The Sirius Pup Guide to Intimate Relationships in a Pack - 4
We all know the feeling of love, having felt it towards people, usually our family, as we grow up. By the time we are adults we have been educated to know that love can be expressed in many different ways, much like most other feelings. Over time we are bombarded with social ideas from our society of what loving relationships 'should' be. Of course, these 'shoulds' are usually based on a religious moral structure at heart. As a pack we have not found that protestant puritan christian ideas of love nor the modern disney idea of love work for us just to cite two examples. No princes or good wives here. We chose our own ideals.
Love is most often a good thing to experience, and so naturally we like to experience it again and again. That is good for us, as love brings us together and we share intimacy and care. So it happens that we can become quite sentimental about love and attached to the experience of it. That is not necessarily bad, unless we confuse the enjoyment of 'being in love' with the 'act of being in love'. What distinguishes the act of loving another person from sentimentality is good will.
It can happen that a person in love becomes a 'sentimentalist', a person who desires to have the luxury of a feeling like love without paying for it in effort and action. Such a person becomes unwilling to engage fully with the target of their affections, to engage with their beloveds hopes and dreams. As a person they come to expect love to be given to them and feel entitled to it, that it 'should' be given because they 'deserve' it - forgetting that the other person does not have to love them.
Love is not eternal and everlasting, despite the fantasy of such everlasting enduring all obstacles love that is pushed upon us by many romantic movies. Love can change and alter and fade and grow again. It can and will do all those things. The sentimentalist person refuses to acknowledge that, as they cling to their expectation of always having love, and that it will be given to them because they do not want to experience a lack of it.
Love is an action and an attitude to take action from within
Our pack follows an expectation that real affection or love has to include steady, rational good will. That is what distinguishes it from sentimentality. Love is not just a flow of emotion to which we, the owners of it, are passive. We don't expect to sit back and be in love like we are in a rainstorm, or it to simply flow from a person like bile. Love has an active side. It is an attitude, and that attitude is positively endorsed by at least part of our selves. Our actively wanting to love that person comes from our pup self, or our human self, or from another self expression - which validates that love and accepts that it is ok to feel that desire of love and affection. We begin by accepting it is ok to feel love for other people. If we reason that the love is going to be healthy for us to express and participate in, then we embrace that we need to act on that love, that we need to have an attitude of acting in love to make it real.
Real love is work. A human pup may 'fall in love' with a seeming lack of will - it just happens that we feel attracted to someone and we desire their love and affection and to be intimate with them. We didn't choose consciously to feel this, we have just 'fallen' for them. That is love, but it is not yet genuine and real. It is just a beginning.
Genuine love requires effort in thought and action. We, as human pups, seek to respect that other persons goals and purposes sufficiently so that we are willing to shape ourselves in some ways to help achieve them. We understand that to succeed in actively loving that other person we have to acknowledge that other person has their own desires and goals and ambitions and set of relationships - they have a life that is theirs, not ours to have - love won't mean that we get to own their life and decide for them what is best. We strive to understand where they are coming from, we want to know their history, and we want to know their activity in life - what they do, and what they want to do, and what has put them on that trajectory. We strive to take the needs and wants of the other person seriously. We don't have to do anything except listen and accept and give a shit about them to begin with, and not reject what we don't like or deny it's existence hoping it will go away.
In love we do not immediately set out to rescue or save the other person who we may mistakenly judge as failing, because that is their bad shots they have to own. We love them to walk beside them, not walk for them in life.
In love we do not assume that we have to change everything about ourselves for love to work out between us and the target of our affection. But we do assume that we will in some way compromise, and that the person who loves us will in some way compromise, if that becomes necessary and we both agree it is what we want to do. How we approach our loved one on this is crucial, and so we come back to good will. It is vital for us as Sirius pups not to have a sentimentalist approach of entitlement and unreasonable expectations.
If someone claims to love, but shows no good will towards the person they love - entirely refusing to recognise that other persons rights and interests - a crucial element in the concept of love is missing. And it is perfectly sensible for us to say that this 'is not love', but for example pride, greed, passion, ambition or sentimentality.
As we are talking about rational beings in our pack, this flow of good will is mutual. Everyone involved in relationships in the pack respect each other, and actively engage with each partner in terms of their goals and interests. Our relationships become a matter of constant growth and consideration, with us constantly striving towards whatever notion of perfection is agreed upon by all parties concerned in our relationship. Our pack does love one another.....