Love is a Self-Improvement School

We often view love as something we can’t quite explain or put into words because it’s so exceptional, grand and complex. We enjoy viewing love in this way, somehow it makes the notion of love seem very important. Love is something we wish to attain because it seems perfect and quite a special thing to have. Some of us are simply in love with the idea of love, like falling in love is a task on a to-do-list or a long and exciting bucket list. However, in relationships, the spell of love gets even trickier. We fall in love with a person and suddenly this love becomes a commitment project and now it’s a relationship that must be sustained. But what is love in a relationship? Is it just an affection we possess towards the other person?

Real love is very selfless. It knows no form of neediness or clinginess. Real love is viewing the other person as someone who is amazing, and unique, firmly believing that the other person we love so dearly has their own set of flaws and beautiful traits. Yet we are content and okay with this fact. Because love is a self-improvement school, dedicated to helping the other person become the best version of themselves. In a good relationship, lovers are partners in the notion of self-development. But this is not all rosy and easy when you think about it. As individuals, we have this thing called pride. We have love and respect towards ourselves and it may not be very easy to accept that our significant other can disclose our bad habits and so absurdly reveal them to us! How dare they tell us how to be? or what to be? Who are they to decide which version of ourselves is a better version? Unfortunately, these thoughts and defenses are the boiling points in many relationships that cause them to brittle and break, until there is no respect for the other and no desire is left to continue the relationship any longer. Unfortunate as it is, it is very common. We are only so happy when we are safe, safe from judgment and criticism, especially from someone so close and near to us.

The ancient Greeks had a very interesting philosophy when it came to love. Love is seen as a path towards perfection. Instead of just focusing on romance and happiness in a relationship, the Greeks saw love as the ideal scenario in which a couple can inspire and motivate one another to be the best. Couples should take the role of a teacher and a student, whilst remaining understanding and patient. The interaction must not be harsh nor reprimanding, but safe.

“A good relationship should be a forum in which we teach one other many things and gracefully learn in turn.” – Ancient Greek Philosophy

Again, this appears quite interesting but it is a strange concept of love. Some might view it as very dictatorial or even uncomfortable since no one really likes to feel controlled or criticized, even if done so politely. Nevertheless, if this perception of love is considered and accepted, it can make wonders. Couples are going to be more polite and personal with one another. In that, they will practice some sort of selflessness, since a lot of attention is going to be passed to the other person. And since we all have some areas of improvement that we could work on, who would be better to guide us than our significant other? It makes beautiful sense, after all a relationship is built on sharing and support. This could in turn enhance the relationship and make it more comfortable to express one’s self genuinely. For this to work, we must be good teachers and students. It shouldn’t be a struggle to accept some light constructive criticism to become a better person nor should it be embarrassing or appalling to give attention to a point in the partner’s character that could be changed in some way. But it has to be done peacefully, with good intentions. It may be difficult at first but it’s worth it. In no way should this method be done passive-aggressively or angrily, as in, a one-for-one approach. You think I’m too irritable? Well, you’re certainly not very good with people either! Do you remember the other night when you could barely make conversation, making me feel very awkward?! Yeah, it’s a no-brainer to let go of this attitude and take things one step at a time, gracefully and with all due patience.

“We should learn to see love a little as the ancient Greeks did, as a safe arena in which two people can gently teach and learn how to grow into better versions of themselves.”

This new-found approach can open a lot of doors for loving couples. When they are not shy to give-and-take and are accepting to any feedback, it will make it easier for them to be each other’s support system. You will always care for the development of the other person, and push them to be the best. This can lead to business ventures and partnerships. It’s always hard to start a partnership, especially if it’s with a partner that is not very cooperative nor understanding. Yet with this friendly-space system, being partners at work can become very easy and favorable. More importantly to us being partners, we are humans. We should be consistent in our mission to be better people, and this can likely happen in a flourishing relationship founded on love, support and understanding.

Featured image from here

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  • Ahmed

    An amazing article. Had fun reading it and it was really brilliant and good to add something that supports your topic such as the greek philosophy you quoted. Unfortunately you focused on couple’s or relationships love even though love is everywhere and between everyone, family, friends and even objects. It would have been even better if you talked about family’s or friend’s love.

    • Thanks for the feedback Ahmed. Yes, you’re right, this kind of idea applies to all kinds of love, but more so to personal relationships that really depend on such support and connection.