Beliefs

I used to believe that love was the greatest thing in the world.
I used to believe that I must therefore keep fighting against myself.
I used to believe in happy endings.

I wonder what happened to that guy. Somehow, somewhere along the way I lost him. I think he is still in me somewhere, buried deep inside, because sometimes when I strain myself I think I can hear him whispering at me. Whispering at me to keep fighting, to never give up. But it is a faint whisper, barely audible at all. Sometimes I try to remember what he said to me and I repeat those words to myself in my mind, trying to convince myself again in their meaning. But there is no real conviction. It is a lie, a façade, but I cannot fool myself. I can pretend however I want, but I do not believe in their meaning anymore.

But what do I believe then? Well, I would answer, I believe I am incapable of love. There, I have finally said it. It is out in the open at last. There can be no more denying it, no more obscuring the truth, no more pretending that everything is fine and dandy. I might have hinted at this before, I cannot truly recall, but this is the first time I have said this outright without sugarcoating it. This is what I truly believe. I believe the ability to love someone and to make someone feel loved and special, the capacity to show affection like a normal human being completely eludes me. Oh yes, I have made several attempts before, but asking me to do these things is like asking someone of my athleticism to throw down a 360 tomahawk dunk. The results would be exactly the same. Any attempts in both cases would be feeble and pitiful, destined for complete failure at the very outset. In such cases, perhaps it is better not to even try at all.

So no, I do not believe in happy endings anymore. In contrary to television and movies, happy endings just do not magically appear out of thin air. Instead, just like a bud needs fertile soil to blossom into a beautiful flower, budding feelings can only blossom into happy endings when the heart itself is a fertile ground. And just like a beautiful flower needs to be properly cultivated with the right amount of water and sunshine at the right moments, a happy ending needs to be properly cultivated with the right amount of caring and affection at the right moments. How can I realistically hope for a happy ending when my heart is so barren only the weeds of loneliness and sadness are able to thrive? How can I in good conscience dream of a happy ending when my soul is so devoid of any feelings of caring and affection that what remains behind is little more than an empty husk, a cold and heartless creature that should be shunned? Tell me, how can I ask someone else to have feelings for me when I myself am utterly incapable of reciprocating them?

Still, I used to believe that there was a chance that things could change. I used to believe that I could change and become a better person as long as I kept fighting against myself. I believe the rewards I will be able to reap in the end, if only for a mere second, will far outweigh the many years of effort I have put into achieving what I desire the most. But now I see the exact opposite is true. The more I fight against myself, the more I realize I will forever remain the same, and the more I am consumed by feelings of loneliness and sadness until it affects me in everything I do. Why should I keep on struggling against myself if everything will just remain the same? Why should I be in constant conflict with myself if all it brings me is despair and sorrow? Tell me, why should I keep fighting if I do not believe in fighting against myself anymore?

You might expect now that I am going to tell you that I do not believe any longer that love is the greatest thing in the world. Hah! If only that was true! If only I truly stopped believing in the splendid grandeur of love, in sentimentality, devotion, passion and everything that comes with love. If only I stopped believing in all of these things, life would have been so much simpler. I am convinced that I can be content about myself, perhaps even happy, if only I am able to relinquish this foolish obsession of mine.

So yes, I still believe in love despite everything, I believe in it more than anything in this world, and it is because of this belief that I have not given up entirely yet. But I am scared. There have been many, many moments in the past year when I have almost decided to give up. There have been many, many moments when I contemplated completely ignoring the one person I care so much about, and that would go against everything I value. The only thing keeping me sane is this guy… this guy who used to be me and who keeps whispering at me to keep fighting. He is the only one standing between me and despair. I said in the previous paragraph that I wished I could stop believing in love, but that’s not true. That is also a lie, a lie I tell myself in the hope that I would start believing in it, so I could pretend that the pain and loneliness I feel do not exist.

But now what? I am incapable of love, I keep saying to myself, and as long as I believe that things will never change for the better. I think the one thing I need to achieve first is to start believing in myself again. I need to believe that the capacity to love and show affection is there somewhere deep within me, locked away and waiting there until I am able to set it free. I need to believe that I am not a hopeless case after all. And perhaps it is time to admit I cannot do this alone. I have tried to do this all by myself but it is clearly not working. I’m not sure what to do yet, but I need to give this some serious thought.

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9 Comments

Filed under Rants

9 responses to “Beliefs

  1. Perhaps part of your angst is rooted in your definition and expectations of love. I don’t know everything, but my parents have been marriage counselors since I was a kid so over dinner table conversations and counseling that happened in our living room, I’ve learned a lot over the years.

    Firstly, I don’t think you’re a hopeless case. If you were, you wouldn’t have poured out their heart with the sincerity that you have.

    When it comes to love (that is, love in a romantic sense), can I be honest? It isn’t everything that popular culture makes it out to be. It isn’t all candle lit dinners and soft music and roses and kisses under twilight skies filled with fireworks. It isn’t just a feeling that makes your heart flutter. To think that love is merely a feeling shortchanges you and the relationship. A feeling initially brings two people together, but feelings aren’t constant. They can’t stand on their own forever. Over the thirteen years of loving my husband (nine of them before we got married), there have been times when we haven’t felt very romantically interested in each other. In fact, not long before he proposed to me, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. But what has kept us together (and happy) despite our ups and downs has been thinking of love an action, a choice, not just a feeling.

    The fact that you choose to continue fighting regardless of your feelings tells me that you are still quite capable of love. The fact that you are fighting is in itself a demonstration of love. At its very core, “Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far is it can be obtained” (according to CS Lewis). Love is about being willing to sacrifice–sometimes it’s just small things like thirty minutes of sleep to pack the other person’s lunch, sometimes it’s sacrificing going on one vacation to do what the other person wants, and sometimes it’s giving up a portion of your dreams because you want to be with that person more. What I’ve found is that making those sacrifices–from the menial to the monumental–and choices to put the other person first strengthens the relationship and often results in romantic feelings. The fact that you are fighting even though part of your heart isn’t fighting along with you is a sacrifice. It is love.

    That isn’t to say that there’s never candles and flowers and contentment simply in staring deep into the other person’s eyes. There are. 😉 But never forget that after the candle lit dinners, there are still dirty dishes and daily life to deal with. Having a foundation of choosing to love when the feelings undulate is truly what makes love last.

    • Thanks for such an elaborate comment. I really appreciate the effort and the kind and honest advice.

      Of course I know that love is more than just a feeling, although I definitely have to admit being unrealistic in my projections at times. I guess that’s part of what makes me me, but yeah, I realize I need to find a balance between those feelings and adopting a more realistic view. On the other hand, these unrealistic projections may be an important reason why I still keep on fighting. Without them I might have given up a long time ago, because I’ve never succeeded in experiencing the flowers and candles part. But then again, I might simply be justifying things now. Hmm… did I mention I am very confused?

      • And understandably so. Love can be dreadfully confusing. I think that I understand where you’re coming from a little better now. It’s not that you’ve seen past the flowers and candles but that you haven’t experienced them yet with the one you care for. You feel that displays of emotion end up “feeble and pitiful”?

      • Well, as long as I’m being open now…

        It’s not just that I haven’t experienced the flowers and candles with the one I care for; it’s that I haven’t experienced the flowers and candles or the contentment in staring deep into the other person’s eyes, or anything else people do when they are in love. Ever. That’s what truly scares me. Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a Catch-22. I am only able to experience love if I feel confident enough first to open up myself, but I am only able to feel more confident if I can experience love first, so that I know it is possible even for someone like me. For a long time I had hoped that despite my pitiful attempts, that the other person (whoever that may be) would somehow come to realize how hard I have to fight against myself in the first place and that she would start to understand, and perhaps even appreciate me. But I don’t believe these things actually happen in real life. The amount of effort I exert on the inside means nothing at all. The only thing that matters is what I am able to show on the outside.

        Sorry… I do make it sound so much more dramatic than it truly is. The writer in me does have this annoying tendency sometimes to embellish things rather than being straightforward. What it essentially boils down to is that I need to start believing in myself, start believing that I am not some abnormal freak who is incapable of loving someone else, and to realize that all these negative beliefs I have about myself is just a bunch of hogwash. That’s the only way I can break out of this vicious cycle. And perhaps it’s time to admit that I cannot do this alone, and that perhaps it is even time to seek out professional help? This is something I need to think about, and to decide whether this is the step I should take.

  2. I don’t think you’re making it sound overly dramatic. I like to hear what people are thinking and feeling–honestly. (Guess that’s what happens when you grow up watching your parents doing such things. 🙂 ) And I appreciate you opening up as you have about something so personal. I know it isn’t easy.

    Perhaps something that would help the situation is figuring out the source that is draining your confidence. Is it because you’re afraid to be rejected, or someone has done something that has hurt your self-confidence, or perhaps it’s something else all together. Isolating the problem–the very root of the problem–is what a professional helps you do. If you want to explore on your own a bit first, I would think about if there is a particular incident, fear, etc. driving your feelings. Once you know exactly what you’re facing, you can combat it with the right weapons (and maybe it’s as simple as looking in the mirror every day and saying great things about yourself… which sounds silly, but truly does work). But there’s also nothing wrong with seeking professional help. It’s better to deal with the problem by whatever means works best for you than to think that you are less than you truly are.

    I know I’ve probably been too nosy–I apologize. I just can’t stand seeing people hurting and doing nothing about it. You can overcome this. Just keep listening to the quiet voice in your head and holding on. 🙂

    • Haha, you’re absolutely right. I should ignore the loud, obnoxious voice in my head, and instead try to listen more to the quiet one. 🙂

      And you’re definitely not too nosy. There’s a reason why I posted all this after all. For some reason, I’m not able to speak about these kind of things with my real life friends and family. The fact that you took the trouble to say these things to me and try to help me does cheer me up a little.

      As for professional help, I’m starting to think that it is something I should do. 1,5 years ago I followed a training called Self-Management which was about exploring and dealing with your negative patterns. It was a liberating experience to say the least. I decided afterwards to see how far I could come by myself, and I really did manage to get quite far. But now I feel like I reached a dead end and as a result I’m falling back into my old patterns again. So perhaps I should seek out the coach I had back then, as I felt comfortable with her, but then without the group setting, although I’m not sure if she also does individual sessions, but that’s something I will inquire after my holiday 🙂

  3. You and I are amazingly similar at times.

    I echo Bryna’s sentiments. Perhaps finding the root of your insecurities will help you conquer them. I do have a small piece of advice to offer you:
    When I think about what I can do for someone, whether a friend, family member, or something else, I don’t think about what social conventions dictate I should do. I just get caught up that way, worrying if I’m doing the right thing, if I’m doing enough, if I’m doing too much… I instead think about what I can do that not everyone else can do. Maybe you can take a similar approach? Instead of trying to hard to be accepted, trying doing things from your heart instead. What is something only you can do for another person? Such acts/gifts are often less expensive and stressful, but infinitely more personal and meaningful. If the recipient can’t see the thought and care you put into it, they don’t deserve your affection anyways.

    So many times I’ve read you can’t love another until you love yourself. I used to reject it with my entire being, but I’m beginning to think it’s true. Perhaps it’s true for you, as well.

    • That might be good advice really. I recognize the whole worrying about if I’m doing the right thing. I often fail to do the things I feel is the right thing because I was so caught up in all my worries. Like you said, I need to focus on doing things from my heart, and trust in myself that I’m doing the right thing. I have to be careful however about thinking that the recipient doesn’t deserve my affection. I tend to get paranoid about these things and lose touch of what is real and what is merely a figment of my imagination. If I’m not careful, I will start to believe that the whole world does not appreciate me at all and start drawing away from all forms of affection.

      I definitely believe that I need to love myself first before I can love others. I need to let my external feelings take a backseat for a while I think, instead of letting them consume me, and focus on my inner feelings first. I think it is the only option for me to achieve real change.

      Thank you, by the way, for your comments and advice. I really appreciate it and I feel lucky to have people like you reading my blog.

  4. 33

    Of course u r not hopeless. I always see a tank of love passion inside u. And u deserve a true love journey. It’s just about timing…

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