[Also published here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/04/is-love-supposed-to-be-automatic--rajni-tripathi/]
To the quintessential romantic — yes, love is automatic, to the skeptic, rational or experienced — no, love is definitely anything but.
People say that falling in love is like being high on drugs. Attraction, which brings two strangers together, and the progression of ‘falling in love’ are indeed chemical processes in which our lovely hormones and neurotransmitters (oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine etc.), set forth our whimsical mind into fantasy and the lovely feelings of euphoria.
Oh the infatuation and joy we experience during the initial phase of a new relationship. Simply delicious!
Then comes the transition; moving from being strangers to something more. It’s the stepping-stone and, albeit bona fide frog-jump that takes us from infatuation to actual love. You go from being drugged up on euphoria to taking care of that developed emotion as if it were a beloved plant. This requires patience and a plethora of other skills to keep it growing and healthy, which includes the tantamount task to avoid or limit that characteristic which is in our biological system: being selfish.
Selfishness is in our primordial make-up. Being selfish entails survival of the fittest. It’s something that, along with intuition, ensured that our ancestors continued the human race. Luckily, thousands of years of communities, generated societal conditioning, revolutions, and rounds of new ageism have allowed us to evolve the inherited trait of selfishness to a reasonable degree. That being said, it does rear its ugly head and sometimes, it has a nasty habit of going unrecognized. In such cases, beloved plants and relationships start to wither.
For all those experienced, and rational individuals out there, it is a recognized fact that love is all about sustaining. It’s certainly not automatic. We are not humanoids wherein we press a button in our brains and thus a switch is activated.
Love is about being vigilant towards your partner to the point where it becomes natural. Love is about knowing that everything in the world is worth it and every sacrifice is minute in its face.
Yes, the range and depth of all emotions that are by-products of being in this state are immensely complex, and yet they don’t have to be. It doesn’t take much to love someone, if a person can allow that emotion to dictate and nothing else.
As Elizabeth Browning said,
Love doesn’t make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.