Recent conversations with friends sparked a talk about puppy love. Is it real love or is it just infatuation?
To say that first impulse is hormone driven is only partially true. All the emotions and feelings are mixed up with that intoxicating phermone-flooded passion. Puppy love may be the purest kind we know, or are capable of. But it comes in burn out doses and so we write it off as teenage lust, but it’s much, much more profound.
Snakes, for example, suffer a similar fate with their lethal doses of venom. A baby snake releases all its poison in one bite. It hasn’t learned yet how to how dangerous that can be. Once the venom is released, the snake is then vulnerable to predators. It’s going to take a while to build back up again, and in the wilderness that can be the difference between life and death.
The older snake, however has learned to dole it out in smaller doses. Survival technique. Human adults are the same. We’ve learned to hold back. Not to give our hearts away. To assess the situation before we hand ourselves over to the willing victim.
A young person is playing with everything they’ve got—all the cards on the table—no holding back. That makes puppy love one of the purest , most intense forms of love we are capable of.
Don’t you remember the first time you fell madly passionately in love? And when you get hurt, the relationship ends, it’s devastating because that love is so addictive you want it back.
More, more right away. And the next relationship is just as beautiful and perfect and passionate and full of fire but the love is slightly different.
Maybe you picked someone who you thought wouldn’t break your heart so fast. So, that love is stronger, but not better, just different. A fix. Something to tide us over the real deal.
And we don’t hold back when we are young, so we’re still going for it, again and again, holding back only a little more. Maybe the pain is a deterrent for a while, but the push and the pull of love is strong.
Like a snake bite, opening oneself up to love can be seen as a potentially dangerous act, where vulnerability may result in pain or heartache. As we grow older and gain more life experience, it’s natural for us to become more cautious and selective with our emotions.
The adult venom is super potent. That critter who gets it is toast. But adults need to learn how to be vulnerable again and they’re more careful. It takes longer to trust.
A lifetime of learning has taught the snake, and the human heart to be more careful, that being vulnerable is dangerous. So they may shut down for a while, like the orchid. They go dormant. But that potency is always there and if the timing is right, and the situation they can let go and give their heart again.
Is it worth diving back into the jungle after a break, learning to trust another with your tenderest organ is the reward for lowering your guard, and being willing to risk pain?
There’s no other way to put it. Young love is fabulous, but maturity only enhances all the best aspects of intimacy, while mitigating the risk.
The snake learns through trial and error and close calls, molting out of scarred carcasses more than once. It learns to dole out its potency in rationed doses, not to quickly give away everything that makes him so vulnerable.
Humans also learn to hold back from handing over the heart. The complexities in depth of love come later, if we learn to be vulnerable again, it does become a passion so intense it will blow your mind.
Love later in life comes with the strength that can withstand the highs and lows of life, battle scars, and wounds we all get each time we journey again into the jungle of the human heart.
Putting ourselves in vulnerable position it is more than worth the risk of another adventure into the human heart jungle.