To love or be loved? Sorry for borrowing lines from Jason Mraz, he is my latest jam and I cannot stop obsessing. Okay, so let us throw some light on the big question. What feels better: to love someone or be loved? Well, I am sorry to take the route of the romantic and say, loving is the better experience if at all there can be a comparison. Yes, there will be loud shouts of agreements and curses at once but hear me out before you choose a side. Here are a couple of reasons why loving someone is so much more fulfilling than being loved.
To Love Or Be Loved?
To love is the way to go anyone would say. Ryan and Valena fell in love at a time when both of them found it hard to see a future together. Valena’s husband was wheelchair bound after an accident. He only had her for support and Ryan was father to an autistic child. They used to work together and talk about their difficult circumstances. They became an emotional support for each other and eventually fell in love.
“But our love was a strange one. We always knew we had to prioritise family. If I got back late from work Ryan would often drop in to check on my husband and if Ryan had to go out with his wife he would drop off his daughter at my place,” said Valena.
In their relationship they knew that they couldn’t really dream being together ditching their respective spouses but they felt loved in each other’s company and Valena said, “I realised there is a satisfaction in loving someone without expecting anything from him.”
So if we are debating about to love or to be loved, to be loved tends to win hands down because there are a lot of people out there who would tell you they have been in one-sided love and never regretted it, some would say that they are still in love with their ex and if they are in any kind of trouble they would be the first ones to be by their side.
1. From being loved to loving someone
Most of us who are privileged to be brought up by parents have been born with a silver spoon with regard to love. Parents treat us with an evergreen spring of unconditional love where being loved is one of the most natural feeling to have.
As we grow up, we realise the importance of parental love, but we spend most of our youth not finding an exceptional need to show love or be aware of loving them, because no matter what the conditions are, being loved is taken for granted.
So when we get introduced to the experience of loving someone, taking care of another person’s needs, likes and dislikes alongside our own, it is a much more enriching feeling that cuts new facets on our emotional self.
2. Love grows even without reciprocation
Loving, when understood in theory, feels like a lot of giving and very little receiving. But over time, as we tread life and undergo emotional maturity, we come to terms with the reality of love: it is an emotion that grows in solitude.
Love grows and gives, irrespective of reciprocation. We often feel frustrated with ourselves when after a relationship ends we successfully get used to everything else but loving. Loving is a feeling of liberation and a catharsis of the soul that is dragged through the grime of life.
In being loved back, we find a response to loving, but the act of loving in itself is a gratification. You have the entire agency in the act of loving, where you call the shots and you enjoy the elation of it.
3. Loving someone does not mean you stalk
In many of our life experiences, we have realised loving is in your control, while being loved is a beast in the dark, it can be a shy one that tends to itself or it can be a raging maniac.
Yes, I mean being loved when not loving back. The many myths of the horrors of stalking are mostly all true. Often, the experience of being loved can vault into an experience of trauma and surely none of us are in the need of that.
Stalking someone in the name of love could be pathetic. But this happens. You could have the most loving person in your life one moment, but in the next you could find out that they they have been checking your smartphone messages and have hacked your social media accounts.
The person who has done it might just justify it saying that it’s about loving someone with all their heart but you know it’s not right at all. Stalking is a punishable offence.
Related reading: 5 Bollywood movies which show love in an arranged marriage
4. Guilt about being loved by someone
In being loved and not loving back, there are buckets of guilt that are misplaced but very much present. For the child in us who likes to be pampered is overwhelmed by the adult who is burdened by the guilt of taking too much.
Feeling loved is more overwhelming than fulfilling. The peace in loving someone and finding out the human capability of connecting to someone to that extent is a celebration of the self. But in being loved comes the responsibility of another’s relationship, which becomes a spot of remorse when the emotion is not shared.
Even when the emotion is reciprocated, there is an anxiety of doing justice to another’s emotion which is an experience everyone must undergo in a relationship, still I would pick loving over loved. So, more than validation, there is fulfillment in the open-handed act of loving another person.
5. Keep loving despite the heartbreak
Moving on after a heartbreak is so difficult because you cannot stop loving the person, despite the fact that they may not love you anymore. People break up after cheating, fraud, scams and are deeply hurt by their respective partners but they cannot stop loving them.
Genia’s husband asked for a divorce when their daughter was 3 months old. A celebrity had fallen for him and he could not resist the idea of marrying a famous person. Genia did not fight in court over alimony, took whatever he gave, moved house, brought up her daughter and to the world she moved on.
But in her heart she forgave her husband but could not stop loving him. “It’s been 15 years since then but when I cook his favourite dish, when I smell a whiff of his perfume on someone or when I see someone with heart-sign car keys that I gave him, memories come like a deluge. I still well up sometimes. Because I still love him dearly despite what happened.”
Genia further elucidates, “Like falling in love is not in your hands falling out of love is not in your hands either. So you keep loving the person despite the circumstances and after the initial pain of losing them you actually enjoy the lingering feeling of love.”
So when we are talking about to love or be loved which emotion is more fulfilling we know loving someone could come with a price but it is more fulfilling there is no denying that.