It’s a truly strange feeling to want something so bad with all your heart, but to avoid it for just that reason. What am I talking about you ask? I’m referring to that topic I find myself so often pondering, Love. In so many ways, I long to fall in love and to have someone special in my life. I want someone to share life’s ups and downs with and to hold close at the end of the day. I want someone to hold hands with and know that, in that moment, I am not alone. I want that special someone that loves me, is there for me, and that I can be there for in return.
I miss the sweet release of oxytocin that comes from human contact and the comforting feel of not waking up alone. I’ve been trying to learn to live without any of this, learning to love myself and accept me for me. I’ve been trying to get used to the loneliness hoping that it would fade away over time.
I think in a lot of ways, I’ve been successful in those efforts. I do love myself more than I probably ever have, and am accepting of who I am. I don’t see myself as being perfect in any way, but I do see those imperfections as the things that make me so unique and beautiful. I have learned to live with the loneliness, but that doesn’t make it go away, and it doesn’t make it feel any less intense. I’ve just learned to accept it.
Some days are more of a challenge than others for sure, but it’s those tough days in which I long for love the most that let me know I am probably not yet ready to find it. It’s in that depth of my desire to find someone special that prevents me from doing so. And I don’t mean in any law of attraction, I’m focusing-on-a-lack sort of way. I mean that I’m quite intentionally and consciously NOT seeking out love because of the intensity of my desire for it.
I don’t want to meet anyone that feels like they need me. I want someone that absolutely does NOT need me, rather, they just really want me in their life but there is no sense of dependency. That’s what I want to offer as well. I don’t want to NEED anyone or feel like I do. So, as long as I keep feeling that desire wandering dangerously close to feeling like a need, I need to stay away and keep working on myself.
In so many ways, it would be far easier just to accept myself as being one who is better suited to being in a relationship. That’s what I’ve pretty much always done in the past and as a result, I’ve spent very little of my teenage or adult life alone. In fact, since my ex wife left, this is the longest stretch of time that I have been entirely single since I was probably 13. But just because it’s what I’ve done for 2 decades now, doesn’t mean it’s what I want to do moving forward.
Obviously, what I have been doing hasn’t exactly worked out as well as I’d hoped, and I just don’t see how repeating the same behaviors should yield any differing results. It’s basically the definition of insanity and I’ve had quite enough crazy in my life already thank you very much. I want to do it differently next time. I want to wait until I’m 100% confident that I am complete and whole before I get myself involved with anyone else in any serious manner, not get into a relationship because I feel like there is something missing in my life.
It’s a bit like the puzzle analogy I referenced in The Art Gallery of Love. I think I’m pretty close to having all the pieces in place. But every once in a while, I have an evening where I experience an extremely intense desire to have someone around to hold and be affectionate with. Nights like this show me that there is still a piece of that puzzle missing and further self-analysis is required. I can distract myself by staying busy with work, writing, and redecorating my home, all of which serve a very necessary purpose, but they generally keep me too busy to notice those feelings of loneliness.
That’s not to say that they are bad and that I need to spend less time doing them and more time figuring myself out. I think time is one of the only things that will really help in the figuring-it-out process. I need that time to let things come up as they will and address them as it happens. I can’t force it or rush it. It will happen in its own sweet time just as the morning sun won’t rise any faster to wash away the chill of night simply because we wish it so.
In the past, I’ve tried to hide from these feelings with alcohol or drugs but that never works. It doesn’t make things any better, usually quite the opposite. I’ve tried to hide from them by getting into relationships and convincing myself the person was right for me because I wanted it to be true regardless of whether or not that was so. I’m not hiding from them anymore. And I haven’t been even attempting to do so for quite some time now.
Now when such feelings come up, I try to dive into them, explore them further, dig down as far as I can to try and get to the root of why they are what they are and why I am feeling them. I want to know where they are coming from and what purpose they are serving in my life. I want to know what I can learn from having experienced them and how it can make me stronger and more empowered. It’s like I’ve developed a bizarre curiosity with my own pain and discomfort. I’m fascinated by it and want to fully explore it so as to better know who I am and why I do, think, and feel the things that I do.
It’s certainly not a fun or pleasant process, but I feel like it’s such a necessary one. It’s also an empowering and rewarding experience, which, in its own way, does add an air of pleasantness to it in the end. I would say it is something that gives me a sense of hope but that’s not quite right. I feel like saying it gives me hope is similar to saying that it gives me confidence that at some point I will get beyond this and finally be ready to find that 3rd type of love (if you don’t know what I mean by 3rd type of love, check out this article).
I am not confident that I will get beyond this in this lifetime, maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I can’t say one way or the other, but I am ok with that. If it means I spend the rest of my days learning to be happier and happier on my own, well, that’s something I can live with. So no, hope is not the right word for what I feel while discovering more about myself. Peace is a better description. It goes beyond mere acceptance and is a much more serene, content, if not happy, sort of feeling that I can only describe as peaceful.
And on that note, while I still feel a great desire to have someone that I could be curling up next to and holding in my arms this evening as I lay down, I can call it a night and peacefully drift off to sleep. I can, however, always hope that the woman that occasionally comes to visit me in my dreams shall make an appearance. Maybe one day I will figure out who she is, maybe not, but it won’t be until I get all those puzzle pieces together and can see the complete picture of who I am myself.