead to any kind of mutual relationship. Usually someone gets hurt and both have regrets. This is not intimacy or connection and has no significance except to temporarily relieve one self. If you wish to be more than someone's waste disposal unit, cultivate intimacy not sex. Wait for it.
The relationship and sexual patterns you regularly set as habit will determine the level of intimacy you experience in the future. A hook up artist rarely can change down the road and become loyal relationship material any more than someone who values intimacy and relationships can be happy with a quick fix hook up. Either way, people set themselves up for serious regrets, embarrassment and low self-esteem when they do not have the same satisfaction or expectations. Without intimacy, getting your rocks off is about as rewarding as taking a poop and usually lasts about the same amount of time. Is that what your heart desires?
Styles of Love
EROS: Eros is a Greek word meaning erotic or passionate. It is a highly sensual, intense and passionate sort of love based on attraction and chemistry first. It is hormones, lust and obsession that usually keep the relationship intense in the beginning. A disadvantage is the possibility of the decay in attraction, it is hard to maintain and there is danger of living in a fantasy world. In its extreme, Eros can resemble naïveté.
LUDUS: Ludus means 'game' in Greek is simply a relationship based on fun, activities, pranks and attention. They rarely become overly involved and often have multiple other partners at any given time. They don't reveal true feelings and don't take it very seriously. They regard sex as conquest and sport and often cheat so they recover quickly from break ups and are always looking for a replacement. They are not capable of intimacy and this relationship often involves sexual addiction.
STORGE: Storage is a dedicated and family bond sort of love. Storge necessitates certain familial loyalties, responsibilities, duties and entitlements. Storgic love often develops gradually out of friendship or out of extended duration of cohabitation. One believes love comes out of friendship and this type endures longer than others. Sex usually comes after closeness and time.
MANIA: Mania coming from the term manic usually flows out of a desire to hold one's partner in high esteem and wanting to love and be loved in this way seeing specialness in the interaction. This type of love leads a partner into a type of madness and obsessiveness. Love is a means of rescue, or a reinforcement of value. Manic lovers value finding a partner through chance and this kind of intense passion is sometimes a fatal attraction that rarely lasts. It is the stuff of love affairs.
AGAPE: Agape is the purest form of love and derives its definition of love from being altruistic towards one's partner and feeling love in the acts of doing so. The person is willing to endure difficulty that arises from the partner's circumstance. It is based on an unbreakable commitment and an unconditional, selfless love that is all giving. It is an undying love that is full of compassion and selflessness. Agape requires one to be forgiving, patient, understanding, loyal, and willing to make sacrifices for his/her partner. This is an enduring and lasting type of love.
PRAGMA: Pragma the most practical type of love, not necessarily derived out of true romantic love. Rather, pragma is a convenient type of love. While they may be sincere about being useful themselves it also translates to also having expectations in a partner and of the relationship. Pragmatic lovers want to find value in their partners, and ultimately want to work with their partner to reach a common goal.The practicality and realism of pragmatic love often aides longevity of the relationship, as long as common goals and values remain shared for the duration. It is more like an arrangement or partnership.
Bring Me a Higher Love...
True depth and breadth of intimacy is actually cultivated through actions such as eye contact, listening, conversation, sharing disclosures, exposing your vulnerabilities, trusting over time, touching skin, holding hands and cuddling. It happens over time and long before any actual sex act. Intimacy is not sex. Your value and worth and the depth of of trust with someone is what leads to fuller expressions and deeper feelings that later commensurate in sex. That is why one nighters are so forgettable and not rewarding- they are only mere infatuation if that.
Anyone is capable of the act of sex- it is not brain surgery. Not everyone is capable of intimacy- think about it and those who aren't seem cold hearted, less human and emotionally disabled in some dysfunctional way. If it is only an urge you seek to satiate, but wish to protect your heart and feelings, perhaps a cold shower or a toy will save the day. You may have less heartache and regrets that way.
It leaves one to believe that intimacy and higher love are destined only for the more evolved among us. It is what separates us from wild animals who impulsively mate and have no self control. Indeed, to achieve these worthy experiences one must have self-control for intimacy is something earned and aged like a fine wine or cheese. It is sweeter, more savoury and delightful with tenderness and time. Intimacy and love are worthy investments and it is the process of experiencing that offers us the greatest reward.
Delayed gratification is not about suffering but is sentimental and at its greatest creates a spiritual connection between two involved people. Enjoy the journey of intimacy and the cultivation of higher love, it is the only kind worthy of song, poetry and music. It is the essence that puts a bounce in your step and a vigour to go on. Life is too short to settle for anything less than the most genuine and authentic experiences in this world. Do treat each other right.