Love Equals Trust
“When our expectations limit our ability to receive love”
This week's blog is written by, Nithya Rajasekaran.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past years worrying about reciprocation in relationships after one particularly crushing friendship break-up, where a long-time friend told me that she didn’t want to “be obligated to reciprocate with me.” I was flabbergasted. Was that so horrible of me to expect? Disillusioned, I started maintaining a polite, unruffled distance with any new friends, obscuring my affection so it would not be mistaken as smothering. But I still questioned — don’t relationships function on reciprocity?
Years later, I was appreciating how freely my friend Rukmini both gave and took in her friendships, without any tinge of guilt or obligation. The word urimāi floated into my mind. My mother would often use this Tamil word, saying that she had urimāi, or as she translated, “liberty,” with me. But “liberty” didn’t quite align with what my internal sense of urimāi was, so I haltingly expressed urimāi to Rukmini as “loving entitlement.” But again — that’s not the right word.
But one day it hit me. Rukmini and I were chatting in our friend Lalita’s room while she painted. Lalita stepped over to the back of the room to take a look at her painting, and on the way back, she planted a little kiss on my head. I was so surprised — so disproportionately delighted by this little act of love. In that instant, I finally found the word I was searching for.
We’re not entitled to anyone’s friendship or kindness, but we can trust in someone’s love. There’s an inherent vulnerability to loving and being loved, for when you trust someone, you’re surrendering to their free will. It’s the subtle difference between expecting them to catch you when you fall and trusting that they will.
Without trust, my previous friendship was fraught with neediness and insecurity. On the other hand, to have trust, or to have urimāi, is to dissolve the transactional nature of a relationship. It is then that a relationship can be freeing because it blossoms from a place of safety and security. When we do trust, when we aren’t entitled, we aren’t taking love for granted.
When we can let go of expectation, we can let love take us by surprise.
This week's blog is written by, Nithya Rajasekaran. Nithya is a science educator, maker, and baker in pursuit of flow. She finds stillness in the turbulent waves of her 20s by diving heart-first into existential thoughts and a kitchen full of comforting smells, textures, sights, and sounds. A generous helping of (most-likely) butter-laden snacks helps too.
This week's quote:“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet