Turn down the lights, turn down the bed Turn down these voices inside my head Lay down with me, tell me no lies Just hold me close, don’t patronize – don’t patronize me
Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t Here in the dark, in these final hours I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power But you won’t, no you won’t ‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t
I’ll close my eyes, then I won’t see The love you don’t feel when you’re holding me Morning will come and I’ll do what’s right Just give me till then to give up this fight And I will give up this fight
Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t Here in the dark, in these lonely hours I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power But you won’t, no you won’t ‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t
I can’t make you love me – Bonnie Raitt
What do you know about love? If you ask Google, they will tell you the most searched phrase on the internet is the question what is love, the literature is filled with written accounts, musicians sing about the aspects of love, and it is thought to have started the Trojan war. Love has circulated the human condition for eons, reported and retold in fairy tales to our young, discussed by all the classical philosophers and poets, yet for most of us, we still have an inexperienced puerile understanding of what it means to love one another. A psychologist will delineate love into different types, and as a matter of fact, one can find about three to ten or more types of love displayed on a good search engine. A therapist on the other hand will examine the problems of intimacy inside a relationship, as to provide the couple with ways to reconnect to that loved one, but ask yourself a question before you read on any further. Have you been in love?
Not infatuation, attractions, or crushes, but rather a deeper bonding that you cannot explain. Every nerve impulse that fires within your body compels to be directed toward that person you desire. You can’t seem to control this feeling, but it certainly becomes awakened and alive when they are next to you. I do not speak of the libidinal sexual energies, but the psycho-physiological functions that you cannot easily dismiss and deny at the presence of the other person. An emotional factor that cannot always be subdued, and rejected by the rational ego.
How has it enhanced or hindered your personal life depending on the choices you have made? What were the emotional outcomes of the decisions you made? Were you able to have the courage to tell that special someone that you love them? More painfully, did you have someone that did not return back the feelings you freely gave up to them?
Many of us have had opportunities to gain experience in building relationships through the years, with our school associations, work associations, and other social networks we call our friends. The power of observation gives us plenty to digest, and we have learned through trial and error on established etiquette; information given to us by our friends, family members, and what is in the popular culture on how to carry on with a love interest.
How are you certain that you are in love? If you are in love, how much are you willing to give to the relationship to keep it alive, to keep it fresh, to keep it exciting? Are you willing to commit and sacrifice, face the hardships, and tolerate unforeseen drama? How much are you willing to except the person you thought you knew, now that you have learned the subtleties of their personality and they have learned yours. In some cases I believe that some people do not have the hardships as others experience. I suspect that the particular upbringing and the complications of some lives are accredited for the happenings.
For many that believe love is hard to find I may offer an alternative view. Finding love is not the difficulty in this life, for there may be some who disagree. I’m going to state that the hardest thing about love is not in the finding of it, but rather in the maintenance of it. The nurturing and caring for it, the devotion to making it a successful philosophy in your relationship resides largely in your own hands. A relationship is like a living entity. It will grow when nurtured.
Finding love is not the most difficult part of the quest. It is rather that most people seem to be challenged by keeping the loved one close to their heart. The time it takes to invest into the relationship, maintain, and cultivate that relationship is where much of the hard work will come into play. The risk initiates itself when the romantic levels diminish into the every day routines, and if you are smart you will not let it get to that stage without being proactive. Make time for one another, stroke your loved ones hair, and when they are resting next to you, softly touch and caress their skin as they sleep. Give of yourself showing them that in what you do honor’s them. Being passionately interested in something positive within your life, sharing your life with them even when it’s the simplest of things, paying attention to their needs over yours will all be appreciated by that special someone if there is a connection. Take time for them, continue to be romantic through out the relationship, even when you have been with that person for years, since we all love to be loved. Paying attention to your loved one is essential. The list can go on and on, but the point is that we seem to lose our focus in the relationships we engage in that frankly can be good for us. The fact that it didn’t work out the way we wanted may be due to the effort we placed into the relationship, and not so much that we were not well suited for one another, etc.
The human condition is a very peculiar system when dealing with the emotional/rational aspects of relationships. The case of unrequited love, the possibility will not be the same. Many of us have suffered through such trying times. I have personally suffered but learned a great deal from my experiences with another not returning my affections. As the reader has their own experience with this topic, you know very well how you felt, the effects it had on your life, and the intensity that you experienced it with. The emotional challenges and the social challenges it placed on you. The denials, the lessons you learned, and the choices you made during that time shaped much of who you are today.
As one author puts it…“I had discovered that there was something more painful than falling in love with someone who hasn’t fallen for you; hurting that person-hurting him and not being able to do anything about it.”
― Elizabeth Chandler, Legacy of Lies & Don’t Tell
People crave attention. Most people crave love and affection universally unless they are damaged soul’s that have sustained some emotional and physical trauma growing up. In general they still crave what we crave, but the possibility for the many strange manifestations become astronomical. Our affections can be manipulated, and shaped depending on the modeled type that we learn from. As in the study conducted below, our attachment becomes imbedded into our learned behaviors. In Attachment style: we develop styles of love that are based on expectancies developed from childhood experiences with caregivers: Secure; Anxious/ambivalent; and Avoidant (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Shaver, Hazan and Bradshaw,1988).
Many have learned with experience through the process of having others in our lives that we deeply care about, that unexpected outcomes may occur. It is self evident that caring deeply means that we tolerate, except, and forgive others who may unintentionally cause us emotional discomfort.
In the Three Dimensional View: The experience of love is a function of levels of intimacy, commitment and passion (Sternberg, 1988). In the Table below, for each type of love, a plus sign indicates the presence of each dimension of love, and a minus sign indicates that the dimension is not present. Descriptions of what these combinations of the various love dimensions should tend to be like can be found in the following chart.
Liza Misra, a psychotherapist, says, “Those who dwell on feelings of unrequited love are generally those who assume that true love is necessary for ultimate happiness and this need to love before one can feel happy is called dependency. Interestingly, unrequited love can actually last a very long time, for many years or even decades – paradoxically the lover’s feelings usually reach a breaking point as they continue to deepen. Unrequited love may end when the lover receives reciprocation from the loved (consummation), develops less intense feelings for the loved (starvation), or channels his / her feelings towards another, more reciprocating person (transformation).”
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller
We can’t always predict who will fall in love. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and how we meet this world and come to terms with it depends on us and our understanding. Be assured that the universe will provide in times of need if one is receptive. Sometimes it will be in the form of a movie that allows you to reflect differently on things, or it might be someone you meet that takes you by surprise. The idea that we suffer when our love is not returned is ironic and does not wholly encompass love’s meaning. Love is to be given freely without expectancy. The highest form is agape, or unconditional and is given without expectation regardless of circumstance. I myself have learned that one must move forward and allow the soul to heal. To keep oneself attached to a love interest in an effort to win them over is futile. The best thing to do is allow the soul to move on and experience positive energies elsewhere. Like in the movie below….
I sometimes wonder how I have managed to make it through this journey of my life to this point in time. I thought back to times in my life when they were very difficult, when my support group was not really in place, or I neglected to see who would be there for me, and quite sincerely how defeat after defeating moment, I would become numb to the world around me. All of us have difficulties to share, and all of us have experienced some form of grief that once burdened us to the point of despair.
Today I would say that I am a realist, formerly I would claim to be an optimist. When inspecting the memories of my lifetime I think I have led a life I can be proud of. The early optimism probably came out of the naiveté and lack of experience in my youth. The appetite to believe in others and their goodness was a strong influence on me early in my life. I should probably credit my mother for this, I should also remit to say that the consequences of this outlook have both positive and negative outcomes for the person engaging with such a demeanor. I am neither apologetic nor regretful of such proclivities for they shaped me and made me who I am today.
The focus on the darker periods of my life have led me to see things with a different view. I do not fool myself in believing that I have had a difficult life in comparison to others. Frankly, I am privileged in being born in a Country such as the USA when looking at other less formidable Countries, along with the fact that I was not born to a family in poverty, or with single parents, or parents addicted to drugs, etc. etc..
The amplification of dark thoughts on such treacherous grounds can be disturbing due to the lack of resources one feels they have available to them, and the possible outcomes from this temperament leading to the finality of a human life resounds in the statistics of today. The mind can be a powerfully persuasive instrument for it to turn on itself. The belief that you are wasting space in the universe, or that you have no worth to anyone is a stifling thought.
The moment you start believing in the negativity of other sorrowful misguided souls around you can be a windfall for the depressed mindset. This mindset is content on gathering like negative influences which are attracted to the ailing mind. Additionally, the distraught mind will also posit into the world what it most recognizes; that being a dreadful world.
There are an innumerable reasons, conditions, and environments for human beings to become struck with anguish and grief. The human condition through out the millennia has given us a deluge of examples in all of the endeavors humans have undertaken. My own journey has led me on some lonely roads, no, bogs if you will, and navigating them can be a very difficult feat.
When it comes to the point of questioning your existence under such circumstances, you often do not think clearly due to the depleted condition you are in. Changing your circumstances seems very hard to do during these times. The suffering you are encountering is overwhelming, your energy levels are next to nothing, and you torture your mind that continues to dwell on the negative attributes of your life.
When I was training to be a crisis intervention counselor in college I was confronted with some very powerful skill sets. This awakening has not left me to this day as I learned to tune into my emotional states on levels I had never before achieved. It was the first time I had taken a deeper look within my own emotional inventories. During that year I discovered that I had shut out much of my emotional connections to others in my adolescence and childhood. Dealing with others on a cerebral level is much different than dealing with them on an emotional level. I believe that ideally blending these two attributes with your drives or desires, will result in a more balanced account in life.
The training I received was Rogerian, based on Carl Rodgers “Client centered therapy”, which focused on relating to others from an emotional level as to gain their trust and direct them out of crisis, into seeking some solutions for help for them. Sadly, when we reach a state of no emotion as in a crisis; little can be done to convince those under such extremes. There is a lethality scale used from 1-10 in crisis intervention. These levels indicate how much of a threat the person is from harming themselves. The most dangerous kind are those that are calm, and devoid of emotion. The call they might make is a final attempt at help, yet their minds are for the most part made up into ending their lives. This is a “numbness” that is most certainly the worst kind, and one of the hardest to circumvent. The higher the lethality scale is, the more detailed the person’s suicide plan is. They know usually how they will kill themselves, where they will do it, and sometimes even when.
I would have to say I have reached that point a few times in my life. The numbness one experiences some argue is a defense mechanism that shuts down tumultuous emotional aspects the psyche undergoes. In doing so, this process protects the damaging effects of extreme emotional pain from hurting the rest of the body, and ironically the mind itself. The length of time one finds themselves in this mindset can and most likely produce changes in the transmission of neurotransmitters (Dopamine a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the functioning of the limbic system, which is involved in emotional function and control. It also plays a part in movement, alertness, and sensations of pleasure. Serotonin plays a regulatory role in mood, sleep, and other areas.) between the synapses within the brain.
The Dysthymic foundations that have directed my experiences make it much more difficult for others to spot in the everyday world in which we live. Those of like disorders, are viewed normal since these people have embedded the depressive traits within their own personalities, and therefore many cannot distinguish any differences in their moods, or attitudes. They learn to hide it well, and are less likely to draw attention or diagnose by the everyday person. Furthermore, more tragically, they often go undiagnosed and do nothing to improve their situations.
Not being able to regulate feeling is also a very troublesome condition since it effects so many others that come in contact with the afflicted people in extreme cases. I suggest that those affected probably hurt themselves most of all, but I do not rule out the family members if indeed they have maintained such relationships during this period of time they are enduring the dreadful condition. Experiencing the world with such a vision is like sleep walking. In a sense you are present physically, but you are not all there, psychologically you are not present at all. Zen Buddhists would agree and say “Wake up”! You are not fully functioning and are in essence a walking zombie going through the motions.
Numbness is a very lonely place to be. To be void of any emotion results in becoming sub-human. Not being able to enjoy the fullness of what life has to offer for whatever reason is a tragic matter. Whether one chooses to neglect their power of observation, or whether one is caught in the traps of despondency, the world is much, much more than the observances of the downhearted.