When Your Love Is Not Reciprocated

Unrequited love has been the theme of several legends, stories, books and films, where it is glamorized with clever words and cinematic graphics. But in real life, such a love could be a setback or even a tragedy…

Most of us have experienced unrequited love at some point, when a relationship or a friendship didn’t work out and we felt rejected and abandoned. Or when we loved someone and did everything for them, only to realise that they weren’t who we thought they were. At times, this sorrow is almost unbearable and question ourselves – we gave so much of our heart, for what? We feel our heartbroken! I mentioned the word ‘heart’ because it is the seat of love. The first beat of the heart means life and its last beat means death.

Physiologically, the heart is the hardest working organ in the body, pulsating more than one hundred thousand times, daily. It drives eight tons of blood through the arteries from head to heel. The heart is also the seat of our feelings, emotions, love and thoughts which is why, when we say, “I feel” or “I love” or “Oh God!”  we automatically put our hands on the heart. And when we are betrayed, we say, “My heart is broken” or “You broke my heart”.

Maybe we are unhappy because we expected something unrealistic in return for our love, or we wanted to be loved in a certain way, or our expectations from the other person were too high or we expected the other person to fill in the blanks in our own self-esteem, like today’s youngsters who say, “He completes me”. Why should he complete you? Were you incomplete before you met him? If you can love and nurture yourself, you don’t need anyone to “to complete” you!

In unrequited love, the most important thing to remember is that no love is ever wasted. No matter what happens, love is always worthwhile because every moment of loving brings us closer to that higher love which our soul is seeking. This brings us to the concept of ‘soul-mate’ or ‘twin flame’.  All of us, at the most fundamental level of our being, are yearning to reunite with our ‘soul-mates’ – the person we are destined to be with.

Plato called God our soulmate thus: “God is our original partner who is our second half of the Divine whole.” In life, we do come across soulmates – souls who have the same spiritual origin and unique pattern of identity. Soulmates share a complementary calling in life and are partners on the spiritual path. They can be temporarily lured away from each other for several incarnations, en route to their Divine destiny together. This is due to our negative karma with others. In many cases, we aren’t free to be with our soul-mate, until we first balance these karmic debts with others and the only way to get free from karmic debts is to forgive, forget and send love and blessings to those who have hurt you.

Every relationship is an opportunity for us to grow spiritually, even when our love is not returned. When we love another person, we send the arrow of love from our heart to God’s heart. When we help someone, whether it’s the confused child, the sick neighbour, someone in our family, a friend, a complete stranger, we serve God who lives within that person. Love those that fate brings into your life – they are there for a reason… either to teach you a spiritual lesson or to learn one from you.

We all fear rejection, unrequited love. Hence, we wear a mask, in a sense, and behind that mask is the living presence of God. In fact, God disguises himself in every person so that we may have many, many opportunities to give our love back to him by loving all these different manifestations and expressions of the Spirit. The mask or the outward personality of a person may be imperfect… You may perceive some people as angry, shy, arrogant, secretive, aloof, unfriendly, complexed, confused, show-offs, etc. But behind it all, lies God’s Spirit. Love that Spirit, not the outward personality.

Love comes only from one source, but through several people and beings who come into our life. These people can become beautiful instruments of God’s Divine love. So, next time you feel a painful loss and you ask yourself, “I gave so much of my heart – for what?” ask yourself another vital question: “Who and what have I really loved?” The outward mask or God’s spirit within that person?

We always hear the saying, ‘follow your heart’. But the heart, like any of our spiritual faculties, can become clouded, especially when we have not healed from past hurts or forgiven ourselves or others. Your heart’s natural sensitivity and desire to open and share could be eclipsed by fears of rejection. Painful memories of the past can cause us to be cautious and defensive, rather than compassionate and supportive.

You can break off the relationship if a person deliberately hurts you, but if you take revenge or do a tit-for-tat, you are gaining negative karmic debt. Instead, if you mentally bless those persons and wish them well, you have snapped all your past karmas with them! So, love everyone who touches your life, not just their outward personality, but the soul and spiritual essence expressing itself in and through that person. And that kind of love is never wasted. It is the love of God!


Ruby Lilaowala
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