We all love to be loved; nothing is more gratifying, soul satisfying, than to feel as if someone cares for us. But true love is not just embracing those who want to embrace us in that same moment. Here's the rule:
Any form of one-sided love is destined to collapse under the weight of its own unstable foundation.
For any relationship to endure, let alone stand up to - and go through - the appearance of the inevitable differences between two people, it must have two sides to it. While this idea may seem obvious, the fact is that most of our relationships - even with those we love the most - are one-sided.
Whenever anyone fails to live up to our expectations, we stand ready to point the finger of blame. It is our partner, our friend, who is guilty of being "one-sided." In our view, it's clear: that person is either unable, or unwilling to see our side of the situation. And, just for the record, yes, this is likely true; in fact, odds favor that they are as blind to being "one-sided" as are we.
If our wish is to discover a new and higher kind of love - the only one that can empower us to transcend our differences with our partner - then we must begin to see our old excuses for finding fault with him or her as...faulty!
Love, the higher kind of love that matters most, is not - cannot be - determined by what others do, or don't do toward us. This should be evident; after all, what kind of love is it that gives itself only to those who give it back when, and as, expected? Besides, if there's one thing we should all know by now it's this: it has never been in our power to make others love us as we would have them do. We can't make someone be caring, or kind. No tender touch, no act of kindness or compassion can be coerced from someone we love, anymore than we can force a rose to open her petals.
Whenever we become negative toward others for not being as we want them to be toward us, blaming them for not being "loving" as expected, we are being as one-sided as they are, whatever he or she may have done to make us feel that way.
As challenging as it may be to our familiar ideas about who's at fault in the midst of some relationship meltdown - right when it feels as if our relationship is in a free-fall - we must learn to ask ourselves the single most important question of all:
Who is responsible for that painful sense of difference that we feel between our partner and us, whatever it may be that we point to in that moment? Or, for that matter, who is responsible for the difference we feel between ourselves and anyone else, whether at work, in our family, or someone we just pass by on the street?
The reality is that each and all of our relationships stir in us a host of strong feelings that, prior to their being stirred and awakened in us, we had no idea lay sleeping in our consciousness. These emotions range from deep delight to darkly disturbing, but to strengthen the main point: whatever someone awakens in us is... our feeling.
We want, actually secretly demand - whether family, friend, or loved one - that our partner not only understand what we're feeling, but why... and all without our having to tell them! We expect them to walk by our side, to see life through our eyes, and to support our mood swings with no questions asked. While we, for the most part, almost never consider what it's like to be on the other "side" of that relationship, looking at what our partner sees in our eyes that we can't, as yet, even see ourselves.
Until we can understand what those we love see - and feel - when they're with us, and vice-versa, of course - we are in a one-sided relationship headed for a rocky shore!
When our mind is filled with reasons for not liking someone - and our heart feels the same aversion, wishing to have nothing to do with whomever is considered in this way - the results are almost unavoidable: what else can we expect to see in our partner's eyes other than the same resentment or rejection they see flashing in our own? In other words, what they see in our eyes is our one-sided conclusion that they are to blame for our pain.
This insight should make it clear why, in the "heat" of a struggle with someone we care about, we see no love or understanding in their eyes. Why? Because they can't see any love or kindness in our own.