“I think love is being selfless, and I could never see myself as selfless. It’s accepting someone for who they are, but that’s just bullshit. You don’t accept an abusive person just because that’s the way they are.” — my friend Kyle.
My fascination with how other people view the world is fueled more and more with every new person I experience. The conversations I have with people on what the word “love” means in their individual perceptions find their way into my daily life– in my work ethic, my interactions with strangers or the way I react when my car windshield is struck by a pebble and cracked, though putting that into public words sounds weirder than I anticipated. An outside opinion on love is thrilling, and it never ceases to amaze me what people form into coherent thoughts and fluid sentences.
To think a single word could cause so much discourse amongst the population, yet the feeling of love is often described in the very same way, has caused me to look deeper into the differences we have as a society. Interestingly enough, each thought of something varies but the feelings are identical… and, well, that’s another article for another time.
The concept of accepting someone for who they are seems to have been skewed over time– an acceptance for a person’s core has become related to drawing them into our own individual lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth; it is not the same thing to invite a person with open arms and naivety, but an understanding that you are powerless; that your control ultimately means nothing when it comes to the relevance in someone else’s eyes. Delving into the business of changing others is a failure in the waiting– a heartbreak, not for them but for you. We have no real power; we cannot alter what we cannot control. No, I do not believe that people are incapable of changing; becoming lost causes who simply learn how to lie better. Yes, I think we absolutely contribute to helping shape a person with our influences; though emotional separation is required should one decide to take on the part of being a role model. In the end, we only have power over ourselves and immediate circumstances, and accepting that a person is a prick doesn’t mean we allow them to affect us or bring that negativity into our own existences. The release of blame, malcontent and feeling poorly simply comes from recognizing that there are some people who are not meant for us.
It took me many years and several failed relationships with people to understand what compatibility actually meant; how some people will simply be unhealthy for each other no matter what the intentions are or how open and tolerant you may be. We will meet people who have no business being in our lives whatsoever, and learning to accept yourself, first and foremost, will make those transitions all the easier. The key to understanding the emotional separation that comes with saying “this person and I just aren’t meant to coexist together” is found in each of our self-value systems; the better we feel about ourselves, the easier it becomes to accept reality. Sadly, most of us attach a negative feeling and connotation to when two non-compatible people don’t instantly form an inseparable bond together. This notion that we must befriend everyone is nothing more than ignorance; the idea that there is something “wrong” with one or the other who don’t create that friendship is misguided at best– why can’t two people just not it together?
Our society places so much importance on the status of our popularity– the more people we befriend, the more attractive we seem and subsequently feel. While I agree with the concept that we should all strive to make connections with others, the reality is in the plethora of personalities; dictating there are more people who are not compatible than people who are, and none of that is nearly as negative as we display or internalize. It is a concept of insecurity that fuels our high expectations of social connection. Our opinions of ourselves are low– to the point of needing external validation, and should one decide they are not well-matched with us, it becomes an insult as if we internalize the many ways we could be “wrong.” As subjective as right and wrong are, I see a concerning lack of awareness for the idea that something right for one is not necessarily right for another.
The rejection feels as though we are not worthy; our self-worth is dictated by another; accepting ourselves becomes a battle that most would tell you just plain sucks. It’s my belief the perception needs a shift; an understanding brought by awareness of ourselves, our place in the world and our focuses should become primal instinct. We are not nearly as different as we’d like to believe, and while our thought processes might vary from person to person, our feelings remain identically described and would suggest we all feel pain, we all feel happiness and we all feel love in almost the exact same way.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Photo Source: mindfulhappiness.org