I think it’s fair to say that one of the many things ALL human beings have in common is our yearning for love and acceptance. And one interesting thing about love is that regardless of the country or the culture, no matter the language or the laws, and regardless of one’s socio-economic status, love is expressed in mostly similar ways throughout the world – with a tenderness that warms the heart and lightens the touch.
It doesn’t matter if the object of our affection is a newborn baby, or a frail and declining elder; it can be a sibling, a parent, a close friend, or a lover real or imagined – when it comes time to express our love, something inside us shifts gears and we become all soft and gooey.
Sometimes, however, when our love – particularly the romantic variety – is not reciprocated, it can cause anguish that pierces the heart … an ache there’s just no escaping. Hopefully it doesn’t happen often, but I’m guessing each of us has experienced it at least once in our lifetime … more, if we’ve been particularly unlucky – or if our ‘chooser’ has been out of whack.
It’s Not You … It’s Me
This can be a very challenging time, both for us and for our friends who have to contend with us as we process this rejection. Nothing seems to hurt deeper than rejection, does it? Curiously, rejection in its simplest form can be a fairly straightforward matter – like any other potential transaction, we put forward an offer and it’s either accepted or declined. However, it’s the meaning we attach to being declined that really does us harm.
For some reason, when we offer our heart to someone and they refuse it – or worse, they accept it and then abuse it – we tend to internalize some kind of blame for this outcome, as if our love was dismissed as inferior or otherwise devalued … and this leaves us feeling bad about ourselves. It’s a peculiar reaction, really, to willingly assume we’re not enough.
Wait … Maybe It Is You!
There are many opportunities for romance throughout one’s lifetime … some liaisons are deep and enduring, some are intense but temporary, and some are peripheral – which is to say, they never quite evolve beyond casual. They all have their season, and each can contribute a unique thread to the tapestry of our life.
The trick is to recognize which is which, so that our expectations match our reality. When we allow ourselves to get out of sync with this reality, that’s when trouble begins. One partner wants more, the other wants less; one partner becomes insecure, the other becomes wary; resentments form, injury develops, war is waged, and eventually … all is lost.
We Actually Have To … Talk?
The key to avoiding such heartbreak is sincere communication … the kind where both partners bring total honesty to the table and are willing to become vulnerable enough to share their true feelings; the kind that can germinate the seeds of common understanding and trust, identifying to what degree their wants and needs align, and to what extent it’s safe to reveal their heart – and then invest just to that extent, and no further.
Sadly, this quality of communication isn’t as common as one would hope … and as a result, Love takes the blame for failed relationships – when it’s likely more a problem of mismatched intentions from the very beginning.
Leave That Baggage In The Past …
So, how do you communicate your expectations in a relationship – are you open to having ‘that conversation’ when it seems time to take the plunge? Or do you just close your eyes and take a leap of faith – right over the edge? And if by chance it doesn’t work in your favour, do you grow from the love that was lost? Or does your heart become bitter and resentful – and if that happens, who suffers from such a shift? Honestly, was there nothing of value that you can take away with you? No lesson; no cherished moments; nothing that made the experience a rich encounter?
If you are one of the many people who still carry the baggage of a failed romance, why not re-examine it from the perspective of mismatched intentions and see if that helps bring some peaceful closure for you. Try to not need to assign fault, but instead accept it simply as misaligned expectations, and release yourself from the burden of resentment. Your heart will thank you …
… and while you consider this, remember focus on the Good Things in Life!