Life is all about experiences. We learn from the good experiences about what makes us happy, fills us with purpose, what we want more of and who we would like to be. From the bad by default we learn what doesn’t work for us, how to rise above and move beyond (“what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” kind of philosophy), and what to avoid in the future.
Unfortunate part is that bad experiences create multiple defence mechanisms. For example, people who have a bad relationship decide they never ever want romance in their lives ever again, even though it’s something so magical, positive and loving. People don’t review the fact that perhaps their choice of partner was amiss, or that their expectations were amiss because all romances don’t necessarily lead to a relationship.
A romance or flirtation is only symbolic of the fact that there was an attraction based on looks, personality, wealth, position, lifestyle etc. Not all attractions lead to love, meaningful exchanges or deep feelings as that is dependent on many other factors, especially compatibility. It’s perfectly fine to be attracted and not compatible, but it’s folly to expect it to last forever. The planet has billions of people on it, which means a few million who are suited to you and perhaps thousands who are a perfect fit for you.
Instead of widening your circles and horizons, to just shut yourself off from infinite possibilities of warmth, affection, companionship, physical pleasure, romance and love based on fear of being hurt is so silly. How you view an incompatible or dead relationship is upto you. You can see it as a hurt to yourself or you can view it as a good experience for whatever it brought into your life, including it’s learnings, and feel liberated that you’re not stuck in something that wasn’t meant to be. The break-up has only set you free to find someone far better suited for who you are at this point of your life. Always remember you are constantly changing as a human being too, and if your experiences are making you bitter, resentful, scared, aggressive etc you are only taking all of that into your next relationship, which can never yield a positive result. Hence, you continue the cycle of feeling defensive till one day you say, “relationships are not my cup of tea”. If your partner, who was probably as hurt and upset, moves on to find love and a positive relationship, it only amplifies your pain and rejection of relationships. You are a loser only if your attitude dictates it to be so. If your rejection of relationships is a defence mechanism it’s time to free yourself from it and embrace your deep and buried need to love and be loved.
I am low on self-esteem and not doing well financially. I am a spinster and am not exactly worried about a relationship as I have given up on finding someone I can relate to. There are times I really feel lonely. I am wondering about what the future holds for me. What would your advice be? I am working from home and tutor kids. I want to know if I am making a mistake by closing the doors on romance?
Only close doors on what you are certain you do not want. Ask why you are rejecting romance, what is it about feeling special and loved that upsets or frightens you. Many people say they don’t want or need a relationship whereas a majority of the time it’s either their ego, a protective defence mechanism or false bravado speaking. The only person creating an obstacle in the way of your finding life purpose, love or clarity is you.
I am 17 years old and the girl I am crushing on is 19 years old. We talk to each other in college and she stays nearby where I reside. But I don’t know how to express my feelings and whether she would even accept it, after all I am younger to her. What should I do?
Instead of jumping in to the deep end, first focus on building a healthy friendship and figuring our what all areas of compatibility you share apart from college and geography. Once a comfort level has been established ask her out for a coffee and see if she is open to taking baby steps towards building the friendship beyond established comfort zones. If not, respect it and keep the friendship as the person is always more important than the role.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.