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July 25, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Healthy Minds On Campus – “Love is not a victory march; it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah”

Literature, songs and counselling rooms are littered with the satisfied and dissatisfied murmurings of the stories of intimate relationships from those amongst us with a story to tell. And, in the end, we all have a story to tell!

Shakespeare wrote about love being difficult in that “the course of true love never did run smooth” and as being full of desire, suggesting to us to “speak low if you speak love”. Leonard Cohen, always the narrative lover, sang that love is an ever-nebulous thing that just occurs: “… I didn’t fall in love of course, it’s never up to you, but she was walking back and forth, and I was passing through”. That isn’t always so; when Cohen was ruminating upon his “…reputation as a ladies’ man, [that] was a joke that caused [him] to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights [he] spent alone”.

What seems to be clear about love is that satisfying intimate relationships are felt by many to be important in engaging us in a meaningful way to our social world, maybe even contributing to happiness. Without this engagement we can feel, isolated, lonely, longing and jealousy. It appears most of us want some form of relationship and over the years it has become noticeable to me that satisfying relationships can be done in many ways. But how to find love nirvana seems to be a very consistent question when we don’t have it—and how do we make it stay when we do?

In his book “Love & Awakening” (1996), John Welwood suggests that we need to start with connecting more deeply with ourselves so that we can connect with our partner(s). To achieve this task, he suggests we start out by addressing the question that inevitably arises in every relationship: “What am I doing here [in this relationship]? Is this really worth the struggle?” To me, it seems that Welwood is suggesting that relationships are hard work! But none of us want our relationships to be hard work, do we? And if we do, what is the work to do? These musings can be responded to in many ways, with two of the most prominent responses being: “don’t worry about it, I don’t need love anyway”, which seems to be a lot about don’t and so usually doesn’t feel right (as, inevitably, we keep worrying about it). Another response might be “what could I try…?” which feels nice and supportive and, if we find a ‘way of doing’ that feels right, it genuinely helps.

So, what to try?
• Make a decision to work out how ‘you’ will do relationships: what are your needs?
• Build a capacity to trust by investing something of yourself in all your relationships (even with your parents and lecturers!)
• Meet with people, any people, and be interested by paying attention to them
• Communicate congruently (i.e. be real)
• Touch base with counselling to develop your capacity to relate

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  1. Kailey says:

    This is the perfect way to break down this inofmraiton.

  2. click here says:

    Is it okay to put a portion of this in my personal blog if I post a reference to this site?

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