All our lives we see skewed perceptions of love.

Some of the blame goes to the fairy tales, and consequently some blame goes to Disney for perpetuating the fairy tales. Another huge suspect is chick flicks and Hollywood in general. There is a "meet cute"---so cleverly put in "The Holiday"---a man and woman have a chance encounter and that's it; that's the hook, line, and sinker. Sure a fair share of trouble ensues before they end up together, but in the true fashion of romanticism, the girl gets the boy or the boy gets the girl.

Even characters in movies like "He's Just Not That Into You"---a movie meant to provide a more realistic view on love---end up happily ever after. The good people get what they want and the losers get what they deserve. The guy who is a jackass ends up alone while the noble girl moves on. The woman who can't find love finds it with the guy who has been her love "tutor". A man who can't commit realizes he doesn't want to live without the girl so they get married.

Stories, fictional and true, perpetuate the love myths.

It can be the story where two people meet, it doesn't initially work out, but time passes, and they get another shot. We like those stories, and indeed they are possible, but you can't spend significant energy clinging to a hope that something with someone will someday workout. While it is extremely possible you and that person can and will find love in the future, maybe even with each other, you have to keep living. You have to move forward without having all these plans for life with that person.

At the times when your heart is the lowest, people tell you it will "all work out"; "he or she wasn't good enough for you anyway"; "you're the full package"; "I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to be with you". While all of these sentiments are uttered in compassion and love, they make you feel worse. Their words are further validation and evidence that even though you might think you're enough, the person you wanted to be everything to didn't feel the same. You weren't enough for them to chase you, to fight for your love. Although is is no reflection on your personal self worth, you weren't enough. In the end, I guess that is a good thing. You shouldn't have to constantly struggle to obtain someone's love. You can't make someone see that you're the best thing that has ever happened to them. You don't want to have to tell them that. They need to see it for themselves. Pushing the issue on them can't capture true love. Love is hard, but sometimes it's harder than it should be.

Although this may drip with cynicism, in most real-life cases, love doesn't happen the way we think it will. Often times, love hits us when we least expect it. Love doesn't always look the way we think it will look, and most of us don't have fairy tale love stories.

It can seem like "if love is really forever, you're a winner at a losing game"---thank you Rascal Flatts. Finding love is bombarded with a series of mistakes, misconceptions, and misunderstandings until one day...ever thing starts to add up. It can seem like that time when everything will start to add up may never come. You make yourself crazy running in circles loving someone who doesn't feel the same.

Love does not always conquer all. Sometimes love is not enough.

We are all guilty of falling in love with beautiful disasters. People who want to love us but can't give us what we need or deserve. People who only bring us pain, but we come back for more. And sometimes, we are those beautiful disasters ourselves. It is the fulfillment of the old adage: "You can't get enough of what you really don't need". You curse, cry, and cringe at the thought of starting over. However, tomorrow always comes, even if you swear you can't make it through another one. For some reason, "it's like you love this pain a little too much, love your heart all busted up". If you can feel pain, it means you can at least feel something. The whole idea of it being "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all".

It cuts your soul when someone is your priority and you are only their option. Hearts get broken and words get tangled. So people continue to write sad songs. We take our time drowning in the words, trying to find solace in the pain. It consumes you, but at the same time, you can't think too much about what you lost or what you didn't have a chance to gain, because if you do, the pain is more than you can take.

All around you people seem to find love, and it still remains a mystery.

You look at the outside and it seems so easy. You wonder how you will ever get from point a to point b. Then someone comes along and changes your whole life. Suddenly the skewed perception begins to right itself. You begin to understand all the love songs and how maybe it can all happen. Sometimes that is the start of your own version of happily ever after. Other times it ends and you are more confused. Ignorance was bliss. You can't go back to the way you were before. Instead the love song becomes another sad song. Even though it seems impossible to do, you pick yourself up and start to put the piece back together. Some cases take longer than others. You can try to find solace and fill the hole inside you with someone else, but I know from experience that even though it may feel good at the time and push the hurt from your mind for a season, it doesn't fix anything. Even though it feels impossible, you feel more empty inside.

Real love comes down to the fact that two people each have their own choices to make.

You can love someone and they can not love you back. Two people can love each other, but for whatever reason, cannot commit. You can choose someone, but they have to choose you back. Love is a mutual understanding and desire to be with another person, no matter what happens in life. We all have baggage. We all have faults. When it all comes down to it, we are each our own form of disasters. Most of us are, in "Grey's Anatomy" terms, dark and twisty and damaged. Love is messy, but love is also great. Love has a power like no other. Although you may still be waiting to experience the perfectness of that emotion, I am told that it will happen. I have to believe it. I know it will.

Life without love isn't much of a life. While romantic love is still lurking in the corridors, evading your grasp, deep love is still possible. Love for family and dear friends. Love for Heavenly Father and the Savior. Love for the opportunity of life. Love of self in the unselfishness of terms.

Even in your darkest hours, love is all around you.


Brittany said...

Clarissa, you have such a way with words. Thank you for this post. I definitely needed to read it today.

jjfid said...

I really felt what you said here Rissy! Thanks for sharing your amazing insights and being willing to open your heart and let us take a peek inside. You really do have a gift to express feelings. I love you! xoxo Auntie