How to Love and Stay in Love

So, I write about many things. Especially about love, intimacy and relationships. In the process, people write to me and ask for advice. Therefore, I would like to share what I have come to understand about love.

Here, I am not talking about that crazy blind love, but a richly passionate, deeply meaningful and fulfilling kind of love. It can be playful and fun, of course, if that is who you are. It always comes back to YOU, and that is why it is crucial to really understand who you are.

In life and love, we are governed by many fears. And we allow our fears to dictate our attitude towards life and love. Often than not, it distorts our views and understanding. Many of us are afraid of getting hurt, we are fearful of being rejected, or losing our loved ones. We are frightened of being left behind or being alone. And the list goes on. It is not surprising to find that most of our life’s choices have been merely “knee-jerk reactions” – not well-thought out, not fully informed, or deeply understood. What’s worse, we keep confusing desires and lusts with love.

This is how we lose control, and give away our innate authority. This is how we become a slave to our emotions. Because we allow ourselves to be swept away by the currents of the emotions, rather than diving deeper and searching for the core of who we are. When we do not understand who we are, and what we truly want – we give up our true control and authority to external forces.

Understand that the people we are today are conditioned by all of our past experiences, good or bad. This is how we have developed certain attitudes and perceptions of love, and life. Rightly or wrongly. Until we examine deeper and correct this, we will have the same misconceptions, and repeatedly experience the same unpleasant consequences. We will never learn to trust our own feelings. We will remain caged within the realms of desire and lust.

In the past, we may have been destabilised – feeding the frenzy of an insatiable hunger of wanting more attention, or needing more affection. In fact, we were just adding fuel to our insecurities, fears and deeper issues. We were not addressing the root of the actual problems. We had merely placed a “band-aid” over them, chugging along thinking that a solution would come in the form of a soul mate, or any readily willing mate for that matter.

I am not advocating a life devoid of spontaneity, or discrediting the merits of living in the moment. Naturally, it is always thrilling and intoxicating to succumb to the desires of the moment. It is too easy to do that. And we do it all the time. Feeding one form of hunger or thirst. However, it is only valuable when those sensations of the moment echo what’s authentic and intensely heartfelt within us. Only then it becomes meaningful. Only then, it becomes an extension of who we are and a reflection of our love.

So, take a long breath. Slow down. Look closer. Take the time to get to know one another better, and deeper. At the same time, get to know yourself and observe how you react or respond. Every situation and experience in life will reveal a greater truth about us, or about the other person – if we allow it to unfold.

Don’t fall into the temptation of submitting to superficial solutions, or reactionary remedies. Instead, find real life answers. This is how we will graduate from a childish way of handling emotions and relationships to a much more mature and significant one. This is how we reclaim real control and authority over ourselves and our life’s choices. This way, we will not stray from our true feelings and purpose again. This way, we cease being slaves to our emotions. Instead, we’ll become authors of our own emotional signature. 

Falling in love is always the easy part, but staying in love over the long haul takes much more than unleashing fiery passions, performing romantic gestures or consummating sensuous desires.

Real love, and long-lasting relationships take consistent effort and time to build. It requires trust, sincerity, courage, a certain kind of sweet surrender and the willingness to be there for one another through thick or thin.

As Phil Collins once sang, “You can’t hurry love.”

Here, allow me to explain my own realisations about love, intimacy and relationships –

I am very clear about what works for me and what does not work. Because I have clocked in a lifetime of discovering, refining and becoming who I am today. Thus, I have no illusions or delusions about the kind of intimacy and relationship I wish to cultivate. Especially, about what adds value and meaning to my life. I do not wish to waste my time and energy on empty temporal pleasures, as they detract me from finding genuine lasting happiness. What I seek is a sustainable, meaningful and mutually fulfilling relationship with someone special.

It is never about the age, race or religion. I would totally date someone half my age if the connection, understanding and communication are really there to begin with. I would also be open to dating someone outside my race, and religious beliefs. What’s important here is that the person in question has the maturity and capacity to relate to me. Above all, we would value one another as much as we appreciate ourselves. Because loving one another should not in any way diminish our individual worth, dreams and needs. If anything, it should enrich them.  

Hence, this is my advice for those seeking to establish love and intimacy in their lives –

1) Get to know yourself, really know yourself. Your desires, fears, wounds, dreams, fantasies, sexual preferences and so forth. Get real, dig deep and be completely honest with yourself. There is no need for guilt, shame or apology. Come clean and show your “raw” self.

2) Find out what works for you in terms of love, life, intimacy and relationship; and what don’t. Then you will recognise those qualities in a mate or potential life partner. Once you know how to spot the “real deal”, you will not be distracted or fooled by a cheap imitation. Also, you will not waste time on people who deplete you, and start investing in people who nourish you.

3) Put in real time and effort in getting to know the person you wish to start a relationship with, or are in a relationship with. As I’ve mentioned before, getting to know someone in a sincere and meaningful manner demands consistent effort and will not happen overnight. So, be patient, gentle and non-judgemental. As difficult as it is for us to bare our souls, the same applies to that other someone. Therefore, build the trust from day one with an understanding heart. Then, continue reinforcing that trust over time with your daily actions, speech and thoughts.

4) During challenging times, always make a conscious effort to reconnect emotionally and don’t stop communicating with one another. Do not allow a single doubt, disagreement or confusion to fester and poison the relationship. No matter how testing or petty it may be, talk it out openly and honestly while maintaining mutual respect. Do not focus on the harshness of the words, or actions. Instead, listen to the real message. When people are in pain or their feelings are hurt, they cry out in a very different way. So, don’t get pulled into the drama. Remember, you are both on the same team. Fight the issues or problems as ONE; and not as two rivals.

5) No matter how busy it gets – always invest in quality time together; as a man and woman, or as partners and spouses. I cannot stress this enough. Do not allow things to become more important than the love and relationship you both share. Because in the end, you’ll realise that material things can never ever replace the people who matter to us. The time we spend together with loved ones will always be precious. It rejuvenates us as well as the relationship.

Please bear in mind – every person’s preferences, needs and priorities will alter as they grow and develop. So, give one another space for his or her own evolution. Ideally, learn and grow together. In this way, the both of you will be inspired to always find better and new ways to love one another.

For those who have yet to meet the love of their lives – do not EVER give up hope. Get out there and live the life you have always dreamed of. Start by falling in love with your own life, and valuing yourself in the right way. Do the things that enrich and complete you. Because when you are at your best, and having a good time enjoying your life; you are at your most beautiful. Then before you know it, you will meet the one who is right for you. What’s more, you’ll be ready to embrace him or her into your life.

For those of you who have fallen head over heels for someone but do not have the courage to tell them – I have only this to say, “What have you got to lose? The worst, he or she will say No. Your life won’t end there. You will continue as fabulously as you have. But what if he or she says Yes? So, take a chance! What are you waiting for?”

Please, always continue to learn, care and grow.

Continue to nurture, forgive and open your heart to those around you.

It is about fulfilling your profound destiny.

With Love. Through Love. And in Love. 

Then your Heaven is earth, and your earth is heavenly. 

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

  • vivian
    May 20, 2015

    Very resourceful…detailed words by words…very helpful to everyone…youre great…thank u so much

    • shirleymaya
      June 10, 2015

      Thank you for your gracious words, Vivian. 🙂

  • Carol Balawyder
    May 25, 2015

    Very sound advice, Shirley. 🙂

    • shirleymaya
      June 10, 2015

      Thank you, Carol. Hope all is well with you. Sending lots of love, light, fire to ignite passions where needed, joyful cheery happy thoughts and much much more. Big hugs x