Romantic Manifesto

I’m going to write of love and romance now (At last, some of you, who I mentioned planning to do so some time ago, must be thinking.). They’re topics near and dear to me, ones I’ve been thinking on extensively lately. I’m sure I can’t do them justice, but I’ll do what I can. Welcome to my romantic manifesto.

Love is selfless. (See, I can cut to the truth.) Genuine love is the deep wish for the wellbeing and happiness of another and the will to do what one can to bring that about. If we’re doing something for someone in hope of having personal gain we are not motivated by love but rather by a lesser intent, be it desire, complacency or another avenue of misguided self-interest.
To love isn’t to take part in masochism, though. We need to have a love for ourselves that can help us to descern things that provide us with genuine happiness. Too often we’ll seek out or cling to things that are in reality harmful. Love that is pure will not harm us because it will foster a respect for our own wellness; how can we make someone else happy if we disable ourselves through misery or otherwise limit our capacity to do good?
Loving is rewarding, regardless of if it is returned properly, because it improves who we are. The more genuinely we love, the greater happiness we create in ourselves, the better we maintain ourselves and the more sincere relationships we are able to create.
It’s incredibly challenging to live with love, but there’s nothing else that can bring about a life truly worth living. I’ll admit to falling prey to lesser motivations. My first romantic relationship was very unhealthy. I was not in love with the girl I spent months with; I was caught up in the idea of a relationship and going through the motions without deep love. This isn’t to say that I didn’t care about her or treat her well; I was just not living genuinely and deceiving both of us because of this confusion. I was living within an illusion of happiness that took a long time to realize. I took the lesson to heart, and for that I’m thankful; I now know when I love and do all I can to feed that love.

Romance is both an appreciation for beauty and the creation of beauty. In this way it is both an art and a veneration. We find beauty in the people we love and we create beauty through the love we express. Even the most awkward expressions hold tremendous worth when they are genuine. When I see people with real love for each other there is obvious art in every interaction between them, from the glances of wordless “thank you for being, thank you for blessing me with your beauty” to the gentle gestures of worship.
Through healthy romance we also can more easily recognize our own beauty. Most of us struggle to look past our flaws and failings and find those positive traits to cultivate. Romance is in part a celebration of the beauty of another, but it’s also recognizing the beauty surrounding us and that which resides in us. It’s a sharing of beauty, a collaborative process of creation and worship that can strengthen each person.
Romance, defined in this way, can exist with aberations from love. One can create through acts of romance and appreciate the beauty inherent in another without doing so selflessly. This is one of the easy confusions we can have, to mistake romance for love. There is great good to be gained through romance, but far more when we live with both love and romance. I’d say I’ve always been a romantic person, though perhaps unconventionally so. However, I didn’t manifest love properly, as I said, until I learned to. Since then I’ve not regretted or been unsatisfied by my romances.
Love is a perfect partner for romance. Romance gives the tools for a manifestation of love. Love gives the pure motivation to benefit another and romance gives a method to do so. It’s not always the best way, but when the two are coupled well there’s nothing more magical or rewarding.

As hard as it is to cultivate love and romance, the greater challenge is to learn to understand those we love and their situations well enough to do what it is we can that will benefit them. Especially hard is to know when it’s best to do nothing at all or to mindfully remove ourselves from their lives. It’s easy to veer and believe our actions are helping someone because we want to be helping. This is a failing that can lead to our best intentions being harmful.
How do we learn this? I wish I had the answers. I’m still learning this, still struggling to enhance my mix of intent and proper actions. My second romantic relationship began to teach me of this. The girl I was in love with had deep personal troubles and I did what I thought was best to help her. I failed in that many times, I’m sure, despite my sincere intent. Even now I don’t know what actions would have been best, but I’m ever committed to developing a better sense of this. I’d appreciate any sage advice that might make me better prepared for future loves and romances.

Love and romance are what I wish to dedicate my life to, because they inform everything of value and grant the best perspectives. The path will be challenging but the fruits of them the sweetest. I’ll live for love and live with romance as best I can.

15 comments on “Romantic Manifesto

  1. yes, finally

    you say that if we do something in hope of having personal gain, then it’s not done for love, rather for a lesser intent… but even if we do something for love, there is something to be gained- the satisfaction of knowing we expressed our love, or having the other person know we love them, and that counts as a gain… I think I’m explaining it badly, what I mean is I don’t think ANY action is done in a selfless way… maybe I just don’t have enough faith in people, or maybe I’m too selfish myself.

    I agree in the distinction you make between romance-love and love =/= masochism, but still have some doubts. First, you dismiss your first relationship too easily- could that be because it obviously didn't work out and you're now distanced from it emotionally, so it's easy to come to that conclusion? Maybe you're not in love with that person NOW, but that doesn't mean that what you had together was fake.

    Also, a question that applies to my personal life, is love love, when the other person doesn’t love you back, for whatever reason? That is, does love have to be reciprocal to be real? Is loving someone who doesn’t love you back just kind of a semi self-serving way to feel like a noble, understanding and sacrificing soul?

    heh just curious to hear your thoughts. and procastinating.

  2. Gaby,

    Sure, when we do something with love we often gain. I view love as a motivation. We can have more than one motivation to do something, but I think that having love as the strongest motivator is best. So much that comes from love can be very pleasurable, so it's easy to have a great appreciation for those things on their own. One would have to be a buddha to be always selfless and it's hard to learn to live that way, but I think we become better and happier people when we live more selflessly and want to cultivate that in myself.

    Believe me, I thought very long during the ending of that relationship and thought on it since. I don't believe I'm dismissing the feelings I had then. I genuinely wasn't attracted to the girl I was with's personality and was very much just going throught the motions, doing what I thought I should be doing in the role of a boyfriend. It was noticable to anyone who knew me well that I wasn't content with the relationship. If I had been in love with her I don't believe I would have been so dispassionate. I was simply not as aware of myself and my feelings as I am now.
    The next relationship I had ended in a more painful way and I didn't ever doubt that I had loved the girl I was with. So, I don't think I dismissed the first relationship because of a change in my feelings.

    As I said, I think love is a motivation. People have their own reasons for doing things, so in that way love is a deeply personal thing. It's harder to love someone who treats us badly or doesn't acknowledge our love, but we can still be driven by love. Can you have a loving romance without all people having at least some degree of love for each other? I think that's harder to say for sure.

    I don't think someone can intentionally be noble, understanding and sacrificing in a genuine way if it's done for themselves, but sure, the desire to seem that way can motivate anyone. By the way I define it, though, that's not love.

    I hope I've made some sense here. If not, I'll try to clarify.

  3. Love is in its broken down, basic essence, a desire for someone to be happy in your company. Someone who wants to be with you, to see, hear, feel the same things you do. And be happy in doing it.

    There really isn't much “sacrifice” involved when you find ways to maintain that happiness. The gains are permanent, and will always outweigh any short-term notions you may have had that wouldn't have led to the path of happiness in companionship.

  4. yes, finally

    you say that if we do something in hope of having personal gain, then it’s not done for love, rather for a lesser intent… but even if we do something for love, there is something to be gained- the satisfaction of knowing we expressed our love, or having the other person know we love them, and that counts as a gain… I think I’m explaining it badly, what I mean is I don’t think ANY action is done in a selfless way… maybe I just don’t have enough faith in people, or maybe I’m too selfish myself.

    I agree in the distinction you make between romance-love and love =/= masochism, but still have some doubts. First, you dismiss your first relationship too easily- could that be because it obviously didn't work out and you're now distanced from it emotionally, so it's easy to come to that conclusion? Maybe you're not in love with that person NOW, but that doesn't mean that what you had together was fake.

    Also, a question that applies to my personal life, is love love, when the other person doesn’t love you back, for whatever reason? That is, does love have to be reciprocal to be real? Is loving someone who doesn’t love you back just kind of a semi self-serving way to feel like a noble, understanding and sacrificing soul?

    heh just curious to hear your thoughts. and procastinating.

  5. Gaby,

    Sure, when we do something with love we often gain. I view love as a motivation. We can have more than one motivation to do something, but I think that having love as the strongest motivator is best. So much that comes from love can be very pleasurable, so it's easy to have a great appreciation for those things on their own. One would have to be a buddha to be always selfless and it's hard to learn to live that way, but I think we become better and happier people when we live more selflessly and want to cultivate that in myself.

    Believe me, I thought very long during the ending of that relationship and thought on it since. I don't believe I'm dismissing the feelings I had then. I genuinely wasn't attracted to the girl I was with's personality and was very much just going throught the motions, doing what I thought I should be doing in the role of a boyfriend. It was noticable to anyone who knew me well that I wasn't content with the relationship. If I had been in love with her I don't believe I would have been so dispassionate. I was simply not as aware of myself and my feelings as I am now.
    The next relationship I had ended in a more painful way and I didn't ever doubt that I had loved the girl I was with. So, I don't think I dismissed the first relationship because of a change in my feelings.

    As I said, I think love is a motivation. People have their own reasons for doing things, so in that way love is a deeply personal thing. It's harder to love someone who treats us badly or doesn't acknowledge our love, but we can still be driven by love. Can you have a loving romance without all people having at least some degree of love for each other? I think that's harder to say for sure.

    I don't think someone can intentionally be noble, understanding and sacrificing in a genuine way if it's done for themselves, but sure, the desire to seem that way can motivate anyone. By the way I define it, though, that's not love.

    I hope I've made some sense here. If not, I'll try to clarify.

  6. Love is in its broken down, basic essence, a desire for someone to be happy in your company. Someone who wants to be with you, to see, hear, feel the same things you do. And be happy in doing it.

    There really isn't much “sacrifice” involved when you find ways to maintain that happiness. The gains are permanent, and will always outweigh any short-term notions you may have had that wouldn't have led to the path of happiness in companionship.

  7. no, you did make sense 🙂

    anyway, theorizing isnt really my thing, i always think its sort of pointless as when it happens, you'll know
    and what if the person you love doesn't agree on your carefully elaborated definition of love?
    etc :p

  8. I suppose there's something to that. I like having a clear idea about what I believe, though. It's not so much to explain to someone I love as it is to clarify my thoughts. If someone doesn't agree with my thinking, it doesn't bother me much; plenty of people wouldn't.

  9. no, you did make sense 🙂

    anyway, theorizing isnt really my thing, i always think its sort of pointless as when it happens, you'll know
    and what if the person you love doesn't agree on your carefully elaborated definition of love?
    etc :p

  10. I suppose there's something to that. I like having a clear idea about what I believe, though. It's not so much to explain to someone I love as it is to clarify my thoughts. If someone doesn't agree with my thinking, it doesn't bother me much; plenty of people wouldn't.

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