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Love of power vs. Power of love

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. This quote is from Carl Jung, a renowned psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from the late 19th century. For quite some time I believed that in a romantic relationship there was commonly a predominant party. Since the two could not rule at the same time (I’m now picturing a relationship where both want to rule – seems crazy!), then only one could play this role. Which was naturally held by the one with the stronger personality. From that perspective, this means that one would call the shots, whereas the other would follow. Curious fact is that I didn't realize until recently what that meant and how it did impact a relationship. I guess this was one more of the learned and embedded patterns from my childhood. If we focus for a minute on this scenario, we clearly see a dominant versus a submissive role. Looking closer, we see one holding the power and the other being held by that same power. We behold one imposing their way, while the other is giving away their own. How does that unfold over time? What space is left for love? There is no room for power in love - says Jung. In other words, one cannot truly love neither by subjugating nor by being subjugated. I would be inclined to say that responsibility lies with both as the couple.


On the one hand, there is the dominant partner. The one who is more extroverted, more proactive, the “doing type”. They are used to have it their way, hence they keep pushing to get things moving along. People from outside tend to describe them as pushy and probably think they should be thankful for having such an understanding partner.


On the other hand, there is the submissive partner. The one who is more introverted, more sensitive, the “thinking type”. They have a bunch of ideas, but a hard time dealing with conflict, thus their easiness to let themselves be guided. They are often seen as more patient and empathetic.


Considering these two scenarios, in a dominant-submissive relationship, the power is imposed by the dominant partner. Hence, we are facing the love of power in action instead of the power of love.


Nonetheless, it does not mean that each person does not have the opposite side within. Rather that one of these parts is more predominant than the other. Looking at a romantic relationship, what is challenge here? How can a relationship be elevated to the next level?


Definitely not through power, but with love. It seems that the choice left on the table is to work on ourselves and together as a couple. Perhaps we can get acquainted with our less predominant side by understanding first the role our prevalent side has been playing in our life. Moving then to awaken this less predominant part of ours, especially by learning with our partner.


Surely it is not a coincidence that you have attracted a partner who can mirror this other side of yours who has been more in the shadows. After all, our unconscious craves for expansion, growth, transformation. Isn’t the power of love an alluring and more interesting journey when shared with your loved one?


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