MY LOVE FOR FREEDOM MAKES ME ALWAYS GIVE TO MY BELOVEDS ALL THE FREEDOM I POSSIBLY CAN. SO OFTEN, I PUT MYSELF INTO AN UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION WHERE I GET HURT. DOES THIS MEAN I DON'T LOVE MYSELF SO MUCH, AND THAT'S WHY I PUT MYSELF SECOND?
It may be much more complicated than you think.
First, the very idea that you give freedom to your beloved is wrong. Who are you to give freedom to your beloved? You can love, and your love implies freedom. It is not something that has to be given. If it has to be given, then there will be the problems that you are facing.
So in the first place you are doing something wrong. You really don't want to give freedom; you would love that no such situation arises in which you have to give freedom. But you have heard me saying again and again that love gives freedom, so you force yourself unconsciously to give freedom, because otherwise your love is not love.
You are in a troubled situation: if you don't give freedom, you start suspecting your love; if you give freedom, which you cannot give…
The ego is very jealous. It will raise a thousand and one questions: "Are you not enough for your lover or beloved, that she needs freedom — freedom from you to be with someone else?" It hurts, and that's why you start feeling, "I am putting myself second."
Giving freedom to her you have put somebody else first, and you have put yourself second. That is against the ego, and it is not going to help in any way, because you will take revenge for the freedom that you have given. You would like the same freedom to be given to you — whether you need it or not, that is not the point — just to prove that you are not being cheated.
Secondly, because your beloved has been with someone else you will feel a little strange being with her. That will stand between you and her. She has chosen someone else and dropped you; she has insulted you. And you have been doing so much; you have been so generous that you gave her freedom. Because you are feeling hurt, you are going to hurt her in some way or other.
But the whole thing arises from a misunderstanding. I have not said that if you love, then you have to give freedom. No, I have said that love is freedom.
It is not a question of giving. If you have to give it, then it is better not to give it. Remain the way everybody is. Why create unnecessary complications? — ordinarily, there are enough.
If your love itself has come to that quality that freedom is part of it, that your beloved need not even ask your permission… In fact, if I was in your place and the beloved was asking my permission, I would be hurt. That means she does not trust my love. My love is freedom. I have loved her; that does not mean that I should close all doors and windows so she cannot laugh with somebody else, dance with somebody else, love somebody else — because who are we?
That is the basic question that everyone has to ask: Who are we? We are all strangers, and on what grounds do we become so authoritative that we can say, "I will give you freedom," or "I will not give you freedom," or "If you love me, then you cannot love anybody else"? These are stupid assumptions, but they have dominated humankind since its very beginnings.
And we are still barbarous; we still don't know what love is.
If I love someone, I am grateful that that person allowed me, my love, and did not reject me. This is enough. But I don't become an imprisonment to her: She loved me, and as a reward I am creating a prison around her; I loved her, and she, as a result, is creating a prison around me. Great rewards we are giving to each other!
If I love someone I am grateful and her freedom remains intact. It is not given by me. It is her birthright, and my love cannot take it away. How can love take somebody's freedom away, particularly the person you love? It is her birthright. You cannot even say, "I give freedom to her." Who are you in the first place? — just a stranger. You both have met on the road, by the way, accidentally, and she was gracious to accept your love. Just be thankful, and let her live the way she wants to live, and live the way you yourself want to live. Your life-style should not be interfered with.
This is what freedom is. Then love will help you to be less tense, less full of anxieties, less in anguish, and more in joy.
But what goes on happening in the world is just the opposite. Love creates so much misery, so much pain, that there are people who decide finally that it is better not to love anyone. They close the doors of their heart because it is simply hell and nothing else.
But closing the door to love is also closing the door to reality, to existence; hence I will not support it. I will say: Change the whole pattern of love! You have forced love into an ugly situation — change the situation.
Let love become a help for your spiritual growth. Let love become a nourishment to your heart and a courage so that you can open your heart, not only to one individual but to the whole universe.