They say that love is what makes the world go round and I think most of us would agree. We spend our lives chasing it, finding it, working to keep it – and losing it. For the fortunate ones, they find their once in a lifetime. For the less fortunate ones, they spend their lifetime trying.
Many relationships look perfect on the outside and you wonder what their secret is. They seem satisfied, content and well – happy. You know them. They are the couples and families who photograph beautifully on the holiday card, shining bright from the inside out, radiating love and all it entails. We are fully aware that in reality, no relationship is perfect and as effortless as some may seem, even those couples have their struggles.
A solid relationship requires key ingredients to make it work and over time, may need a little more or a little less of some or the other. Mass media and marketing paint an illusion of love – all rainbows, hearts and butterflies while here in the real world, it beckons courage and vulnerability. The willingness to take a risk.
All those guys in the beer commercials? They don’t always get the girl. And the ladies endlessly searching for their knights in shining armor? He may be standing right in front of you, dented and a little less valiant than you were expecting.
Love comes more easily to some than others, and I am definitely one of the others. I am a card carrying member of the broken souls club and we have a long list of hurts, bruises, fears, anxieties and random other issues that we will spend an eternity working through. We are those less fortunate that spend our lifetime trying – failing, trying again. That love that makes the world go round? It makes us so dizzy that we develop a sort of emotional vertigo and fall right off that carousel of love, landing so hard that we are petrified to jump back on.
When we do get back in the saddle, L.O.V.E. becomes an acronym for ‘loads of visceral emotion’ and it can be a wild, harrowing and exhausting experience. We may have been robbed of our innocence at a young age, had our goodness stolen without our even knowing it. We were oblivious to the signs and never saw the red flags. We may have been involved with cons, cheats and liars who showed us the dark side of relationships. There we learned that love poses a real danger to us because while we loved so freely, the other was playing a deceptive game. The hurt accumulates and the fear builds over the years. Love may as well be a poisonous snake that causes our cortisol levels to soar and results in irrational reactions that depletes our very spirit and chains our heart.
Some become addicted to finding love, jumping from failed relationship to failed relationship, not permitting the time or energy necessary to develop a love of one’s self. Others – those like me – spend extraordinary bouts of time in solitude, thinking and overthinking, reflecting and healing. We become so addicted to our alone time that we could not imagine making room for another unless that other truly enhanced our lives and offers something special that we cannot give ourselves. We may share and spread our love around in other ways, achieving emotional tranquility through platonic relationships, activities and pursuits that reduce our risk for hurt and decrease the odds of being let down – again.
We become quite secure and comfortable in our own company because it is here where we are most at home. There may not be much excitement or many surprises, but the tranquility and peace solitude offers far outweigh the potential chaos and upset of a romantic entanglement. Love becomes a liability and solitude becomes our insurance. We have paid heavily for past damages and we are not sure if we could weather another storm because we are fraught with fear and angst, a vulnerability that comes with a warning label.
Yet when we do love, we do so completely and let this be our disclaimer – we are by no means easy people. It is not our intention to test you or push you away, but it may come along with our kind of L.O.V.E. (loads of visceral emotions). What we seek is someone to help us pack those up and carry them along, knowing the weight of that baggage can be heavy at times, but also knowing that the journey we travel together will lead to a beautiful destination. It will be a love filled with raw truth and purposeful communication, earned trust and understanding. It will be a love filled with security, stability and loyalty as well as friendship, humor and compassion.
It will be the kind of love that makes the world go round.