When I was young, I had a friend that meant the world to me. He was smart, funny, and well-liked by practically everyone who knew him. As interesting as he was attractive, I was always a little taken aback by his flirtatious comments towards me. They were innocent but I never really felt like I was worth the attention.
In between the exchange of stories and laughs, he confessed to me that he was deeply in love with someone who did not love him back. For the sake of his comfort, I responded to him with bewilderment, but I thought I knew that heartbreak very well.
Every night, we chatted, and we watched the friends beside us grow into ethereal beauties. We grew into our own too, but clumsily and without attention.
He desperately reached out for love, but every time the object of his affection possessed a new flame, I watched him burn until eventually the embers of our own friendship faded. “I’ve never met somebody like him,” he used to say. “I can never feel like this about anyone else.”
I thought I would be able to avoid his mistake.
I grew older without him, and in my shrunken spirit, loved many people in silence. They passed through me like daydreams in meditation, but with the drifting of each through my life, I lost a piece of my self-worth. After many years, I clicked on my old friend’s Facebook page and was mortified to find him in a picture with the man that could never love him back. He was still drinking that bitter poison after seven years.
I couldn’t believe it. Why?
Why do we chase people that we can’t have?
It’s because unrequited love is something that we, as a society, dramatize, romanticize, and beautify.
The real reason people chase after people they can’t have is because there is a part of them that believes that they’re not worthy of a fulfilling love life. The only way they can prove their worth is by winning the affections of their prize.
Think about it. How many girls have you seen tolerating all sorts of abuse in a relationship in hopes of changing someone? Don’t think for a second that this is about anyone but herself.
It’s a matter of the chase, an exercise in pride, and a vain spell of infatuation — none these things are love. The irony of it all is that the need for that chase comes from a part of a person that is dangerously unfulfilled, and in that state, they can never truly find what they’re looking for. In fact, they’re blinded to all the actual love around them.
I acknowledge that the people we sometimes choose to love are, in some fashion, extraordinary, but the notion that there could only be one person who is extraordinary enough for us to find fulfillment in is an arrogant fabrication.
When all is said and done, everyone is on a journey, and I myself can’t pretend that I’m finished learning this harsh lesson. It’s a process, it takes time, and you have to commit to it every day. I often find inspiration in Psalm 23:5, which reads “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over”.
That means that I have all of the components within me to be worthy and deserving of love, success, and fulfillment. Whenever I feel myself drawn to people who make me question my self-worth, I choose to give myself the love I’m supposed to have and refuse to look for it in other people.
We have to love the parts of us that feel unworthy despite how hard it can be or how irrational it can feel. That is the only way we’re going to open our hearts to true happiness.