Beauty and Love

Today I see the astonishing beauty of women, and it brings tears to my eyes.

I didn’t used to. If I noticed the beauty of a woman, I might fall in love with her. And then suffer the pains of unrequited love. Or the sting of rejection. Or maybe make her feel bad that she would need to reject me. Or she might be made to feel uncomfortable by my attention or desire.

Or even worse, maybe, what if she actually said “yes” to a relationship? And what if she fell in love with me, but I wasn’t all that she needed or wanted in a partner? What if she loved me but was frustrated or disappointed by me? What if I broke her heart if I also loved someone else, or fell out of love with her?

So it was better not to look too closely.

This past weekend I went to Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Life Workshop. The topic was how to be financially secure while following your path with a heart: the path of happiness, meaning, and fulfillment.

Many people desire to have a particular lifestyle, but find themselves doing work or making money in a way that conflicts with it. The solution Steve described is to first figure out what kind of lifestyle you want or need, and then pursue work and money opportunities that fit in with that lifestyle… and reject those that don’t.

This Hobson’s choice is very powerful. By rejecting partial matches that aren’t congruent with your goals, you create space to find opportunities that are.

Personal development principles are universal, so even though the topic of the workshop was finance and lifestyle, I found myself thinking about personal relationships.

I feel no need for a woman to be exclusive to me. If a woman wishes to be in a relationship with me, I don’t mind or care if she is in relationships with other people as well. In fact, I think it’s better if she does, because then she can get all her needs and wants met, instead of being stuck with just my attributes.

I only want to make love to a woman if she desires me to make love to her.

Or, to put it another way, when I love a woman, I wish to love her as much as she wishes to be loved.

Which might be just a smile, or just a conversation, or just a cuddle, or just a kiss. Which is beautiful. I don’t actually wish to kiss a woman if she doesn’t wish to be kissed. I want to love her in the way that she wants to be loved.

So then I thought, well, what if I offered the Hobson’s choice that I would only love a woman when she wanted me to love her? I’m not looking for a commitment that she would love me sometimes when she didn’t feel like it, even a commitment within the setting of an open relationship. What are the consequences?

One consequence naturally is that there will be many woman who might otherwise want to be with me who aren’t looking for a connection on these terms. For whom monogamy or a committed poly relationship is the right choice. That’s the nature of a Hobson’s choice: you’re closing off possibilities. You offer the choice of the option or not, and there are many people who will choose the “not”.

Another consequence is that I don’t get to have any expectations. I can offer, but I don’t know if I will get a cuddle, a kiss, to make love… today, tomorrow, next week, next month.

I have a fun hobby where I’ll go out to an art festival sometimes and give away hugs. Some evenings no one will want a hug, and I enjoy wandering around the festival anyway. Other evenings lots of people will want hugs. I never try to get anyone to hug me. Sometimes someone will point to a friend and say “she wants a hug!” or “he wants a hug!” And I’ll turn to him or her and ask, “do you want a hug?” Often they’ll say “no”, sometimes they’ll say “yes”.

1 out of 20 people at the festival will want a hug. Do I feel rejected by the 19 out of 20? Of course not. Maybe they don’t want a hug, or don’t want a hug from me, or don’t want a hug this evening, or would otherwise would like a hug but can’t because of some conflict or another. Does it matter? It doesn’t matter! I offer hugs, that’s my only role. If you’re not smoking or abusive or wearing a jacket with spikes, you can have a hug. If you want one.

So what is love, in the context of this Hobson’s choice? I feel love, I feel the emotion of love… and how does it manifest? What is the result?

What difference does it make?

Well, the way it affects the world is in willingness. If I feel love, if I feel attraction, I’m willing to kiss you, if you wish to be kissed.

This kind of love simply exists or doesn’t exist. I might not feel like kissing someone for lots of reasons. But that isn’t something I choose: all I can do is simply admit that I feel this love or not. The truth that I feel love is already there.

In Steve Pavlina’s book Personal Development for Smart People, the combination of Love and Truth is Oneness: the realization that we are already connected.

Of course, I do have choice over my actions. I don’t have to go around telling people that I love them when that would rude, alarming, or intrusive.

Like learning any new skill for the first time, I’m starting off awkward and sometimes a little clumsy. I can be too timid and not express myself when I could have, or be too abrupt and graceless. Sometimes I feel negative emotions. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say or do.

But the results, at least for me, for own my personality, for who I am… are extraordinary: by accepting truth, I can see women. And it’s amazing.