Witness to Love
There is something wonderful about witnessing someone experiencing being in love.
There is a lightness about their being, a spryness in their walk, a twinkle in their eyes, and just the hint of a smile on their lips. You can see it a mile away and, when in close quarters, it almost feels like those feelings flow out and lift up those around them. There is a certain energy in that which is just delectable, like the sweetness of the honey flowing out of an over-full beehive bringing in eager bears who wanted the same in their life. That is just exactly the kind of energy that attracts and one to the person in love.
It is a story you find in every major love story - the story of the ubiquitous best friend who is helping out the one in love, who does all the labour of creating situations or escaping people that are against the lovers, just so the lover can get closer and closer to the object of their love. Shakespeare had it, and the old classics have it in whatever language you read them in, whether in Sanskrit or Tamil or Kannada or any other languages - the trope of the friend helping out the person in love is always there. Even in most of the modern love stories on screens, there is a wingperson or two for the star or the stars of the film. The love of the leads is only one part of the story - the stories of those supporting the lovers and even basking in it are rarely the centre of the stories we read or watch but they are just as rich and sometimes even sweeter that the main love story as it were.
In real life, it might not happen as often as one might like. Perhaps one would be lucky to have helped a friend or two find each other, fall in love and enjoy that experience. In families, maybe the odd sibling or cousin might have had the experience. The rare parent might experience the sweetness of seeing their child go through these feelings, and if they did much of the parenting really right, might even be allowed to participate in bringing that together. If and when one really sees it happen, it is like seeing magic unfold in front of you and that is really something special and wholly different from experiencing it for oneself - somewhat like watching an artist paint a masterpiece versus just seeing the finished work of art.
The jealous sibling or the covetous neighbour who would kill to try and take the love for oneself, only to see it disappear in tears knows this - the pleasure of seeing something as magnificent as love expressing itself and truly enjoying it requires one very special characteristic - the ability to witness without envy, a compassion that seeks not to possess but just to appreciate, a spirit that can enable without needing to own for oneself.
Loving others being in love is something precious in itself..
As written for The New Indian Express
As written for and published by The New Indian Express
The initial period when you are falling in love can be quite heady. You are seeing someone, and they seem just perfect, you are both doing everything you imagined you would be doing, and all is swell in the world. You are floating through your day with a smile so big that nothing can shake it. Your time away from each other is spend dreaming up ways to spend time together, and it is so difficult to keep your hands away from your mobile to just check your messages, or look at their insta post or somehow just connect. It is such a beautiful and content place in the privacy of the cozy little world of just the two of you.
Love can be addictive like that.
It takes a while, but eventually, you recognize that your worlds need to integrate, or maybe it is just that your friends pester you to be introduced to your special someone, and you give in. You will probably do a whole lot of preparatory talk on both sides – talk about your new love to your friends and tell your lover about each of your friends, their quirks, interests, their weirdness and all that you can think of, before engineering a situation where both worlds can collide and you can do nothing more but stay back and watch how things unfold.
It is one thing if everyone loves each other right away, but what when not all your friends don’t seem to be OK with your new love? In fact, some of them are a lot more than not OK – they seem to see a whole different person than what you see and love. Where you see a charming, goofy person, they see an intrusive, obtrusive person. Where you see a naive, guileless person, they see a self-absorbed, social climber. Where you see a spontaneous, affectionate person, they see an aggressive, irritating person who doesn’t respect boundaries.
Or vice versa: your new lover has strongly negative reactions to people you have known for years.
You may not even pick up that there are some hostilities in the air as everyone tries to play nice. They probably give each other a fair bit of time, and you start to relax when – Boom! Things hit the roof, and everything is in the open, and it becomes one versus the other. You might try to mediate, but nothing works.
What do you do under such circumstances? How do you choose between a new love and old friends? There are many break-ups because the new love can’t stand your old friends, and possibly equal number of lost friendships because the two worlds just couldn’t see eye to eye. Is it the headiness of your love that blinded you to your lover’s unsightly underbelly? Or, are your old friendships so stale that they can’t see this new, bright light and seek to undermine it?
Short of extreme negative revelations, you just have to choose as you can and only time can tell which love was more true.
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.