We try so hard to make ourselves lovable, but have you ever asked yourself why you love someone you love? Is it because of anything they’ve done? We grow to love the essence of someone, not the accolades, not the titles, not the things they put on or hide behind or hold up. When someone comes to hold that place in our hearts, when they occupy that spare room in the house that is our very being, the feeling of it is so abstract and goes so much deeper than their concrete achievements. This is how we know it is not their façade that we love.
We love them for those candid, raw moments where they exposed to us, quite possibly by accident, the person they are to the depths of their soul, the essence of their existence. We love them for the moment they laughed uncontrollably, for how they reacted when they were scared out of their mind, for the way they sit there in the idle moments, in the silence between conversations of getting to know each other where all there is is the space and time that could be awkward if you weren’t so comfortable together. We love them for that.
We love them for the unconscious moments, for the times they were there and we hardly noticed. We grow to love someone when we have spent so many moments with them that we can’t even remember them all and it doesn’t matter, because the ones we can remember range the spectrum of emotions. We may not go back that far but we feel like we go way back, because they have been there for both the heavy moments and the light ones. They bore burdens and laughed with us at nothing. It is them through and through. That is the thing we love, and that is the thing we miss when they are gone.
We invite people into relationship with us. Into friendship with us. Into our lives in whatever way we desire their presence. We reach out to them, sometimes continuously. We open ourselves up. We are vulnerable, not pushovers, not pests, but open. We do this in a number of ways but the point is that we do it.
We feel rejected when we invite someone into our lives and they do not respond the way we hoped they would. Maybe they don’t respond at all, or as frequently or enthusiastically as we would like. We know the difference between opening ourselves up and pouring ourselves out the same way we know the difference between asking and groveling. We know the difference between inviting someone closer to us and chasing someone who has become for whatever reason reluctant. It is an important distinction but we can feel the difference instinctually.
We don’t chase because we are unaware that we are chasing. We are perfectly aware of it. We know when we are being ignored. We are extremely sensitive to being ignored by someone we are chasing, because we are examining their reactions, analyzing their replies, picking them apart like a science experiment gone wrong. We know we are chasing them and it is not by accident or ignorance that we do it. We do it because we make excuses for people. “Maybe he didn’t get that text, so it would be fine if I just texted him again.” “The last email I wrote wasn’t really open-ended. I’m sure that’s why he didn’t respond.”
People go out and get the things they want. They find a way. It’s all they can think about. If someone isn’t going after something, if they aren’t actively pursuing it, they don’t want it badly enough. We are so drawn to the things we want that we take steps toward those things sometimes without even realizing it. We invite people into our lives, and if they want to accept that invitation, there will be no question. They will be receptive. They will respond. We will feel it if they do, and we will feel it if they don’t. There is no mistaking it.
There is a vulnerability to that. We have to put ourselves out there and trust that we will be accepted, received by those we care so much about. We give them power, the power to decline our invitation, to reject us, the power to hurt us and make us feel inadequate. There is a beauty in that vulnerability because love is about choice. We cannot force someone to love us, we can only invite them. It is their choice whether they will or not and we can do nothing to convince them or persuade them and we most certainly can do nothing to force them.
All we can do is offer our love, open up the lines of communication, reach out and hope to be received. Often we will be received. On occasion we will not be received the way we wished we would. It’s okay. For whatever reason they could not or would not choose us, it was out of our control.