April 18, 2013

Four Questionable Sayings About Love

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1. “Love just happens.”

People are fond of saying variations of, “Love just happens” or “Don’t look for love, let love find you.” I am indeed the cliché princess but give me a break. How exactly does love just happen to anyone? Take it from a girl who has spent most of her life, albeit very short life, being awesome and busy and waiting, in an effort for love to just happen. Do you know what has happened? I am awesome and busy and still waiting. Only very recently did it dawn on me that eventually, love, like anything else is something that you have to go after and fight for. Even when the situation seems serendipitous, eventually somebody has to take the leap of faith, and be vulnerable, and make a fool out of themself, and do something crazy, and take a chance. I am not saying you should be desperate or feel a need to be in love. But if that’s what you want, you need to stop believing that somebody is going to fall into your lap. I’ve been there, arguably, I’m still there and trying to get out of that mentality, because it doesn’t work. If you want love, you have to stand up and be counted and risk your ego being bruised and your heart being broken. Love happens to those who are willing to be vulnerable to the pain of love so they can also experience the greatness of love.

2. “You don’t choose who you fall in love with.”

This is a little more difficult. Why exactly do we love the people we love? Moreover, do we not have any autonomy over why we feel the way we feel? Even mere attraction boggles my mind — sometimes we’re attracted to completely different types of “looks” and personalities. But I believe a lot of what we find attractive and the things we fall in love with about someone, have to do with experience as well as the messages we consume. To some extent, we can control those experiences and to some extent, we can’t. We can’t because we are brought up in a particular home in a particular city or town and consume our first messages of love from there. Don’t even get me started on the media. Beyond this however, I think we need to recognize our autonomy in terms of who we choose to spend our time with, romantically. The reality is the more time we spend with someone in that way, usually, the more we want to fall in love with them. This is where choice comes in. Even if you don’t choose who you fall in love with, you choose who you continue to love; you choose who you’re with.

3.  “All is fair in love and war.”

I used to love this saying. Then I grew up and found out that just as war has rules, so does love. Of course, when it comes to love, there are no hard and fast, set-in-stone laws. There is no international body to tell us what constitutes the rules and regulations. Still, this saying implies that you can be deceitful in your pursuit of love in order to get what you want. I beg to differ. Love is a lot of things and people define it and determine what their perception of it is. People also determine how they choose to pursue love but there is a right and a wrong way to go about it sometimes. Take the case of cheating. I’ve heard people try to justify cheating because they were honestly in love with someone else or they couldn’t decide who they loved more so they kept the charade going for as long as possible. The “other woman” or “other man” sometimes believes that they did the right thing because they wanted to be in love with that person so badly. All isn’t fair in love and war. You don’t just get to lie, cheat, steal, and intentionally hurt people along the way so you can be in love. Even if you think all is fair in love, remember that karma has a funny way of settling scores.

4. It is better to have loved and lost than never had loved at all.

I don’t know about this. I have known people who early in their adulthood have been severely heartbroken. The pain of loss definitely changed who they were and how they saw life. I think having never loved at all at some point, also starts to feel like an unusual form of being rejected and heartbroken. But I don’t necessarily think that one form of heartbreak is greater than the other. Being vulnerable with someone in a romantic love that you invested your time, your future, and your life in, and having that all thrown back in your face is a devastating experience. When you’ve never loved at all, you can’t claim to know what this feels like. Perhaps, your pain is that from where you’re standing, it seems no one will even give you the chance to invest your life with them. Loss is painful, having never had, is also painful but I speak from experience when I say, you can’t miss something you’ve never had. Love pains aren’t better or worse than each other; they’re just different. TC mark

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