After attending the wedding last night and thinking a lot about relationships and love in general this weekend, I’m going to share a little bit of what my failed attempt at love looked like in contrast to what love might actually be. If any of you know better, feel free to chime in, as I’m extremely open to learning these days 🙂
There was a point in our “relationship” (I refer to it this way, because it really never was one) towards the beginning where I remember thinking to myself, “I’d give up everything if we could just be together.” And I meant it. I would let go of every dream, everything I wanted to do, all of the places I wanted to go, if we could just work. If we could be together, and I could settle and teach or something like that, and he could be whatever he wanted, and I’d just love him. That’d be all I needed. He’d be all I needed, because we’d be together. I’d have what I always wanted. Someone who let me love him, who I knew was capable of loving me, and one day I might coax him into actually doing so.
I could have the struggle of love that they talked about. I could have the fight. I could stick through it all. I could withstand it all. I could give up my life and change his. I could lose myself and live just for him, and one day he’d be grateful and realize and love me back. But that’s a very dangerous thing to want. It’s funny, because I think the idea comes from fairytales and romance, but mixed with the basic struggles of life. There’s always a grand gesture where someone is willing to give up everything to stay with the other.
But the thing I think that gets overlooked is that the other person never lets that happen. Whether they end up together or are forced to let go, the thing that makes what appears before us love, is that it forces the person to do the right thing. The purpose is to build one another up. It is to see one another reach their potential. When we give up on ourselves and our dreams, we lose our purpose.
We have so many facets to our being that need attention and care. When we begin to neglect those essential seeds, those things that make us who we are, the ones that grow us, we begin to wither on our branches. We damage our ability to create and share as our threshold begins to shrink. We can’t care for others, because we aren’t caring for ourselves. Our purpose fails to be fulfilled, and we become less fulfilling to others. We are not doing our part. We are not sharing our heart as it was meant to be shared.
We can’t give up everything for a relationship. That is not what love is about. It is about nurturing and growing one another mutually. Compromise, yes. Sacrifice, yes. But all in kind. Not one-sided. And always with the best interest of both people in mind. If the struggle serves only to bring one or both of us down, then the struggle is simply for the sake of struggle.
There is no capacity for growth when there is no foundation to grow from. Instead, the system collapses upon itself, and digging our way out of such a mess rarely leaves a relationship intact, and even less frequently does it leave a relationship well-off. An insight that was impossible for me without deep reflection