Love in the time of quarantine
|Mar 26|| 1|
Fully quarantined ah? Which one of this is you?
I surely oscillate between the types. I’m sure you do too.
People say long-distance relationships that work, survive the test of love. But it’s the contrary because distance is the much needed respite in a relationship. If you can survive being with your loved one in lockdown, and still go back to them when you don’t have to, that my friend, is the true test of love. Sort of like love in a marriage. Actually if you removed wifi from that, then, I bow to thee.
I’ve learnt so much about love and relationships trying to stay married than I ever have falling in and out of love multiple times before that. Finding oneself a partner is a finite game and hence, fairly exciting. But staying married to them is an infinite game, and unless you enjoy the journey, it can be fairly exhausting.
But how does one even enjoy the journey?
Couple goals, milestones and an endless enthusiasm to pursue them.
Ey, but all this seems like so much work. Who has the time to even think about all this amidst the working from home, stepping in for the maid and trying to figure out which day of the week it even is?
Forget couple goals and milestones. Take it one day at a time. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.
This is precisely why my good friend, Nikhil Jois and I are building something super fun and exciting people (re) discover the joy of being locked down with a loved one (pun intended) just a little bit more, that too, one day at a time. Follow “LoveinLockdown” on Twitter to know more.
Not Locked down in love yet?
You don’t have to be in a couple right now to enjoy “LoveinLockdown” because it even works on future lovers that are currently sitting in your inbox on Tinder or Bumble! ;)
Among the other projects I’ve started since the lockdown, here are the broad themes:
Self love - A school friend and I are trying to trace our journeys of self-love, why it was (still is) important and how it’s helped us heal, and made us better versions of ourselves. We want to take our discoveries and share it with other people who may benefit from a bit of kindness to themselves because we know, love hurts.
Love when you can hardly spell it - Through M.B.A., I mostly get to work with people who’ve resolved to settle down, or so they think. This means, I seldom speak to people under 25 about love and relationships. So, I started talking to people between the ages 15-25 to learn how different or similar it is to fall in love today than it was yesterday. Surprisingly love remains largely untouched by technology in the last decade.
My biggest take away from all conversations this week is that we don’t deal with rejection very well, and unknowingly we start to build our lives around it. Rejection takes very many forms - being unloved by someone, being hurt by someone, being mistrusted, having our trust abused, etc. but the one that goes unrecognised is rejection by oneself. Hence, we are in constant pursuit of external validation, that usually comes in the form of love.
Having been under self inflicted “lockdown” for the last two weeks, it’s been invaluable to have someone to talk to at home. I occasionally call relatives or friends, but its not the same. These are some very uncertain times, and together, we are trying to stand up to the unknown. But knowing that we are in this together is somewhat comforting. It’s sort of like how life is in general - having someone with you while navigating the unknowns is always comforting. So, wanting to be in a partnership or a family is only natural. We often blame too much work, and too little time for not being able to find ourselves in a meaningful relationship. But what’s your excuse now?
No, I am not suggesting that you install every dating app there is on Earth and swipe away incessantly. I think you should do quite the contrary actually. Delete all apps on your phone - give your finger some much needed rest.
With all the time on your hands, why not just get in touch with yourself.
Oops, I did say give your finger a rest no? Shoot!
When I was younger, I’d lie down on my terrace, looking up at the stars thinking about how inconsequential our lives were, and despite all the drama, we were hardly a speck in the Universe. Yet, I could come down and melt into the noise my life was. But it is exactly this ability to make sense of the noise that makes us human. As Yuval Noah Harari says in Sapiens, one of the things that makes us human is the ability to make things up. How else can you make sense of being in quarantine all by yourself, or even with a loved one? Our life is made up, our drama is made up. So is love. It exists collectively in our heads. Without love, we’re hardly human.
It’s acknowledgement, it’s acceptance, it’s appreciation, it’s adoration and the ability to surrender or sacrifice for someone.
HOW DO YOU LOVE?
Before we go out there and try it on someone else, we’ll start with ourselves, ok? Practice makes perfect, after all. I’ve written down simple instructions to try this at home.
Get up, go take a nice shower and dress up.
If you’ve got a full length mirror at home, go stand in front of it.
Take a nice long look at yourself from top to bottom. Stare at your face, and observe every little detail - the shape of your eyes, nose, mouth, hairline, colour of your face, the facial hair on it, your pimples, freckles, lines. Run your hands over and along your face, with one finger, all fingers. Watch your hands, chest, tummy, thighs, legs, feet and head again. Look at your hair, or the lack of it for those of you its more relevant. Go closer, go farther.
Say something to yourself. Say your name. Watch the way your mouth moves as you say it.
Wave, to say hi. See how your body moves.
Stand still. Watch where your hands go. Watch how your body looks.
Smile at yourself. Say something nice to that person in the mirror. If you enjoyed hanging out with this person, say you’ll come back and see them again tomorrow.
DID IT WORK?
Was it love at first sight? Or, you think it’s going to be more of an acquired taste?
Did you feel weird? or, did the person in the mirror feel weird?
Who do you think was more open to trying this? You, or the one in the mirror?
Who do you think will be ghosting the other?
Have you ever wondered - you may not be one person. You may be a combo of two. The one who stands, and the one who sees. The one who talks, the one who listens. The one who touches, and the one who feels. The one who feels, and the one thinks. The one who waits, and the one who is always searching for the better half.
We don’t spend enough time discovering ourselves, doing things for ourselves, learning and building things on our own just because we’re curious. Let me tell you that’s there’s no better time to start discovering yourself and doing the things you love, and falling in love with yourself before you do so with someone else.
Going on the journey of (re)discovering yourself on your own is never easy. As a relationship coach, most of the work I do is around helping people (re) discover themselves and what they value in relationships. Just defining and acknowledging this is a powerful step in the journey of finding love. I’m super excited to have partnered with Masterlife, in building a course in self-discovery that we cheekily call “How to attract the right partner in 30 days”. This course is for anybody looking to be in a healthy relationship, or running away from it or simply proud of being in one. Through this course, you’ll discover things about yourself you’d never known.
Masterlife is a new venture started by a school/ college friend, Anirudh Narayan. Masterlife helps you learn and build much needed life-skills that can make you more awesome than you ever were. What better time than now to brush up your dating skills so you can be ready to unleash when the world is ready.