Make yourself comfy and let’s dive in right away. Let’s talk about love and its implications (told and untold) that one minute drive us crazy about the people we are in a relationship with only to leave us filled with anxiety and on the verge of a panic attack the next one.
Love is a beautiful thing. It is an amazing feeling (when you can actually feel it…) to have. For all the times I didn’t really have a chance to fully embrace it or dive into it without feeling hurt, I still chose to cherish the greatness and happiness I got from briefly waving it “hi” instead of reminiscing/ reliving the hurt I got from it. I chose not to turn into that cynical friend you dread to be around… You know… The one who can’t help but throw some shades at your love story and your new beau, narrating you his/her version of “1000 ways to get your heart broken” or “10 steps to getting your heart in pieces”. No… I turned into the sarcastic one with the naïve smile and the occasional smirk on her face, the one that will pretend she isn’t hurt when in fact she very much is but would rather wait to get home and cry herself to sleep because she doesn’t deal well with letting the world see her misery. Yes… THAT friend… I do believe in love, I do believe it is beautiful but I don’t believe that love is all pink and beautiful and that it is all we see in the movies.
Love is not always that romantic comedy that makes us break into happy tears and wish for a happily ever after. This is not the reality of love. The reality of love is what happens when all the hormones settle down and your haziness from being high on dopamine starts to dissipate. It is what happens when you go back to normal and that you go from being high for days to having your wings cut. It is that sudden anxiety that you feel when you realize you are free falling and about to crash but you hope you won’t because “in theory” your significant other should be there to catch you. And sometimes they are and it is wonderful! But sometimes they don’t and nothing comes close to the hurt you experience at that moment. It is devastating… And though the pain you might experience could be anywhere similar to being punched in the gut and the balls at the same time (for months until you finally move on), some of us are able to walk away with minor emotional trauma that resolves within days, weeks, months (depending on the individual) and a slightly bruised ego, while some other just land in the ER, in a non-reactive coma. Been there many times, occasionally waking up from my emotional coma, only to ask myself how was it possible for a human being to suffer that much pain over and over again… The answer to my question came when I stopped jumping from one relationship to another in hope that it will mend my broken heart, and started focusing on what was happening inside of me.
I understood that love didn’t put me there. Love is a dangerous beautiful thing. It is the expectations we carry and impose to the person we are about to start that emotional journey with that beat us to death, before hijacking the parachute and tricking us to jump off the plane; and next thing you know, you are crashing on the concrete. Sounds scary huh? That’s because it is scary. The moment you crash is the moment the frustrations hit, the arguments, the cold shoulder and/ or sometimes the cold war and God forbid you are a child stuck in the middle of all this chaos. Your stake on love will forever be altered and good luck being an emotionally stable human being again.
As I was in emotional rehab working on myself by myself for myself, the only question that was on my mind was: how can I possibly prevent this from happening again? And if it ever happens, how do I minimize the casualties should I do one or more rounds of this bittersweet suffering? I asked myself this question because I knew that if I kept on doing what I was doing I would turn into your cynical friend I mentioned earlier who you grew tired off and eventually unfriended on Facebook, blocked on Snapchat, Whatsapp, Viber, Imo, and also IRL. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I didn’t want to be that type of person. And to my question, some people’s answer was to build walls around my heart to protect it. In theory it works great but in reality, you confine yourself in a very lonely place emotionally and while you are protecting yourself from being hurt, you are also protecting yourself from being happy. And who wants to live a safe but unhappy life? Maybe some people do but I didn’t.
My epiphany about how expectations could ruin everything before things even started led me to learn how to walk into relationships without expectations; and if this was impossible, helped me keep them very minimal. I have learned not to expect the good nights and good morning calls/ texts and the fluffy stuff that came with being in a relationship. And when my heart was too wild and loving beyond reason, I learned to not expect too much because I couldn’t sustain the hurt and pain that came with being disappointed. I tend to have very high expectations for myself and as a human being, I most of the time fail to hold them, hence disappointing myself at many occasion. So if I can’t hold these expectations, why do I expect somebody to hold them? I have learned to not expect somebody to fix me, mend my broken heart, cure my debilitating loneliness, fill the void I experience more than I would ever like to acknowledge or be my hero and save me from the monsters of my past that more than once have come back to haunt me. I don’t expect somebody to be my everything and I don’t expect somebody to make me his/her everything because the amount of pressure and the unrealistic expectations that come with it are untold of and highly unrealistic! And it wouldn’t be fair to put somebody through that because this is not their job!
The most important thing when it comes to expectations is to not expect somebody to love you when they actually don’t and no matter how hard it is to love someone without being love in return, you have to accept it. Learning to be happy in a relationship starts with being happy alone and this calls to your ability to be self-reliant and to look within yourself for all those things you are seeking through a relationship. It starts with your ability to be independent and keep your expectations from your Significant other non-existent or, at best, minimal because you know that all you need lies within you.
Don’t wait for somebody to make you smile, be happy or give you validation: do it yourself, create your own happiness. Don’t wait for somebody to be your hero: be your own hero, write your own story. There is a power that stems from the ability to be self-reliant and fuels your desire to be happy in a relationship that can only be reached once you have mastered the art of expecting nothing. And until you learn how to do that, being happy will remain nothing but a foreign concept which you will never be able to fully grasp.