(About a 4 minute read)
These are just my opinions — they might not make sense to others.
As I see it, when we get into a relationship with someone, we have a strong tendency to think of that other person as in some way part of us. But that can go too far — and it often does. We become emotionally dependent on them, and then end up trying to control them in order to keep from losing the part of us that we thing they are. In other words, we end up being possessive.
Does any of that make sense?
It takes more wisdom to accept good advice than to give it.
Whether one pursues happiness in life or meaning, he or she should begin by becoming reasonably true to themselves. Unless you first know who you are, how can you find what makes you happy, or find what is meaningful to you?
Yes, it seems so obvious when you think about it, but why is it not more often said?
Note to anyone who composes poetry. Are you trying to come up with something fresh, vivid, and engaging for a love poem — something original, perhaps? If so, then maybe you consider replacing the all-too-conventional, “I love you”, or “You passionately tore your bodice apart, exposing your lovely breasts”.
Why? Because no matter how many ways you find to say in increasingly intense ways, “I can’t live without you”, that’s an approach nearly everyone takes — and so your poem has likely been written a million times before.
Instead, spend some time thinking of all the small ways he or she — or you — show your love. Recall the details of when you first learned he or she loved you — or when you first knew you loved them. Observe:
“I’ve been a rose
Pushing up through the soil
Reaching up to spread leaves
Eager for your sun.”
Now, what I’m talking about:
“From the first moment you said,
‘I love you’, I was lost,
Time stopped, and my heart
Caught in my throat,
Blocking my breath from escape.”
Both versions are images, but the first loses impact due to its being impersonal — who on earth identifies with a flower faster and more profoundly than with a person?
Just a thought.
It would be a better world for all of us if we could give up from today forward comparing ourselves to others, or comparing others to people besides themselves.
Comparisons kill. They kill by making us feel better or worse about ourselves, and both are deadly. They ironically distract from who we are. Someone says, “You’re more generous than Frank”. That’s a powerful image, and it stays with you. Maybe you were more kind than generous, but now you are inclined to see yourself as more generous than kind.
It seems to me the commonplace notion that “true love is spiced by a little jealousy” is false and misleading. I don’t mean to be brutal, but I believe jealousy is never the mark of love, but rather the mark of emotional dependency.
I suspect many of us call it a mark of love because we don’t want to face the fact that love and dependency are incompatible. Where the one is, the other is not. And we are no longer in love.
If you love someone, you want what’s best for them, not merely what’s best for you. You neither guard them like a jailer, nor accuse them of owing you their love if they look at another man or woman. Instead, you are happy they enjoy the sight — as you would be if you were just a true friend.
But emotional dependency is so common, and love so comparatively rare, that we give up and call the first by the name of the other.
I wish it were not so, but I think it is.
I have known couples who have stayed fresh and in love with each other for years, but they are not possessive. They actively watch out for possessiveness like they would watch out for a nearby snake in the grass. Possessiveness turns into dependency, and then breaks bad.
“Love yourself before you try loving another” is good advice because it helps guard against your tolerating someone’s abuse of you. But it’s not my experience that you must love yourself before you are capable of loving someone else. Instead, I have found that loving someone else first can be what ignites self-love in you.