How To Know If Love Is Real
Question from a reader:
There are so many ways to answer this question and so much to say about your particular situation, I’m almost struggling with where to start. Some of us, myself included, struggle with balancing our heads with our hearts. One of my greatest challenges has been allowing myself to fully love someone and allowing people to fully love me. I try to convince myself with all sorts of reasons why it’s not love – attachment, codependency, fulfilling psychological needs. All of it is really just my ego’s insidious way of telling me that I’m not truly worthy of love.
“How can I really know if I love someone? The thing is this guy has a girlfriend but we are “together” since October last year. I have suffered a lot (but I grew up a lot) and now my mind tells me to put a limit, but my heart still wants to be with him. What should I listen to? I think I love him, but my mind tells me I don’t love him. Maybe not to suffer anymore? I’m struggling.”
I know that conventional wisdom would tell you, and probably a lot of my other readers, that if he really loved you, he’d be with you and not his girlfriend. But I know that life isn’t that simple. The heart is complicated. People are complicated. And fear makes people do crazy things.
I’ve been in similarly complicated situations in my lifetime and I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and about love through them. When you feel like you’re unworthy of love, you’ll attract to yourself and create situations that will reflect that emotion back to you. Whether or not the other person loves you isn’t even the point of it – it’s about whether or not you love you.
We can create these situations in a couple of ways – we may truly love this person and they may love us, but our inability to fully love ourselves creates an inability to be with them in the way we truly want. This puts us in a difficult position of wanting something that we’re unable to have, and that creates suffering.
The other way that we put ourselves in these situations is by falling for someone that we don’t truly love, but our need for validation from someone outside of ourselves is so strong that we seek it out, regardless of how inconvenient or unhealthy the relationship may be. This is what we would refer to as attachment. Once again, this puts us in a difficult position of wanting something that we’re unable to have – in this case, the validation of receiving the other person’s love – and that creates suffering.
You can both love someone, AND need their validation in an unhealthy way. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
My advice to you, to discover whether or not you really love this guy and if it’s worth it to you to wait around for him is this:
First, discover whether or not you love yourself. Ask yourself, what would your ideal situation look like? What is missing from your current situation? Do you deserve your ideal situation? If so, why are you settling for anything less? If not, why not? Listen to that quiet voice in back of your mind. Hear what it says when you ask yourself these questions. Many times, the things it has to say are pretty negative, but we don’t want to acknowledge it, so we ignore it and shove it back down into our subconscious.
Hear it. Acknowledge it. Bring it into the light. This will help you release it.
To answer your question directly, how can you really know if you love someone? Real love is unconditional. It is given freely and asks for nothing in return. Real self love means knowing that you are deserving of receiving real love, and it will settle for nothing less.