Q.If you love a person to the extreme, and he or she doesn't love you, do you have the right to still love that particular person?
A. Everyone has the right to love whomever and at whatever time in their life. But love doesn't start with someone else. It starts inside of us, loving ourselves. If you love someone 'to the extreme', you are actually wanting their love to compensate for the lack of love you feel for yourself and they would find it off-putting.
When we truly love and appreciate who we are, we do not love anyone else more than we love ourselves. We meet them half way. By loving someone too much, it carries the essage that their love is more important than yours and you have to hang on to it at all costs. Furthermore, the less you love yourself and love someone too much, the less attractive and appealing you will be because that person will eventually feel claustrophobic with your constant attentions. It also carries the risk that when that person stops loving you, your world will fall apart because you have depended on them so much for their presence and affection, it will be difficult to let go. You would have done nothing to provide a strong emotional base for yourself as a fall back position, should the relationship fail, which makes any break down unbearable.
Everything in life which is most enjoyable and affirming is done in moderation. The best way to love and be loved is to begin by learning to love, appreciate and to value yourself. You would then be strong and confident enough to leave or take someone else's attention. Their love will enhance yours, not be a substitute for it. You won't need their approval or love to feel great because you are already great without them. You will be able to reinforce yourself when things don't work out.
If someone doesn't love you or want you, they are giving you a powerful message of choice and you should respect that. To still want to 'love' that person is to imply that you are not good enough for anyone else and you only belittle yourself in the process because you will continually feel inadequate and unhappy. You also stop yourself from meeting someone else by hanging back in the past feeling rejected, which makes you even less attractive. That's no way to live.
Love is something we have to give every moment of the day, every day of our lives. It is not restricted to one person or situation. However, it starts inside us through self love, confidence and self value. Once we have that fully developed within us, our capacity to love others is abundant, while at the same time keeping our distance from being too possessive or clingy. In fact, we will then have the assurance to pick and choose our mates and to readily say, 'NEXT!' when it doesn't work out as expected.
Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH)
Emotional Health Adviser
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"