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Friday, May 6, 2016

And then there was you

Friday, November 12, 2010

A constantly recurring them on Internet social networking sites is romantic love. Young people especially write every day about love found, love lost and love betrayed. It's one subject that people of all ages can converse about on equal footing because an older person with a PhD doesn't know anything more about it than a 16 year old. It is, without question, the world's greatest dilemma.

People think they know of course. They think they've found the perfect person or are in the perfect relationship until things blow up in their face and then they're left dumbfounded, mystified, hurt to the core and perhaps scarred for the rest of their lives.

Love can be the cruelest emotion or a peak experience like no other, depending on which side of the equation you find yourself. When you're in love and you're certain the one you're in love with is in love with you too, life is a grand holiday, each and every day. You walk around with a permanent smile on your face. Other people see that glow that can't be hidden or disguised and often remark to you that you seem happy or cheerful today. You have that warm, content, complete feeling inside you that your life is perfect and you hope it never changes. And this emotion that is so overwhelming affects us in a very positive way in how we do our jobs, our platonic relationships with others, the social events we attend and every other aspect of our life because loving and being loved makes us complete like nothing else can.

When we're in this stage, there's nothing we can't handle and nothing we can't do. In fact, we do things better than we've ever done them before because life is attitude, regardless of who you are. When your attitude is positive, you're much more likely to excel than when it's not and when love has taken us over completely, it's impossible NOT to be positive. In fact, we often tell the other person that everything we do, we do better because we're in love with them. They fill up every corner of our mind and everything we do, we do for them.

It's truly an incredible emotion and a remarkable experience.

But then our world is turned upside down when things go bad. Maybe nothing has been said out loud but we can just feel that something is different. At first, it's a subtle change in attitude from the other person but as time goes by, the change magnifies.

They're not saying the things anymore that they've always said to us or, if they are, they're not being said with the same feeling, or intensity, or emotion. We ask them if anything is wrong and they say no even though we know there is.

This is when we usually double down and spend extra time telling them how much they mean to us and how much we love them. Sometimes this works but sometimes it doesn't. And when it doesn't, they take their love and walk away and our world crashes down around us.

When the love of my life walked away a few years ago, I met a colleague as I was walking across campus and, when she looked at me, she stopped and asked me if I was okay. I said, "Yea, I'm okay, why?" And she said, "You just look so sad."

And she was exactly right. It was the deepest, most profound sadness I've ever felt and it never goes away. I was helpless to change my situation because my happiness was no longer under my control.

Because no matter how hard we try, we can't make someone else love us. We can promise them the moon and, even if we could deliver, that wouldn't do the trick either. People either have a connection or they don't. People either love someone or they don't and there's absolutely nothing we can do to change that equation except to be ourselves. I've seen so many people try to change their behavior, attitude, or personality to please another person and it never works.

In fact, falling in love with someone occurs precisely BECAUSE of who they are, what they look like, how they talk and walk, and a hundred other things that makes them the unique person they are. There's never been anyone else exactly like us in the history of the world. There isn't now and there never will be.

So as hard as it is to bear when we lose the love of our life, the most important thing is that we stay true to ourselves. If they loved us once, they loved us because of who we were and if they're to ever love us again, they'll love us for the same reason.

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Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night