R.I.P., and What about love?
The cancergiggles guy died last month.
He had blogged for the last several years about his ongoing treatment for terminal cancer.
Sometimes when you read someone's blog, you feel like you know them a bit, you know? I got tears in my eyes when I read that he had died, even tho I'd never met him, and he didn't know I exist.
Which brings me to this:
We sometimes think love has to do with the qualities of the object of our affection -- and partly, that's true -- but mostly it's an internal process having to do with what we get out of the situation emotionally.
The degree to which we know or love someone -- and the hole they leave when they're gone -- is mostly about us. We create or allow that bond. Whether deliberately or unconsciously, we make the space for them in our lives and our hearts, and determine how much of our happiness and joy are connected to their existence.
Which means that:
a) It's subjective. The grief a child feels when they lose a teddybear could be as real and painful as our grief in losing an actual person.
Likewise someone losing a pet.
Likewise the foolish souls who stood weeping in a candlelight vigil after Kurt Cobain shot himself.
b) There are guidelines, but no rules. Love for another person may be based on an entirely different set of factors than it would be for us. It's as varied as our individual personalities and needs. A person who stays with someone who manipulates or abuses them may actually love the abuser deeply. Just because we can see no way a person could be lovable doesn't mean someone else hasn't created an important place for them in their psyche.
c) The situation is more under our control than we may realize. We have more power than we may have thought to "love the one we're with" -- we don't have to wait for them to magically change into what we'd like them to be -- we can create love within ourselves for whom we want.
Likewise a relationship we know isn't healthy for us. People who have affairs sometimes tell themselves they were powerless to resist the attraction of the other person; but if we realize the attraction has 90% to do with us and our needs, we might be able to see how we can take more control of our actions. Or an abusive relationship as mentioned above -- we don't have to be victims to an imaginary powerlessness ("I can't help it, I just love him...") if we're willing to
1. explore what we're getting out of the relationship and
2. either decide we don't need it or begin to seek it in more healthy ways.
This isn't necessarily a very satisfying idea to have about love. It's more fun to believe we're in the grip of powerful supernatural forces, that God or Cupid or Fate or The Ministry of Soulmateness is responsible for our love life, but the above makes a lot more sense to me than other ideas I've heard.
And of course love is a lot more complex than a 200-word blog post. But I think we do ourselves a disservice by propagating ideas of Love that were invented by the writers of Harlequin Romance novels...