IN THE MOVIE “Carrington,” Ralph Partridge speaks of trying to possess the heroine and “make her his property, absolutely.”
I think not. Predictably, Partridge doesn’t succeed. He’s understandably smitten and wants Carrington to respond in kind. Trouble is, she won’t no matter how hard he pushes.
Some of us have the natural makings of a control freak. It’s obvious to us that things would go better if other people followed our directions like actors on a stage and did things our way. What isn’t so obvious is that manipulations of any kind, especially in the realm of romance, rarely succeed; sooner or later they are self defeating. To think it possible to make someone else our property is a delusion.
It should be evident that the only life we can live is our own; yet look how much effort some exert trying to make other people’s choices for them. Neither friendship nor love can be forced. We can only offer with an open hand and see if it is eventually accepted. If so, wonderful; if not, we need to move on and try our luck elsewhere.
“Important” people who “work so hard” perhaps feel entitled to affection as some kind of payback. If we demand to get love, however, we really want a support system. When we’re ready to give love, we are open to growth.
And what can we give? We can offer ourselves and our affection to those whom we choose. We don’t lure them into a spider’s web or the clutches of a Venus fly trap, but rather invite them into our private circle. Everyone, including a would-be beloved, is free to enter or leave as they choose; how they feel about us is a separate issue from how we feel about them. Why should our affection be contingent on whether or not they respond?
Isn’t this a little weird, you wonder, even debasing? Not at all. This attitude is realistic, doesn’t grovel, and refuses to manipulate. Manipulation would demean both parties because to suggest that we have any control over how others respond reduces their free will to a function of our own. All persons in their right mind should find this insulting. The flip side is that a lover who succeeds in getting another to submit to his wishes must inevitably realize that the prize was forced and therefore inauthentic. As “Carrington” showed, attempted possession not only demeans the beloved but ultimately shatters the lover’s self esteem also. Only affection that is returned freely is genuine and carries the psychic value that enriches human life and makes it bearable.
Never clutch in matter of romance. When we are open and invite what we want to come to us, perhaps it will. By forcing, grasping, we risk creating the very opposite situation from what we desire. Anxiety tempts us to escalate our demands. If we’re in a rut, we can start by accepting what company others do offer instead of dictating terms. We can never control what people are willing to give us, but we can make ourselves deserving recipients who eventually get what we deserve.