Unrequited is OK

Every now and then I get reminded what real Love is.

And every single time I’m surprised that it’s so easy to lose sight of it.

We spend so much of our lives chasing Love. We make fools of ourselves for it. We hurt ourselves and others in the name of it. We grow and celebrate and twist and turn and laugh and cry in pursuit of it.

But oh so rarely do we actually stop and think about what it is.

Too often it’s not until we’ve had it and “lost” it that we wake up and think “Oh! That’s what it’s supposed to be like!”

Even then we don’t quite get it–because we think we’ve lost it.

That right there is the biggest misconception ever.

Real Love isn’t something you can lose.

Real Love is something you give.

We can chase and reach all we want–that won’t get us Love.

But we forget that. We think it’s all about what we get from others. We think we have to receive for it to be good. We think what we should only give our Love when we’re going to get it back.

Most of these misconceptions come from how we’re told things “should” be. As anyone who has taken a minute to think about the matter, few things are ever how we think they “should” be. All of our “shoulds” don’t mean a bit in the face of what is.

When it comes to Love, what is is that we get it only if we give it. When given freely and without expectation, something always comes back our way. Or, even more frequently (and more frequently missed), something else wells up within us.

Without fail, we all forget that inner joy. Instead we quest for the flutter and flame of romance (so much easier to recognize, so much easier to explain to others). We look for that and we call it Love. If we’re lucky, in a moment of fun, we forget we want something in exchange for what we give and real Love slips in.

I know I’m as guilty as anyone of forgetting what real Love is like.

But, every now and then, when I’m out and about, I run into someone I do actually Love. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone I’ve Loved for weeks, months or years, the effect is always the same.

I see them happy and I smile. I smile because that’s all I ever want for someone I really Love–for them to be happy.

Sure, I wish it was me making them happy, but that’s secondary to what is real.

If you Love someone, their happiness is what fills you with joy.

That is where the connection is made.

The best case is that they feel the same way. Then the system feeds itself and you discover something better than Romance. You discover that feeling you’ve been looking for, loud and strong, resonating between you and another person.

More typically, they don’t feel the same way and you feel a bittersweet twinge. The bitter part comes from the unrequited hopes, not the unrequited Love. If you can move past that, you’ll see that the deeper feeling still rings true.

Of course, the only way to get to that point is to practice. I prefer to practice by crushing on people. Right off the top I’m not looking for actual returned feelings. As time passes and I get to know her as a person, though, it becomes easier and easier to separate my hopes from what is.

The actual Love becomes disentangled from the Romance and the weight of expectation and want.

I forget that, sometimes.

But all it ever takes to remind me, is seeing her smile.

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