By Shalan Savur
If we feel the other loves us less, it means that we have not been loving. the other is a mirror of our own attitude
From the moment of birth, we yearn for affection. The Sanskrit word for affection is ‘sneha’, which also means oil. It is derived from the verb root ‘snih’, to grease. Affection is the ingredient that greases the wheels of our relationships without which the areas where we are joined to others will only chafe, grate and grind.
The commonly used word for love is ‘preman’ (Sanskrit), in spoken languages simply ‘prema’. Its verb root is ‘pri’ (pronounced pree), to please, to be pleased, to grant and receive pleasure, to be pleasant, to make all things and events around us pleasant by the power of this love. The word also phonetically, if not lexically, suggests the root for fullness, being filled, being made full and complete. Even though atman, the spiritual self, is full in itself, we are at present in the bondage of ego. Therefore, we seek that which will complete us; we are drawn to it/him/her. We seek to please the object of our attraction and we are pleased when the other responds. The mutual response gives us a sense of being complete, and a pleasant mind. The loving person and the one who is loved, think pleasant thoughts, speak pleasantly, perform actions that would please the other, and would give the other likewise a sense of completeness, of being filled. If all of this is happening naturally, we know that we love. This remains true of all love whether between a sister/brother, parent/child, couple, friend/neighbour, teacher/student, guru/disciple, and finally devotee/deity.
If our claim of love does not hold true in this all-round sense, inside us we know that we have not loved and yet we want fulfilment. That is where our insecurity about the possible discontinuity or loss of affection comes. It is a projection of our lack of loving towards others. If we feel the other loves us less, it means that we have not been loving; the other is a mirror of our own attitude.
If we feel that we are not receiving the esteem we deserve, that is a sure sign that we have not been granting the deserved esteem to the other. I often hear people say, “I did so much for her; I granted her every wish; I respect her so much, but all I get is disdain.” The other party says the same thing about you. Each is a mirror of the other. Have you tried giving care and esteem without seeking the same? Try it and see what happens. But if you do it as though signing a contract, “If I get love, I will give love; if I give esteem, I expect esteem in return” – you have lost it. You have lost it, and you will remain insecure and will continue to fear the loss of affection and esteem. Dear Mr Husband, when she is tired, have you tried to soothe her headache? Have you (horrors for an Indian husband!) offered to cook or wash dishes? Have you done so without expecting some special favour or pleasure in return but simply feel rewarded by the fact that the spouse thereby felt better, happier, soothed, and that her smile returned?
You two have quarrelled. Your ego does not want to bend down. It does not wish to say, “Sorry, it was partly again my fault.” Stay outwardly angry and proud, but quietly slip a string of jasmine under her pillow when she is not looking. Say nothing. Let us see what happens. Do the same again the next day. These are the antidotes to your insecurity and fear. You may devise similar tools in dealing with anyone whose love and esteem you fear to lose. He has been speaking ill of you. Praise him behind his back. But not hypocritically. Reflect on the good qualities they have, appreciate them in your mind, and then express that appreciation to others.
These acts will change your mood. The vibration thereby emanating from you will create a positive field, making you a magnet towards which the other will be drawn. Does a magnet fear the loss of the affection of the needles that cling to it because of its magnetic attraction?
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