Thursday, 4 August 2011

what is love?

I had this thought cross my mind today as I was stocking patient charts. 
What is love?
What do I consider love to be?
Is it really love or is it an ideal that I've created in my mind that is skewed?

One of my biggest problems is freaking out and having anxiety attacks over minor issues.  I work myself into a frenzy and literally cannot turn my mind off.  Last night I lay awake on my bed until almost 12 a.m. and considered all the things that could possibly go wrong in my life, financially, physically, relationally, emotionally... I drive myself into negativity, constantly focusing unhelpfully on possible things that could go wrong.

With my brain I rationally know that anything could go wrong.  Every relationship has an aspect of risk, is somewhat of a gamble.  Physically, you never know what could go wrong with your body, how you may need to seek medical attention.  Emotionally we all have scars and demons that we fight with until the day we die. 

What is the point in contemplating these negative things and making myself freak out while I'm sleeping alone at night?
Anyway, back to what I contemplate love to be.

I suppose I consider it to be what my parents have shown and taught me.  My dad is very respectful of my mom.  Of course they would fight--on one occasion she even threw a knife after which we would grab all the kitchen cutlery and hide it when they were getting angry--and they aren't a perfect couple, but one thing my dad has displayed is a respect for my mom.
He would never talk about her and their issues to anyone else because he knew how much that would hurt her.  He told us that he loves her more than he loves us--I know that sounds harsh, but she is the person he plans on spending the rest of his life with, not us his children.
My dad and my mom are individually very frustrating people at times and I have a broken relationship with them at the moment, but they have displayed exemplary behaviour when it comes to persevering in a relationship.

So I guess love means perseverance to me and I've constantly made the mistake of throwing in the towel.   "Ahh, things are getting hard! Woe is me!" *arms windmilling wildly in the air* "I'm giving up!" 
I seem to lack perseverance when it comes to many things, another thing being exercise.  I used to be extremely rigid in my daily routine and now I've just become apathetic and lazy.  I used to stay on top of my finances and now I'm dealing with credit problems because I've been lazy.  I tend to bury my head in the sand when things get overwhelming and scary.

Okay, what else?

I kinda think that love is give and take, each person looking out for the interests of the other.  So, automatically when I want something, I believe that it will be given to me because they love me.  I suppose that's a very flawed way of thinking.  Number one, I shouldn't be considering what I can get from someone, but what I can give to someone.  Generosity and thinking about others tends to distract one from negative thoughts.  Number two, I shouldn't believe that love hinges on what one can give to you or whether they make good on their promises.

And now, I very highly value promises people make me and I think that is because of my parents again.  They made promises to us as children and they failed on multiple times to keep their word.  Each time they changed direction we would cry and say, " promised!" as if it was the trump card, but then my dad would say, "I'm human, I make mistakes.  Sorry."  Saying sorry to a twelve year old for not keeping a serious promise doesn't really cut it and it's very hard to forgive.

When people who say they love me make a promise, I expect them to keep it and it hurts me a lot when they don't.  It causes distrust to grow in my heart and forgiveness is very difficult.  It takes me back to when I was a child and how my parents treated me.

Know thyself.  The more I think about these issues, the more light I cast on my current behaviour.  I want to be a good partner, I want to be a person who cares about people around them and I don't want to wallow and focus solely on myself.  I've allowed myself to live in this place of self pity and negativity when really, God has given me the tools to help people and has created me to express and communicate myself to others.  Getting away from sitting at home and contemplating the "what if's" is most likely the key to this situation.  The key to opening the door to change, anyway.

Back to "what is love?"...
It's give and take.
It's keeping promises.
It's also...
...considering the feelings of your partner and acting accordingly. 

I expect and hope the person I'm with to think about how his actions make me feel and to consider thoughtfully before embarking on whatever he chooses to do.  However, that works my way as well.  I should probably stop saying "we need to break up" and start saying "how can we work through this?".  I should consider the fact that when I get upset or cry, it makes him feel causes him to feel inadequate.

There are so many aspects when it comes to love, it's overwhelming, but I think I'll settled with those three definitions today.

Give and take.
Keeping promises.
Considering each other.

I'm going to continue contemplating what love means to me and hopefully I will be able to see how I can change and get my emotional responses under control.

To lighten up this entry...

My parents stopped by my apartment last night with a couple of my siblings.  They sat with my around the dining room table and we discussed the family reunion we are planning this Saturday. At one point Sue started yelling and defending Josh (who wasn't even there, wtf) and that's how my family is... Loud, annoying, opinionated, dysfunctional, smothering, emotional, and moody.  It was nice to have people there to talk to, even though we may not get along or things may be strained.  I forgot in that moment about my problems.  I stopped obsessing as we tried to trouble shoot the issue of rides.  And then I realized when they left that I need to stop being selfish and stop worrying.

Even lighter...

I woke up this morning around 5 and Licorice was pacing around the bedroom, watching Mr. Cat and I sleeping together on the bed.  I called his name and he jumped effortlessly up on the bed and curled up on the other side of me.  He doesn't just lay beside me...he snuggles up, puts his nose against me and smells me contentedly, rests his head right against my body as if needing the physical comfort.  Sandwiched between the two animals that love me so unconditonally, I felt so peaceful and happy. 
So fuck it, I'm posting more animal pictures because I love them both.

Here's to continuing down the path of self discovery and enlightenment!

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