We’re all born in this world as free human beings. We’re free to explore the world and enjoy what life has to offer, we’re free to choose our experiences and to learn, and we’re free to grow and become the person that we really want to be. Or at least, that’s how it was supposed to be. Because as it is right now, instead of being free we’re being severely limited by society in many different ways. Not only are we being limited, but we’re also being indoctrinated from early childhood with the wrong information and beliefs about almost all aspects of life. And one area where this is especially the case is when it comes to the concept of love.
People grow up to believe that when they love someone, they should want that person only for themselves. They learn that they should demand exclusivity in their relationships, even though that prevents the ones they supposedly love to be able to live their lives as they please. The comparison I often like to make is with the so called “bird lovers.” These people supposedly love birds so much that they keep them in captivity for most of their lives. It’s as if they cannot understand that by keeping the bird captive in a small cage, they confine the bird to a limited and miserable life and deprive it of all the freedom and experiences it could otherwise have had in nature. Not only that, but in their selfishness, they also prevent other people from being able to enjoy the positive experiences the bird could have brought into their lives. If these people really loved birds, wouldn’t it be more logical for them to let the birds be free so they could enjoy everything nature has to offer them? There’s so much more for them to experience in nature than there is locked up in a small cage.
In a society that is based on scarcity, which is needed to control and manipulate people, people become motivated by greed, become selfish and start hoarding. They live in fear of what they have to lose. So when it comes to love, they desperately try to hold on to their loved ones, even while severely limiting and hurting them in the process. They claim the person they supposedly love as their property. “He’s my man,” or “she’s my girl,” they say, while demanding exclusivity. At the same time they remain blind to the fact that it’s exactly this behavior of locking someone inside an exclusive relationship and limiting their freedoms, that will eventually backfire and lead to big problems. People naturally want to be free and restricting them in any way will cause them to (subconsciously) rebel against those restrictions in the long term. As a result people who were once deeply in love start having big fights regularly and eventually break up, and in extreme cases even go on to hate each other and go to great lengths to hurt each other. Very few people ask themselves how it can be that lovers can grow to hate each other after getting married or being in a relationship with each other. You just have to look around you in society to see how many of such cases there are. In really extreme cases people are even driven into murdering their ex-lovers. What kind of a sick society are we living in?
Take a look at what psychoanalyst Karen Horney M.D. indicated in her article “The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal”:
[…] the overestimation of love leads to disillusionment; the desire to possess the partner results in the partner wanting to escape; and the taboos against sex result in non-fulfillment. Disillusionment plus the desire to escape plus non-fulfillment result in a secret hostility, which causes the other partner to feel alienated. Secret hostility in one and secret alienation in the other cause the partners to secretly hate each other. This secret hate often leads one or the other or both to seek love objects outside the marriage or relationship.
So the question of why it is that people that are so much in love with each other can slowly grow to hate each other after getting married or being in a relationship, gets answered here by Dr. Horney. And the evidence that this is indeed happening can be found all around us in society. People complain about how difficult it is to find love these days while they fail to realize that it’s exactly this behavior of demanding exclusivity and restricting people to love that is making love scarce.
If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation. Osho
We have to stop treating people we love like our property and we have to start respecting the freedom of each individual. It’s like Jacque Fresco says in the interview below: “Love is to stop climbing on people and making demands on them and give them space to live. And give them the opportunity to grow. And try to help them grow.”
Love is to let people live their lives in complete freedom and to even help them in any way you can along the way, even if they prefer to be with someone else. Like I wrote a few years ago, when you’re able to do that it’s a sign of true love:
This is the ultimate test of true love, because when you love someone, naturally you’re going to want to be with that person and be loved back by that person. You’re going to want it really bad. I don’t think that I have to explain how seriously strong this feeling can be; I’m sure you know. So if you can stand the fact that this person would prefer, and would in fact be happier, with someone else, then that is already an accomplishment. But if you can also truly feel happy for that person while you have to let him/her go with someone else, then, I think, that is more than enough proof of true love.
And if we allowed people the freedom to be able to love as many people as they like, and to be able to receive love from as many people as they like, then there would be an abundance of love in society. Not only that, but people would have a much richer life with many more experiences that would help them to grow and reach their full potential. They’d be able to receive love and help from as many people as they needed at any given time in order to have a fulfilling life:
Just think about it, do you really think there’s one person out there that can satisfy all your needs? Everyone is different, and in everyone you’ll find some things that you like. However, you’ll also find that they can’t give you certain things that you’re looking for. Instead of being unsatisfied and trying to make it work with one person and limiting yourself in the process, you’re supposed to go out and find others who can fill in the gaps. For example, if you’re a guy, today you can spend time with Sarah, who just likes to go out, party and have fun. But tomorrow you can spend time with Nicole, with whom you can have really deep conversations about important things that matter to you; the kind of conversations you simply can’t have with Sarah. If you couldn’t have Nicole, you’d be expecting Sarah to have the deep conversations with you and since she’s not very interested, it would cause trouble in your relationship with her. Since you can satisfy your need for deep conversations with Nicole, you don’t have to bother Sarah with that and can focus on doing the things that you can do together with her. When you’re not with Sarah, she’s also free to do things with others that you can’t do with her. And so on.
Think of how much richer your life might be in such a case, how many more experiences you’d be able to have, how many more people you’d be able to meet. You’d be completely free, without limitations with regard to who you can love and spend time with. You’d be able to love and be loved without limitations. You’d be able to reach out to all those different people to help to satisfy you and help you grow to what you want to be in life.
Like Osho says in the interview below, “I’ve been against marriage from the very beginning because it means cutting down your freedom. […] freedom is the ultimate value in life. There’s nothing higher than freedom.”
So if you truly love someone, do not deprive them, and especially do not deprive yourself, of this ultimate value in life. Indeed absolute freedom is the basic and most essential thing a person should have to be able to live an enjoyable life. Instead of being selfish and locking someone in an exclusive relationship with you, let them be free to bring value into the lives of others as well. This means allowing them the freedom to choose who they want to love and spend their time with, how many people they want to love (apart from you) etc. etc. As far as true love is concerned, there’s no room for jealousy. Jealousy can only exist in a society that is based on fear and scarcity, where people are being restricted, where abundance is suppressed and where people become selfish and are taken over by greed in an effort to protect and retain the little bit of love that they are able to get from someone.
Like Elbert Hubbard said: “The love we give away is the only love we keep.” When we live in a society where people are free to love, there will eventually be an abundance of love for everyone, everywhere.