Love is now a competition to see who can feel less, and who can suffer more. I don’t know when this happened but this is what we have become. We have created a division of those who care less and those who care more, according to arbitrary words and actions. I’ve fallen for it. You might have too. And it’s a pretty sad place to be whichever side of the aisle you may have found yourself.
We have become accustomed to keeping tabs on those we claim to care for or we want to be with. Who called first? Who took the longest to respond to a question? Who made the first real move? Who is the one that is making the most effort? And who is the one that is making the least? This is what we have done, and I am not proud of us.
We often talk about how we long for what we can’t have, and maybe there is value in this. Indeed we avoid being the one who doesn’t care more when we retreat from this potential affair. But it strikes me sometimes that in this message, we’re being told that we’re not allowed to love the people we want. You don’t have to tell me twice that what we want isn’t always good for us, and that what we deserve is better. But it strikes me as fundamentally wrong that we position what we want and what is good for us as fundamentally mutually exclusive. It doesn’t have to be.
I watched a video not too long about why we will marry the wrong person. And I understood it from multiple perspectives, and I thought about it in different ways. But I couldn’t shake that the heart of this video was telling us that how we love and who we love and why we love can only end in one way: Insufficient. And maybe love at times feels insufficient not just because we are imperfect creatures trying to love, perfectly. Maybe it’s because we spend far too much time wondering if we are too much in need (caring more) or trying to not be in need at all (caring less).
In the end the only romantic love that makes sense is the kind that is reciprocal. The kind where love is equal not in the how’s and ways but in the sacrifice of self. The kind where you understand that people can’t love you how you love, but they can love how they love. Love hasn’t changed through time and space, but the way we view it and the way we want it, has. Yet still I believe that romantic love cannot be a function of who’s in love more and who’s in love less. That is a love that is destined for death. Because that love is tainted too much with selfishness; sacrifice, inadequate.
There will indeed always be a nostalgia for the ones who could have loved us but didn’t. And certainly hindsight might fill us with regret for not loving those who attempted to give their hearts to us. But any love that doesn’t meet you halfway or that you don’t meet halfway, seems doomed from the start. We hurt when we do not receive the love we want. But we hurt others too when we are not honest that we cannot or choose not to love them, at least in the way they want to be loved.
Love hurts. All love hurts. We cannot help ourselves, we are human. And love is simple but complicated. And we don’t talk about this enough, but love is also ultimately, unfair. But love isn’t hopeless. Even in this age of confusion, love, real love, by it’s very nature, cannot be hopeless. And it’s pretty darn amazing. Even when it doesn’t work out, it still alters your destiny in this lifetime. Because if you find someone who loves you in a way that changes you, in a way that is imperfectly beautiful, and you love them back, I don’t think who cares more or who cares less can matter.
Real love that is really romantic love is rare. But by God if you find it, let it consume you; submit to it. Let yourself be hurt and let yourself sacrifice the pains you feel. Your heart can take it, and your soul was made for it. And believe that you are one of the lucky ones. Because you are.