“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free” – Thich Nhat Hanh
To love someone is to love them without possessing them, without owning them. In the past I thought that jealousy and possessiveness were a sign of love, but then I realised that they are only a sign of an inflated ego. The ego that wants to own things and people.
I have been in relationships where I have felt restricted, to a lesser or higher degree. I knew that my partner disapproved of some of my ways or disagreed if I did certain things. This felt suffocating.
For example if I wore a short dress, I would hear comments such as ‘who are you trying to seduce’ or ‘I can’t believe you’re wearing that.’
I once had a relationship, where my then boyfriend explicitly told me that I wasn’t allowed to have any friends who are male, or that I had to tell him where I am going every time I leave the house.
One of my partners would have disapproved if I had a blog for example, if I wrote, if I shared things. Because he was a very private person, who didn’t reveal much to anyone. Whereas I’m the complete opposite, I am an extremely open person, I find it hard not to over share. It’s difficult for me to tell if I’ve shared too much or not, because sharing for me is a way to connect with others.
I used to think that this kind of restrictive behaviour was normal in relationships, that it was typical male behaviour. In some kind of masochistic way I guess I also enjoyed it. The feeling where you feel subjugated to the man, a type of fantasy of the submissive female.
But luckily, I have tasted what it’s like to have a relationship where I felt free. It’s definitely based on trust and a common vision of what you both want. You have to want the same things and have the same ideas of what is acceptable and what isn’t, and if you’re views differ then you have to express them, respect them and set common boundaries.
Some people might confuse the idea of freedom in love with cheating for example, but that’s not the case. Cheating is betraying someone’s trust, if you’ve agreed to be faithful to each other.
If on the other hand you both agree on an open relationship or some other type of arrangement and you are both happy with it, then that’s also fine.
I’ve realised that in the past I might have encouraged jealous and possessive behaviour, because my partners didn’t trust me and that’s why they tried to control me. I can’t blame them completely, because I wasn’t being honest with them, about what I felt and what my expectations were. I wasn’t brave enough to confront the situation in an honest way.
I’ve definitely learnt my lesson. And that is that trust and honest communication about how you’re feeling is of the utmost priority in a loving relationship in which you both also feel free.
I have learnt that jealousy, possessiveness and restrictions do not have any place in a healthy relationship, they are the enemies and destroyers of love. True love of any kind will set you free. True love of your friends, your family, your religion, God, your partner will set you free and will never make you feel trapped or constrained. If on the other hand you feel restricted in any way, uncomfortable, then it’s not true love.
In a healthy relationship you will encourage each other to be the best you can be, you will communicate well, support each other in good times and bad and, motivate each other to excel in whatever you have chosen to do.
I haven’t found the perfect relationship yet, and as perfect people don’t exist, nor can perfect relationships, but there are people who are more or less compatible with you, they are people who you connect with at a selfless and higher level of the soul, rather than just through your minds.
At the end of the day, whether we admit it or not, we all seek our soul mates, because the most important part of us is our soul, which is above the ego, above our minds. Our soul yearns to be mirrored by another soul, and ultimately to dissolve into the universal soul and energy from which we have all come from.
I read in Clemens Kuby’s book a wonderful take on finding your soul mate. He wrote that we might have found our soul mate in a past life, but have now lost them in this life. The soul knows that their soul mate exists and so keeps hoping to find it, in a bar or at a party. That’s why we have the concept of the ‘One’ and that’s why people feel love at first sight. People who fall in love like this often report, feeling like they’ve known this person for so long, despite having just met them.
Also our reproductive and sexual instinct is so potent, that we often aren’t patient enough to wait for our soul mate and so we often end up with someone we instinctively feel to be wrong for us, because we start to doubt that such a thing as a soul mate exists. Eventually we feel that a soul mate is just the stuff of fairy tales and so we settle for Mr or Mrs ‘good enough’.
Or else, when we do finally meet our soul mate, we don’t have the courage to leave our existing family or spouse for them. So we lose them in this life, and subconsciously we hope to be reunited with them again in another place.
Of course our soul mate doesn’t have to be a romantic partner, it can be anyone, but we hope that it will be our romantic partner, because that is the most intimate of relationships.
Can we be free without love? No. We cannot live without love, we were born to love. We were born from the love of our parents, we love our family, our friends, our partners, ourselves, we love nature and we love God. We don’t need the love of a romantic partner to be free, but we do need love within us to be free.
The ultimate freedom and the true fulfilment of our potential and soaring of our soul is enhanced by connecting strongly with another soul of a significant other or with other souls that inspire us and light our path. These connections enhance our connection and love of the ultimate soul of the universe.
I haven’t found my soul mate yet, but I believe I will one day very soon. When I do, I hope I will have the courage to pursue this relationship regardless of the circumstances.
I pray that I will never stop believing in the existence of my soul mate and that I won’t stop searching until I find them.
Photo by Kayla Kandzorra
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22 thoughts on “Love Will Set You Free”
True love is always freeing. It always understands, cares, and allows the other to be themselves. I too, believe in soul mates. Nice post.
Thank you Dan, I’m glad you liked the post.
I really enjoyed reading your post today. In particular, I enjoyed hearing about the jealousy and possessiveness and that there is hope in making changes.
I also enjoyed the soul mate part as well. I would agree that we all seem to have a spiritual yearning for others.
I live in the United States and feel that as a country we are losing are focus upon spirituality almost to the point where some don’t even believe they have a spiritual essence! Sad! I truly believe that who I really am is my spirit and this body is not really who I am.
Thanks for this post and I plan on checking out your blog as well!
Hi Chris, thanks for your comment.
It’s interesting what you say about the US losing spirituality. I feel (and this has been backed up by statistics too) that here in Britain and Europe in general spirituality, and especially the belief in God is even less than in the US. For me the US is interesting because it’s a modern Western country, but people there still believe in God more than in Europe.
I’m glad you liked the post.
I enjoyed reading this article (and your British English)
If I may add something (I read people’s soul records), souls tend to incarnate in groups. A group of souls incarnate at about the same time, in a setting that eventually get them meet. I call them soul “friends.” Some of your soul friends may be your family members, some your friends, and some just someone you meet at a critical time of your life, and… of course, you can form romantic relationship with one of them.
So maybe the search is easier than you think ;)
That’s interesting Akemi. I’ve heard this idea before that souls are reborn with the same people, because they like to be where they know others from their past life. Although now it must be harder than ever to remain within the same soul-group as people move around the globe and travel much more than they used to.
Thanks for the article and I understand about hoping to find a soul mate. Our thinking alone attracts what we would wish for ourselves in our lives. For many years I thought “I will never meet the right man, I will never be happy” and that is what happened. As soon as I learned it was my thinking that kept me stuck in the place I was in, that life finally became as good as I had always hoped it would be. Change your thinking, change your life is my motto. Hope this helps.
Happy thinking! Happy life!
Thanks Joan. I definitely believe in that you should think of what you want, rather than what you don’t want :-)
I enjoyed your post. You offer a lot of wisdom with your words and I do hope you never stop believing in the existence of a soul mate. I am sure one is out there for you :-)
One point I would like to offer. You mentioned possessiveness and jealousy is a sign of an inflated ego. Although I do agree with you, I think it can also be a sign of someone with low self-esteem. Individuals who lack confidence will demonstrate the same behaviors I found.
Feel inspired… I believe your soul mate is very close!*)
I agree with you. Finding a soul mate in this life is a yearning that makes one restless. One tries various permutations and combinations in seeking company of a person who would give him / her the love one is pining for. They are fortunate who are able to eventually find the soul mate. Sometimes it happens that we do find the soul mate but lose him / her through our selfishness, jealousy or possessiveness. You are right. Love should give freedom and not bondage- which may be suffocating and ends the relationship.
Thank you very much for such an inspiring interesting touching article.
Good luck with your quest for your soul mate :)
He could be closer than you think ;)
This post is inspirational to me. As is your blog. Have a nice day :-)
Thank you Maia for this post. The reciprocity principle is alive in all areas of life, isn’t it!
It’s interesting how a little honesty makes the nasty emotions fall away. I note that you talk about how jealousy from a partner was also influenced by you (although not the sole cause). What would you do differently in a relationship now? What lessons have you learned from the experience?
Hi Razwana, sorry for the late reply, I came back to the post and discovered there were more comments.
What would I do differently? I would be honest with my partner if I felt it wasn’t working instead of holding it inside me and looking around for other opportunities.
In the past I used to have the mentality that I need to find a potential replacement before I let go of a partner, I was afraid to be alone. But now I realise that it’s better to be alone then in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill you.
You’re right the reciprocity principle is everywhere, what you give is what you get.
Take care and thank you for your comment,
This is an amazing post and i beleive in it. Even i have learened from my past lessons. I know its all about the soul… I have started bileving it because of some experiances God showed me . Lovely post
I really love this post because I agree with it and believe souls mates too. I always trust all my friends and my partners and let them free because of trust and love. People should not control their partners otherwise love might be destroyed.
Being loved is more blessed than to love someone. And God loves you!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I love the quote at the beginning of the page. I know this feeling of freedom, it has done more for me than any book or advice ever could. It simply must be experienced.
i really appreciate this post.i google ‘true love make you free or constrained’ and find the post luckily.it can answer my confusion about current relationship with my boyfriend.and i agree that love should set you free. the belief make me braver to tell my feeling inside instead of obeying his thoughts unhappily.thanks a lot.from a Chinese girl
I really needed to hear this now. Thank you so much.
I absolutely love this article! There are so many relationships that make us feel uncomfortable and guilty for no reason at all. We often think that when our partner is being possesive or jealous it is a sign of love, but infact this just restricts us from enjoying life and feeling trusted. Deep down, we know the truth of our own characters, but we tend to overlook our qualities and feel as if we are “cheating” or being “dishonest” if things aren’t done their way.
I’m going to bookmark this quote, “I have learnt that jealousy, possessiveness and restrictions do not have any place in a healthy relationship, they are the enemies and destroyers of love. True love of any kind will set you free. True love of your friends, your family, your religion, God, your partner will set you free and will never make you feel trapped or constrained. If on the other hand you feel restricted in any way, uncomfortable, then it’s not true love.”