Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love is... my definition

Remember what love meant to you when you were a child? How about when you were a moody teenager?

I do. And while it was certainly drama-filled and uncertain (Does he like me? Should I kiss him? Why is he hanging out with her? Does he like her more than me?), I remember one very important thing about that young love. It was all-encompassing, all giving, selfless. Sure, I may have lost myself once or twice. Yes, love even made me depressed. But, you know what? Love is all-encompassing, all giving, selfless -- regardless of the cost.

I've been thinking a lot about love recently. What it means, what it looks like, how it acts.

As we get older, a strange thing happens -- at least that I have noticed personally. Everyone says adolescents are selfish and self-absorbed, and they are to an extent. The really self-centered people though are post-graduates. People in their mid to late 20's who are pursuing their dreams. These people are driven to advance in their careers, travel the world and expand their social circles. Us 20-somethings want it all.

At the cost of forgetting how to love.

Ok, maybe I'm generalizing to shelter myself here. This isn't a study on 20-somethings; this is me. This is my personal story, my experience.

I have forgotten how to love. The cost has been the life of my relationship.

No, I'm not newly single. Nothing is earth-shatteringly wrong to the naked eye. Love just feels... different. More so than the honeymoon period ending and the "real love" beginning. Something changed, and that something is me.

I spent SO MUCH time -- when all of my peers were focusing on building their identities and passions -- outwardly focused. I thought I knew who I was and what I wanted, and I excelled in school and at work. So much of my time, though, was spent on others. Pleasing men I loved, helping friends, listening to everyone's problems. Giving, giving, giving... and I never took.

Then something hit the trigger and the tables turned. I'm not sure what it was, but all of a sudden I didn't want to listen. I was done giving. I shifted my focus to me. Me. Me. Me. My career. My situation. My passions. My goals. What I wanted. My needs. How I did things. My perspective. It happened without me even noticing.

It hit me like a Mack truck when I realized it was poisoning my relationship. The honeymoon period had ended, and so had my love.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my man. I do, but I've forgotten how to show it in meaningful, true ways. And it sucks. I miss the way it used to be; not necessarily the yucky, gooey, smoochy honeymoon period, but the JOY. I miss the connection. I miss the love.

I need to shift focus once again. I am going to start listening. Without any ulterior motive of picking an argument, proving myself right or stockpiling ammunition. I'm going to shake up the routine, the awful rut we've fallen into; bring back the spontaneity and having fun. I'm going back to little, thoughtful surprises, which actually requires a change in my mindset to think of those little, thoughtful surprises. My new focus is HIM. Not ME.

My way doesn't matter anymore. Our way does. I'm sure you've heard love is compromise, but I'm taking that to a whole new meaning because love doesn't mean keeping score. Love means "turning the other cheek" -- essentially giving, giving, giving. Doing something (or not doing something) just because it will make the other person's day... or not even... make their moment. Because it affects them, it means something to them.

And, yes, love means figuring out how to stop giving for that beautiful moment when your partner starts giving... and knowing how to receive, but always going back to giving.

Love doesn't cost a thing; it costs EVERYTHING.

"I'm going back to the start..." 
The Scientist, Coldplay

{Photo credit: weheartit}


Jen said...

The Coldplay quote was so fitting for this post. Your new approach to love sounds like very refreshing. :)

Pam said...

Love (and life) isn't about Give vs. Take. It's about balance. If it's all about Him, eventually you will be unhappy. There needs to be balance. It's the absolute key to happiness.

Micaela said...

bless you for this beautiful honest post. compromise truly is everything isn't it?

and the scientist... that song gets me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.


Gabriella said...

Thank you for that honest post! All the best with your new approach on love and life! x

OceanDreams said...

what a powerful post girl. i too need to refocus. sometimes i get too caught up in my plans that i forget about BK and how i can better support him. thanks for the amazing reminder!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Great post!

I really think love is like a roller coast - even love you've had for a long time - it goes through phases. Sometimes it's up and sometimes it's down depending on external factors in your life. A little less than a year ago I was feeling not very in love with my b/f and I was feeling like my life/career/passions were more important. In a very short amount of time that shifted and I was thrown back into passionate love for him. It was crazy.

I'm sure we'll hit down points again, but for now I'm enjoying the peak :)