I fear and doubt myself that I am not able to sincerely reciprocate love in its full spirit. I fear and doubt myself if somebody loved me, I would not be able to love them as much or more and that it would make our relationship go kaput if a relationship developed at all. This is keeping me from approaching individuals and having a romantic relationship. What should I do?
—Gaurav Sharma, India
Feel that fear in your heart and identify it as a major enemy. Mentally throw it into a bonfire. Expecting perfection in one’s love ruins everything. Nothing in this world is perfect. You are not, your future partner is not, nothing is. The true sweetness of a relationship comes when we learn to accept, embrace, and deal with the shortcoming of each other.
Relationship in fact is not really meant for romance, even though that’s a part of it in the beginning. It is made for our inner growth. Two imperfect egos meet and both work on themselves, trying to learn, to overcome, to love ever more purely.
Swami Kriyananda used to pray to Yogananda:,“Teach me to love you as you love me.” One day the Master replied: “How can the little cup expect to hold the whole ocean of love? First it has to expand and become as big as the ocean!” In other words, as long as we are not great spiritual Masters, our love will always be limited, not in “full spirit,” it will always fluctuate, it will always bump against our human shortcomings of judgment, or of low energy, or of emotional reactions of all kinds, of weaknesses, of habits, or of some pain which we carry in our heart from the past.
If the relationship goes kaputt because of such human shortcomings, and because you can’t always give love in its “full spirit,” then it probably was a bad relationship, romantic maybe, but rather superficial.
So then, don’t wait for your love to be perfect, or else you might wait forever. Just be sincere in your love. And remember, more important in a relationship than love, Yogananda teaches, is mutual respect. Love will always fluctuate, but respect can become steady.
Even now, before having a relationship, work on your steady love: toward your family members, your friends, even your colleagues, in spite of all their shortcomings. In this way you will be better prepared for a beautiful and mature relationship in the future.
In divine friendship,