Happy Valentine’s Day!
Nothing brings out the romance more than How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) written by English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Such beautiful words. Words have so much power. The power of love innate in everything that exists whether it be temporarily forgotten by people or not. However, recently pointed out to me was the word “like.” What is the difference between love and like? Can you love someone and not like them?
As my yoga teacher says to me, “I’m not you, I’m something like you, I’m nothing but you. You’re not me, you’re something like me, you’re nothing but me.” If I love myself then I obviously love you. What’s not to love? I also like myself but ah, there it is, maybe I don’t want to hang out with you. Perhaps you’re not really my cup of tea. This is an interesting conundrum.
The person who posed this question to me is pretty much my opposite and very different from me in manner. So, does that mean like attracts like or do opposites attract? When I think of this person and then reflect on myself, it’s like polishing a mirror. By looking within, I can begin to see more clearly and find that we are considerably alike even in our differences. Does that make sense? How can we be both different and alike?
Reality is perception. How you perceive your experiences and reflections. I perceive this person to be tough compared to my softness. I perceive myself as coming across soft and quiet spoken. However, when I open and allow people in, they see my quite independence, discipline and assertiveness. I’m just not forceful about it. This person opened to allow me in and in this person I saw the same qualities I see in myself. I saw vulnerability, heart and caring.
Opposites do attract and they also clash. Like attracts like and it can also repel. I find that people are like magnets. When you place the opposite North pole of one magnet near the South pole of another magnet, they are attracted to one another. When you place “like” poles of two magnets near each other (North to North or South to South), they will repel each other. When this person and I met, we were the “like” poles of two magnets and we repelled each other.
The wonderful thing is, we managed to reset our poles. First came space. When you create space, it gives you room to move and reset. Then came politeness and professionalism. Then came respect, openness and honesty. This is yoga. This is allowing yourself and others to be authentic without having to change either yourself or someone else. Yoga invites understanding, compassion, love… and yes, even “like.”
Are we opposites? Are we alike? What’s the difference? It really doesn’t matter and that’s all that matters.
I would love to hang and have a cup of tea with this person because as yoga teaches us, there is always “more.” We are surrounded by infinite potential and possibilities. We are the creators of our reality and relationships. Our relationships with ourselves, our environment and our relationships with other people. I’m looking forward to the “more” in our relationship, the vulnerability and trust, which comes when two people “like” each other.
Happy Valentine’s Day!