"If you can not love yourself,

You can not love another.”

I meet many young college students who are head-over-heals in relationship. They call it ‘Love’. One of the most difficult things to deal with in such relationship, for most of them, is: the desperate clinging of the other partner.

“Why didn’t you call? Why didn’t you meet? Where did you go? What did you do? Who was there with you? Why can’t we go out? Why did you wear this? Why did you go there? Why? What? When? Who? Where? Whose?... Yes, all the possible ‘W’s’ in the world. Yes, in the world of our ‘Love Birds’.

What starts as some romantic sweet-nothings, now is marred with endless probing, judging, accusing, blaming, sulking, fighting and pain. Most of them are unprepared to deal with this volatile shift… They end up hurting each other; more importantly, they end up hurting themselves.

They begin to wonder: Where has all the sweetness gone? Why am I feeling so lonely now? Why is this suffocation? This fear? This pain?

Love is the hunger of our hearts. I said ‘Love’. When we do not receive enough love, we starve. When we do not give enough love, we become like misers – self-centered and hard. But, in romantic love, we share love only with the one we romanticize. It is very private, exclusive. And, unlike other forms of love, romantic love has a physical dimension to it… Intimacy is intimacy because we share our love and affection physically. For most youngsters, therefore, this is the tight spot. They are not prepared – with their full heart – to express themselves their love with all its intimacy. There is that desperation and there is that killing fear and guilt. For most youngsters, who come from simple middle-class families – driven by their social and religious values - this shall always remain so.

I may sound, here, a lot old-fashioned. But, I tell all youngsters, including my own nineteen-year-old son, this: “Honey, do not destroy yourself in the name of so-called ‘Love’. If you really want to experience Love, learn to Love yourself. “

What is that? Learning to Love myself? You mean I should learn to be selfish?

Far from it. Learning to Love myself is the greatest thing I can do for myself, for my own growth. My life, as Stephen Covey says, has many squares in it. My personal growth. My family. My social life. My hobbies. My religion. My education. My profession and work. My friends. My love life. My alone time. And so on. In other words, my life is not ‘one big square’. It is made up of many small squares. My Love life is one of these squares. God forbid, tomorrow, something goes wrong there, I still have other squares to keep me going . On the other hand, when all my focus and energy is invested in one box – when my life is ‘one big square’ called ‘my Love life’ – when that goes for a toss, goes with it my life too. Blank.

I tell the youngsters, “Honey, you do come first. Sit down, and think hard. Draw your life’s squares… See what will make you really fulfilled minus your love life.” I tell them, “Can you handle your life, if your Love life goes for a toss? What if your partner is of ‘clinging’ nature, all the time trampling on your space, making you feel suffocated? What if he or she is unable to handle him/herself when you try to assert your needs? What if he or she is obsessed with only you and nothing else in life? Will you give in to his/her emotional blackmails?”

Many a times, my questions to these youngsters leave them a bit disturbed. But, that is natural. They have invested emotions in this relationship… Like or don’t like, they have made their ‘choices’. Now, to re-think, re-workout… and, to back off, if needed – seem quite scary to them. But, then, I tell them: “Honey, whose life is it anyway? If you do not do it, now, be prepared to get into a deep hole. If you don’t do it, no one else can do it for you. Some surgeries can’t be postponed. Do it before it destroys everything else in your life.”

Love is really beautiful. But, why do I feel this loneliness, this pain, and this suffocation?

Love is empowering. But, why do I feel weak and helpless, now? Why do I feel I have no control on my own life?

Love is supposed to make me complete. But, why is that I feel this emptiness… This deep regret?

Have I gotten in touch with what I really wanted from my own life? My deep needs? My deep aspirations? My core Values? Have I discovered enough of my own world? Am I enough working on nurturing my own self-esteem? Is it that if I suffer from a low self-esteem, I can not truly love another…? If I cannot take care of my own self, how will I care for another?

Yes, if I do not love myself, how will be able to love another?

These are not just questions. They are answers, as well.

Love is like sand of the sea. White, gentle and beautiful. But, now that I try to hold it in my hand… the tighter I try to hold it, the more it slips out of my hand.

Khalil Gibaran said it so brilliantly in his little book ‘The Prophet’:

“Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For, only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And, the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Love is beautiful, Honey. But, please remember, if it doesn’t make you grow as an ‘individual’… it will only destroy you as a couple.

Yes, I really love you.



Anonymous said…
Sir, it is like a big hammer on my thick head! Thanks for waking me up!

Love you, sir.

..... Vijendra
Purity of the heart, purity of the mind and purity of thought, seldom receive the purity of acceptance. The converse ironically, has always through time, been welcomed. There is, in those, a very dismantled attitude of uncertainty and ill will. And nothing in the world can make one alter its course !

Caught in such a vortex, those that embrace what is rightfully right, remain wiser and quieter. LOVE Wisdom and class can never be achieved through a sale in a grocery store. Love comes from the acumen of those that have lived and loved and struggled and suffered.

If one shall entertain evil, hatred and the negative, one can only consume nothing else but that. Blinkered from all the rest, all the good, all the temperately beautiful, you become a cynic and a never ending, stretched and labored rope that, even though its destruction may not be imminent, does wither away from its frequent coils and recoils.

I read this piece somewhere and your post reminded just the same.

At some point of time we all do like this and I think by the time we realise what is true love, we are already quite mature and settled wherever we are.
Some shayar said -

'Pyaar Ghadi bhar ka hi bahut hai,
Jhootha sachha mat socha kar '

Gerry its a magnificient piece and you read people like a palm of your hand not only because you are a teacher.
You are a genuine human being, extremely caring, and from one 'breed' which is extinct -
You think of others than you do for yourself.
The extract of everything is reflected in your writing and yes I agree
That your wisdom and class wasnt bought in a sale of a Grocery store,..
It has come by your struggle values empathy connect to feelings and maturity to the highest order.

LOVE only leaves you at peace

Girish Dhameja said…
Love at topic which is enchanting, adventurous, fun and sensitive too. We often get confused with words like infatuation, liking, love and obession. Yes it is very important to luv your self and keep your self fit so that u can luv others and can take care of others. Luv is something like Pickle, if preserved properly it is very sweet and if not handled properly then it is spoiled. Yes sometime a decision taken considering out of luv straight way ends in repenting that if not. For me luv is holding the hand of your beloved even at the age of 65 years going to park and saying that in the wrinkles of your faces i could see the Saransh(precise) of my life. (sentence used in movie Saransh). As rightly mentioned luv is just one square of life and to get that square in a proper way we should not ignore the other squares.
Luv but not at the cost of self esteem and don’t get involved into ego clash or whole purpose of luving gets defeated.
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hey Ashish, you have given a beautiful dimension to my post... so profound and so mature!

Love that as always. I am sure, the youngsters for whom I have written this would find your contribution very fruitful.

Thnks for encouraging me, as you always do, Ashish.

Gerald D'Cunha said…
Yes Girish, the movie - 'Saaransh' was so beautiful. "In the wrinkles of ur face, my love, I see the essence of my life."

What a line!

That's after all the cycle of Love... when the lust drops... when the aggression drops... when the ego drops... when infatuations long goes and make place for some thing called 'companionship'... oh yes, maybe that's the best place to be!

Gerald D'Cunha said…
I liked the 'hammer thing' Vijendra!

Good, love the 'hammer' and say "Wake up Sid!"


Dear Gerald, you have transported me to the world of Kahlil Gibran. It is really a sublime world. He says in the same chapter:

"Love one another, but make not a bond of love...

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls...

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music..."

Thanks again for such a sublime piece.

Yash Sharma said…
To hurt yourself by doing these things its better not go get into matters like these.......Sir it woke me up BIG TIME......
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hi Veronica, true. When we talk about space in relationship... Kahlil Gibran has to come to life!

We have this old saying:

"If you love something, set it free...
If it comes back, it is yours....
If it doesn't, it never was.!"

We have to just replace 'something' with 'someone'... That's all!

Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Yash for the comment.

We do get into problems... Mostly, we do.

Some things, really, can wait... I think in this old-fashioned way.

But then, when I was like you, the same thing I heard from my elders... my well-wishers... When they were young, they say, they heard the same advice from their parents...

So, am I being 'old-fashioned', really?

I hope, I am not.

Love, Sir.
Payal Sharma said…
I would say i am too young to experience true love.When I see people of my age getting into relationships, sometimes i laugh, but mostly i think, it needs guts to do that, to let someone into your personal space... But some of the relationships last long... may be they learn to manage... but i like my privacy too much to share it with someone so soon :)
bhavika chhabria said…
Yes love is a big part of life but it needs to be understood and we are yet too small to understand that. now a days every secod person has a boyfriend/girlfriend but most of them sre not serious, its rather for show off and time-pass as thjey call it.it is very important to trust each other in a relationship and i have yet not known a person who can be trusted to that extent...and so till then i love my life as it is and i m happier being myself than getting into a relationship and into more difficult situations..
Anonymous said…
wow!! serious wake up call...thnx jerry bappa :)..

- Mack
Benita Dsouza said…
“Honey, do not destroy yourself in the name of so-called ‘Love’. If you really want to experience Love, learn to Love yourself. “....so true.....

Thanks for sharing this lovely thought with us uncle...:). Simply amazing..!!!

Anonymous said…
sir this is commendable....each and every word stands true.....this is written with so much honesty....it is bound to wake up teenagers and take control of their lives.....why only teenagers....married people too face this harassment in so called love....this has touched my heart and i am sure it is going to touch every reader...how well u have defined the meaning of Love....sir we want more of this.... regards sonal
Anonymous said…
sir this is commendable....each and every word stands true.....this is written with so much honesty....it is bound to wake up teenagers and take control of their lives.....why only teenagers....married people too face this harassment in so called love....this has touched my heart and i am sure it is going to touch every reader...how well u have defined the meaning of Love....sir we want more of this.... regards sonal
Anonymous said…
only wen v love ourselves and overcome all our insecurities can v make room for some1 els in our life!! love is lke d fire dat purifies d soul. love is something dat comes naturally n not forcefully unlke dese days!! love should b welcomed only wen v feel v r matured enough to choose d right person 4 us and nt juss b carried away by emotions and d fantasies of our dream world!! love has a deep meaning and i feel friendship is d purest form of love!!
Anonymous said…
Payal Dont lie.......
Dr.Dee said…
Quite profound thoughts shared......Life made of so many compartments, But it is the same “You” who falls in love and desires more from your beloved. One important element to growing in romantic love is to get hurt, becos each one in the relationship has expectations which will be unfulfilled.
The key is to heal yourself with self love which by the way has no timelines...So, some bounce back sooner than others while some take longer time, and some do not recovery......It is better to be loved and lost than to have never loved at all.This is much better experienced by Parents of the young who are in romantic love. Parents love unconditionally, have to let go or see their loved ones suffer; their helplessness erupts as restrictions, moral lectures or outright rejections. Here love causes rebellion , some win , some loose…..

Love has many facets and will leave an aching heart for all in Love ……Ironically the heart does not listen and keeps to its rhythm, so we will love, loose, and love again n again n again……
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Payal for ur thoughtful and mature comment.

What looks like 'guts'... may be be plain 'foolhardiness'!

There is a time for everything under the Sun. Yes, including a serious relationship.

Wish u well,

Love, Sir
Sundar said…
gerry , grt that u provoke such discussions amongst the youth....
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Yes Bhavika, the thoughts are very clear in ur case... Do love being yourself... till that moment comes. For the right reasons, everything, after all.


Love, Sir
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Mac... It IS a 'wake-up call'!

Love, Gerry
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hi Benita, thanks for the feedback.

Yes, we can not put the cart before the horse! Self Love has to come first. We should be strong to accommodate another in our lives... That's what I mean when I say, "Honey, if you want to experience love, first love yourself."

Keep reading and commenting.

Love, Gerry
Paresh Shah said…
Gerry, liked your 'love session'! Not only the young guns but we, the seasoned ones, too, would need it.

Keep up your writing, come what may.

# Paresh
Gerald D'Cunha said…
"More of this?"

True, Sonal... we can never have enough of this subject. This is the deep hunger... at the same time, 'wrong eating habits', you know, what they can do!

I am happy u liked it. And, u, for sure, are in a better positions to guide your own lovely daughters...

I wish u all a happy family life.


Love Sir
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Maanvi, liked your take on the subject. Young ones like you should be clear-cut on it... else, things go for a toss.

Yes, we should work on our insecurities, first.

Love, thanks.

Thank u for this superb piece of counseling, sir.

-- Karan
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thank you Deepak, for giving a very valuable perspective to the discussion. I really enjoyed reading it and I hope, the young ones will find ur advice very useful.

Thanks again,

Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Sundar for the response. I always value ur words... They really help.

Be in touch. Do offer insights.

suman dhing said…
this is a wake-up for all youngsters!!!!
and we must thank you for such a practical point of view on this subject it is really important for youngster especially to set their priorities right and not fall deep into something which does not even make us happy from within!!
thank you for the wake up call!!!

-suman dhing
suman dhing said…
this is a very practical approach on the subject of love!!!
it is very important for all the youngsters to set our priorities right and not fall into something so deep that it does not even make us happy we all want our love life to be a fairy tale but the fast we realize what makes us happy from within is the right thing to do!!
love ourselves and the people who will be with us no matter what and not follow the trend of relationships blindly!!!!

-suman dhing
Satish Kumar said…
Gerry Sir,

As always you touch upon our life in a beautiful manner. I see that today's youth take a different meaning of love and are losing its core. Initially when i see today's youth falling in love they give their 100% and have no hesitation in expressing it whatsoever. But later on i learn that they have separated and are now moving around with someone. Even in the earlier generation there used to be such love breaks but not so frequently.Hence your article is a real eye opener. We must learn to love ourself without ego, without pride, without selfishness and with equal maturity should get into relationship and not under the compulsion of having one to show to the external world.

Satish Kumar
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Suman, yes, "all that we want is - our love to become a 'fairy tale'"

U said it in ur own lingo!

Keep up the spirit... Keep the focus.

Wish u well in life,

Love, Sir
Gerry sir, my daughter asked me to read this article of yours. I read it , frankly, out of some curiosity. But, what an inspiring write-up!... I immediately ask my daughter, "Do you read sir's articles regularly?"

I wish she does that, sir. And, I certainly will.

Thank you so much, sir, for inspiring all of us. Please keep writing.

With regards and gratitude,

+++ Mehrunisa
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hi Satish, it is so nice of you to make some time and offer your take... I wanted from you guys, because there is a different perspective... We have all gone thru these years... we have our children who are now young... But, this subject has never ceased to touch any time, any one.

Pl giving me ur feedback, time to time.



Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Mehrunisa for ur touching compliments. I am glad u and Razia both loved this article.

It is great to see the mother-daughter-bond so open and neat. Keep it up. Razia is a lovely young soul... She will do well in life.


Anonymous said…
Some wake-up calls come late!!

I am a girl, and I am supposed to be preparing for my TY exams. But, now I am caught up in this depressing hell. I ws into a three-year-long 'bad' relationship with this guy, who turned out to be an 'obsessive character'. He had a low-self image and only drifted, doing nothing.

I kept denying all the while that it ws 'bad'. I lived a life of 'lie'... and, now, finally when things came to a dead end, it has all ended up in a hellish way.

While I am relieved, it has left me drained and wounded. I cannot concentrate enough. I am trying my best to get back to a normal life.

I strongly advice my young friends: It is a 'self-destructive' choice we make for ourselves. Wish I had 'heeded to' this advice before I made my choice when I was in my 12th Standard!

There is more to life than just dealing with this 'waste'... 'Love' or whatever we call it. If it sucks us like this, then it is 'poison'.

Stay away, my friends. Please!!!
Anonymous said…
Sir, I was reading this article and I happened to read this young TY girl's confession. It revived in my mind my own memories. I had a similar hell to pass thru.

Now, what is really worrying me is the fear that my two young daughters might make the same mistake. One of them is into a relationship and while I am as cautious and protective as any Indian mother could be, I have this nagging guilt and a kind of complex in me that I have 'failed' as their mother, that I have no moral authority to 'advice' them.

So, many a times, I scream at them, or just go silent into a sadness.

Your article is equally for mothers like me. I hope, I am not alone in thinking the way I do. I also wish I could get some advice when I was young like my daughters are!

Thanks a lot for helping me and all young ones.

--- a mother
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hi my young friend, at the outset, let me pat on your back for your honesty and courage in sharing your testimony. I am sure, it would help the young ones more than my post would do.

What moves people are the real stories... of people like you.

Now, u really need that time to cool off. U are now going thru a very, very sensitive period... Ur mind is restless, full of regrets and anger, even... Ur heart is in pain, it is lonely... There is a vacuum, a void. I urge u to be strong, and avoid talking about ur personal trauma with persons who can only further complicate the things for us. Mind, at this stage, has a tendency to 'cling' to anything and any one that comes your way. Some one may try to 'rescue' u and , before u know it, you may find urself 'clinging' to him. That's like 'being from the hot pan into the burning fire'! Even more dangerous.

Life doesn't end here, dear. Please value urself, and value ur life. Move one... I hope, u will. Remember, when u realize that it was 'ur own choice' that went wrong, u have no one to blame. Be at peace... and never be in a hurry to get into anything like that, again. There are many ways in which u can bring back ur zest... one of them is learning to care for your own self.

My best wishes to u,

Gerald D'Cunha said…
Ma'am, may I quote Kahlil Gibran, again: "Your children are not your children... They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself...They come 'through' you, but not 'from' you.... And though they are 'with' you, yet they 'belong' not to you..."

In your young daughters' lingo, I want to tell you, "Ma'am, just chill!"

Yes, it is natural that your own actions of the past do come before your mind every time you try to advice or guide your won daughters. Take the insights, take the positive aspect and let go the additional baggage. They will make their own choices as you did in ur lifer... U can do only so much as a mother.

After some years, they have to leave their 'nest'. I pray they will leave happily, and healthily.

Do keep up your zest and reverence ofr life.

Anonymous said…
After reading this blog, i feel that life is so beautiful but we just need to realise the mistakes we have made and ruined everything! Love is the most beautiful feeling in the world... but only if we handle it propeerly...orelse it can make our life miserable! Thank you Sir for making us understand the imprortance of individuality in a relationship...

Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Priyanka for ur comment.

Yes, Love IS beautiful. But, the desperation is not...

The rose is beautiful only when it blooms in its own time... What makes it 'ugly' is our desperation to 'open' when it is still a 'bud'.

Some things in life can be beautiful... only so.

Still, what is important in life is recognizing and owing up this fact.

Life is for humans like u and me...

Let's grow thru our experiences.

Love, Sir
Punita Nair said…
i am more and more convinced that what generally happens with us is - we are in love with the IMAGE of the person, not the PERSON. It is the 'illusion'... the 'mirage' that constantly alludes our hearts, causing only sorrow and pain in life.

= punita
my love = MY MUM AND DAD <3
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Yes Punita, u r right. Loving the 'person' is always a challenge. Image is already formed in our mind... and we find disillusioned when the real person doesn't fit into that image.

The fact that u are able to 'see' it happening has a great beauty and strength in it!

Thanks for the lovely share,

Gerald D'Cunha said…
Kya baat hai, madam! Mum dad will be 'kush'!

Thanks for reading and commenting, Aanchal. Wish u well in life.

Love, Sir
I wd like to share this: I am 18 at present... quite an age to 'experiment'!. My dad keeps at home some of the finest drinks - Whiskey, Vodka, Rum and Beer. He drinks with his select friends regularly. But then, I have not felt the temptation to even taste a sip. The mere presence of bottles around me is not the reason to get into drinks.

Similarly, I have a massive circle of friends, both male and female... and, it has been so, for years now. Some of my female friends are extremely desirable... We really chill and have blast of a time every time we are together. Again, I have never felt that need to 'own' one, at this stage of my life. The mere presence of some attractive females around me is not the reason for me to get into a relationship.

I think, the young guys like me need to be 'clear' and 'strong' on these issues. I personally feel that these are just like forming any of our other habits. We 'choose' them for a'little fun', first. But, eventually, the habits take us over.

Well, it is purely my personal view. Some may survive, superbly. I don't think, I can. So, don't take me too seriously, guys.

... Kunal Reddy
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Kunal for such an interesting anology: Bottles and Friends - which are there all around us... becoming 'something else' if we 'want to'!

Brilliant! I am sure, the young ones will love it!

Thanks again,

Bhavika Ramesh said…
Sir, at our time, we used to 'hide' and do it. The kids, in other countries are 'cool' about it. In India, our kids are also trying to be 'cool'. They see around and find, it is okay with Kareena and Saif, it is okay with Shaheed and Kareena, It is okay with Saif and Amrita, or Saif and that Italian...It is okay with Sushmita Sen and endless chain... It is okay with Bipasha and John, Deepika and her line...

If these 'Maharatis' can manage it, why can't we, the lesser mortals? If the Society is cool about these idols, why should we have any problem? Why should we 'hide and do it' any more?

That's the argument, today... At least, I think so.

May be, like you, I am not in tune with these kids. Or, may be, my more comfortable this way!

I really do not know.

Thank you for the magnificent write-up and the inter-action. It made me feel a lot young at 57!



Things have changed,
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Bhavika, for sharing ur thoughts on this 'hot' subject.

Yes, the hide and seek game is not so popular these days! It looks like an 'open House'!

But, u know, some things always shall remain simple and uncomplicated... One of them is the way we seek our happiness.

They sought 'pleasure' exactly this way even during Noah's time! And, they will in the next world too!

Let's keep it to the basics, Bhavika!

Feel young, being with these 'cool kids'.!


Popular posts from this blog




There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...