We are all standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to set off a revolution or social change, but little do we know that love and revolution are intertwined and inseparable, a true revolutionary is always guided by the feeling of love, without which, revolution is nothing but violence.
As John Keating from ‘Dead Poets Society’ said and I quote, “medicine, law, business, engineering, all these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for”, so let us take a moment from our busy lives and normalize talking about love and conundrums that coincide with it.
This is a piece born from my serious concerns for all the over-emotional, woolly, cold and chaotic people who are constantly struggling in their romantic relationships. I request you to introspect and question your self doubts which you have not mastered yet. Have you ever noticed why you’re allowing yourself to be treated like a doormat but flaking on people who actually care for you? Why do you fixate on people who seems to be less interested, but in the presence of a potentially available candidate, you become so demanding and unreasonable in your requests that no sane soul would remain in contention? Why do you always want love to hurt you atrociously and go nowhere? And most importantly, why do you get bored of people the moment they start reciprocating your love? If you can answer these questions, congratulations, but if not, you are yet to know yourself.
In a study of more than 1,000 men and women, Dr. Shaver, a well known psychologist and proponent of Attachment theory was able to identify three distinct types of romantic styles: anxious type, secure type, avoidant type.
In the “anxious” type, people’s experiences in infancy and early childhood have made them fearful of being abandoned by people they love. As adults, such people are emotionally demanding of their romantic partners. In contrast, the “secure” type has had more positive experiences with being loved in childhood, and so has more realistic expectations of mature relationships in adulthood. And the third and most common category is “avoidant” type, whose childhood was lacking of secure, loving relationships, hence they tend to shy away from romantic link-ups. Similar to the character played by Alia Bhatt in Dear Zindagi, because of the fear of another let down, they prefer crashing the plane than to see how it might land.
What I mean by ‘secure and loving relationships’ here is, being loved by people in the very start of your journey as a protection against the subsequent neglect of the world, because that’s how you acquire the art of looking sympathetically on your cracked and troublesome being. As an infant, it is simply not in your remit to believe in yourself on your own, you need someone to boost you up on every minor step in life because without that, even the eternal admiration of millions won’t ever be able to convince you of your goodness, unless and until you get above yourself and trust me, it’s not easy but also, not impossible.
As an avoidant type, you don’t consider yourself worthy of someone’s love or to be with someone who can soothe you or stroke your hair and tell you that it will all be okay, instead you’re happy with people who are not all-in because that’s what you think you deserve. Because of low self-esteem, you engage in bread-crumbing. Whenever you feel low or empty, you slide into the DMs of 4-5 potential partners, not because you actually want to have a conversation with them, but just to keep them interested because you breed on attention and their unbroken attention is the constant source of validation for you.
You are always told that happiness lies in achieving self-enhancing goals such as career, success, wealth, fame, or power. The need to love and care for others is rarely emphasized, except perhaps in the arts but it’s time to decontrol yourself. Prioritizing your career doesn’t mean sacrificing the things which are personally meaningful to you. Loving people or getting loved back and achieving things in your professional life are not mutually exclusive. By contrast, knowing that someone has your back, no matter what happens is a key for pushing the boundaries of possibility in your professional life. Also, from the scientific standpoint, oxytocin released as a result of physical intimacy puts you in a peak state for creativity. Physical touch, in the form of hugs and holding hands, has been shown to reduce cortisol, lowering stress and strengthening your immune system.
Now that you know the importance of being loved, know that expressing love or compassion for others is equally important. Love is potent, only when you’re not just a beggar, recipient of affection but also the person who delivers. When you are generous, the story you tell yourself is that you have everything you need and more, which is why you can afford to be generous.
Small acts of kindness generate just as much happiness as do lofty acts. In an interesting set of studies by Michael Norton, a psychology professor at Harvard, the participants were either given $5 or $20 as part of an experiment. Participants in both groups were then asked to either spend the money on themselves or on others. Those who spent the money on others, it turned out, grew happier than those who spent it on themselves. More interestingly, the amount of money spent on others didn’t make a difference on happiness levels: those who spent $5 derived just as much happiness as those who spent $20.
When you are an avoidant type, it’s hard to settle with the people around, without getting dissuaded from their mediocrity, selfishness and idiocy, but keeping yourself sane and consistent when it comes to generosity and love is what life is, it’s not some chick flick, but another name for struggle. Learn to separate out the verdict of today from the emotional verdict you are carrying around with you. Learn to appreciate yourself as well as others even for their smallest of the small efforts. Learn that your past traumas are not your present reality.
You need to control your anxiety instead of running away from it, because that’s cowardice. It will leave you forever incapable of rising above it. Your anxiety should not be keeping you from improving, it should be directed to motivate you. Be strong enough to tolerate ambiguity, practice minimalism so that tomorrow when you encounter something you weren’t ready for, you can still be your confident self.
Lastly, consider your childhood traumas as a nudge from the universe to become more courageous and resilient, and once you overcome all your anxieties, you’re all set to see if someone you like might want to go out tonight!
Sadaf Parvez is a student pursuing Law from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Nuzhat Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.