Are you ready to truly love someone? It’s not for the faint of heart. People tell themselves they can do this because they know the feeling of getting swept up in someone else. But that’s more a storm of neuro-chemicals we give ourselves via our own thinking, it’s not really because of the other person. It’s due to our thoughts about them. And it is a great feeling.
But the peaks are easy. Everyone loves the peaks. It’s how we handle the valleys that counts. That’s where we prove our love. Where it’s hard.
Every person you know will have a huge variety of days in their lives. Even if we died at 30, that’s almost 11,000 days. And to experience happiness you need something to compare to, so you need days that suck so that you can recognize the ones that are great.
Let’s say we voluntarily surrender 4% —a pretty small amount of our time— to us experiencing things we don’t enjoy. That’s about 450 days for every 30 years. That’s more than a year for each stage of life. So if you want to know how good your relationship is, you’ll find out during those days.
When people are scared they’ll be aggressive because they feel unusually weak. But if you love someone you have faith in their core. And so behaviour outside of their normal patterns doesn’t look bad to you —it looks like a sign that something is wrong. They don’t need scolding. They need help. They don’t need to be deserted. They need to be hugged.
We all fluctuate in our psychological state. To say someone is mentally or emotionally healthy is to say that they exhibit a general kind of equanimity. They maintain a rare —though not constant— state of gracefulness in their interactions with the world.
Of course, even those individuals can slip into weaker, self-critical thought-streams. And as long as they think those insecure thoughts they will feel those insecure feelings. But those thought based feelings are inside us, they are not really part of the relationship, but rather they form our narrative image of it.
A relationship is not failing if one or the other of us is facing an enormous struggle. Maybe one of us drinks too much. Maybe one of us has a secret lover. Maybe we’re not proud of ourselves and our self-hatred is bleeding out into our treatment of other people. Maybe our lack of power over cancer is causing us to over-exert power at work and now our job’s in danger and that’s causing relationship strife.
There are a lot of ways to struggle, both minor and major, but they are all worthy of our respect. It is during these times that people prove whether or not they love someone. The real questions is, will you stick with them when it’s hard, or only when it’s easy?
We can look at the person we’re dating’s worst days. Imagine 4% of our life being spent that way. If they’re still worth it, then we’re fine. And if that feels like too much, always remember, someone will always have to be just as forgiving to us. 😉
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.