According to Osho, love is a hierarchy and it has different meanings to people on different steps of the ladder. The lowest form of love is power politics. This very common type of love is based on domination and possession. This is not true love, rather it is a desire to exploit each other. Most people don’t engage in such love deliberately, as unconscious mechanisms are in operation. At the highest reaches, love becomes “a state of being and consciousness”. There is no domination and bargain, love is shared only in the name of beauty and joy.
Love in this purest form is unaddressed, as there are no objects and subjects. You became the love itself. It extends the limits of being a verb, it becomes an identity. You don’t love, you are love. If your love is meditative, unconditional and limitless, you can reach this state. According to Osho while the other two are just social arrangements, this third type of love is spiritual. It is two people truly becoming a unity.
These different types of love manifest themselves through three types of relationships: Codependent, Independent, and Interdependent.
People that are codependent in their relationship put their own happiness aside to respond to the other person’s wishes. They don’t have their own voice in the relationship, and there is no effort to experience their individuality. They lose their interest in the outside world. Some characteristics of codependency are weak and unestablished boundaries, unhealthy communication, people-pleasing attitudes, controlling and manipulation, self-esteem issues, and other blame.
Codependent relationships are unhealthy because in such relationships no one is allowed to grow and get to know themselves better. This kind of relationship can feel like prison to both parties. Each partner needs and deserves space to develop autonomously. If the freedom to be who you are and choose your own path is taken away, love flies quickly. In codependent relationships, partners need each other to determine their own worthiness. However, self-worth can only be established by the person themself. Any worth or confidence rooted in other people will diminish in the first harsh wind.
Codependent couples lean on each other instead of elevating each other, and they need constant validation for their sense of self and happiness. However, it is important to be able to stand on your own two feet and distinguish yourself as your own person aside from one-half of a couple.
When there is codependency a relationship is based on give and take. Partners put the responsibility for their emotions and well-being to the other party. Codependent love is all about possession and dominance. Partners find different ways to restrain and limit each other’s potential. Since they need each other for their sense of self to survive, they compromise their values and even harm each other. Once the freedom is gone, the self can’t find space to grow and destruction starts. Love becomes a trap. However in a healthy relationship love should liberate you, it should be the catharsis of divinity and freedom.
People that are independent in their relationship can stay as their own person in the relationship but harmony is missing in their unity. Independence is a good attribute however just like any other thing in life excessive independence can have harmful consequences. Such an attitude towards relationships can close the doors for emotional intimacy and authentic bonds. Romantic feelings can be scary. Independent partners on the other hand can feel alone in a relationship. They became romantic partners but not a harmonious unit. They shy away from swimming in the deeper waters of each other. There are conditions and egos in between their love. In independent relationships, there is no adjustment, and there is often conflict. The freedom partners give to each other looks like indifference and inattentiveness.
People that are interdependent in their relationships have their own space to grow and express their own voice, but they also preserve a deep commitment and harmony with each other. In this purest form of love, partners don’t sacrifice who they are, on the contrary, they support each other’s journey to reach the most authentic self. Interdependent relationships are built on respect and care.
Some characteristics of an interdependent relationship are healthy and well-established boundaries, active communication, respect for personal interests and space, accepting responsibility for your part, vulnerability-based trust, self-confidence and confidence in the relationship, being open and honest, and being attentive and caring to each other’s needs. Interdependent relationships require finding a balance between ‘me’ and ‘us’. Both parties need to be responsive to each other’s needs as well as listen to their own needs.
A relationship can only flourish and become interdependent if both partners feel secure and cared for. You need to feel that your partner will be available for emotional support when you need them and that you can be vulnerable around them and share your personal thoughts.
Interdependency is the healthiest form of relationship, although it is not very common among lovers. However, with awareness, communication and understanding a couple can reach this state.
How to build an interdependent bond
According to Osho, consciousness is the key to interdependent relationships. With consciousness comes freedom and true love. For this aim, first, you should examine where you are with your partner. How much do you depend on one another, what are your needs and desires in a relationship? Are you in sync, do your needs match?
Now that you have understood where you stand, think about what brought you here. What type of responses and behaviours brought your relationship to this point? Is this really how you want to relate to each other or did circumstances bring you to that situation?
Think about ways to make the bond better for both of you as a couple and as individuals. It is important to know how to communicate effectively with each other. Try being kind and open. After both sides have expressed themselves and heard each other, think about the right adjustments to elevate your relationship.
Overall, romantic relationships are served as the meaning of life in the media, once you find “the one” stars will line up and your life will finally begin. However, this perspective is unfortunately not true. A person has to establish who they are and what they want to do with their lives on their own. Your happiness is in your hands, and it is unfair to put this responsibility on your partner. Waiting for someone else to complete you is the greatest malice you can do to yourself. A relationship can only be healthy when your personal growth is in your hands. You are on your own journey to reach your true self and you hold the key. However, this journey doesn’t have to feel lonely as your partner is a fellow traveller in their path to find who they are. Your paths can not be intertwined but that does not mean you can’t walk hand in hand.
Love requires honesty and vulnerability between partners but even more importantly, it requires being honest to yourself. Once you reach personal maturity, it will get easier to commit to emotionally mature relationships. You will find ways to relate to others while being true to your authentic self. Each relationship type teaches us important lessons on human bonds and prepares us for the next chapter in our lives. Relationships can change forms over time, as committed long-lasting relationships witness many seasons.
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