You might have asked this question to your partner, but even if you have not, you thought about this many times. We always have the nagging feeling that our partner might not love us, even though they profoundly confessed their love to us. We seem to have the need to be recognized by others to be loveable.
But is this really true? Can somebody love "us" or can we love somebody? You will see hopefully that Vedanta sees romantic love differently than what we usually understand.
Let's start with loving ourselves. You all heard that first, you have to love yourself before you can love others, right? Vedanta does not remain vague, but follows the logic: What are you actually advised to love? Who is this YOU that needs to be loved?
You define yourself with a false identity
Bringing in psychology now, most of what you think you are, are imprints (vasanas) you received from your environment, your upbringing and of course your parents. You internalized them and identify with them as they become your personality. This false identity becomes "you" and you cling to it as hard as you can.
The same as the opinion you have about the world. They seem to become "you" as well. And for centuries and even now, people have died for some vague beliefs they had, because challenging them feels to them like a challenge to their very existence. And this is not only true for individual beliefs, but group believes as well. They might be even more hard-wired because they are supported by others and so they seem to have a legitimize that they don't have. Religions belief is a common one. You believe something because others tell you that they know that this particular belief is written by an all-powerful being and they have the authority to translate it for you.
So now you have your false personality and top of that external false belief systems as well.
And yes, of course, Vedanta can become that as well if it is not realized as the underlining truth of who we are.
But what are these beliefs?
They are nothing other than thoughts that have become memories. Thoughts about yourself are not you, but observed by you, Awareness. Thoughts about divine interventions are nothing other than your own interpretations of something too big to comprehend by you.
Understanding that you are not your personality or your belief system can become great freedom or it can freak you out! Habit is security, so most often we will go back to what we know and what our senses apparently confirm.
Sometimes new realizations bring a new way of thinking.
Even though in the beginning it might be difficult. We love to "improve" ourselves. There are thousand workshops and seminars that are telling you, that you are not ok the way you are and that you can "change your life" and become a better you. They are promising experiences that will go "deep" and in the end you will be a "changed" person.
What does "deep" and "changed" mean in this scenario? Yes, you can modify a "nicer" you but it will still be built on identities that are build from past impressions and this can go on and on. Every experience becomes a memory. We all want more positive experiences, so we enrol in another workshop and this way samsara, the endless wheel of suffering, continues.
Awareness, you, can not change. You are already whole complete.
So what do you mean, when you say, please love me?
Your identity is made up of thoughts that are always changing and memories, which are nothing other than thoughts as well. You cant have a grip on who you really are yourself. Asking somebody to love what you can't even identify will lead to disappointment.
This need to "receive love" in the form of verbal acknowledgments will not fill the emptiness that is in your heart. This emptiness can only be filled with the recognition that you are not your personality (Greek: the persona, mask) but that you are the observer of your identity.
But who is willing to challenge this strongly held belief that you are not ok, you need to improve and then you need to be loved. When you are willing to stand in your truth as awareness you will be free (moksha). Only then you will be able to love what you are and see that love reflected in everybody and everything that you encounter.
Hari Om Tat Sat,