Relationships are a beautiful thing. They make you happy at 2 in the morning when no one’s around, but just your thoughts of a special someone – a friend, a sibling, or a partner. You think about them and you get happy, and then you struggle to go back to sleep. You’re so grateful you found this person and that you have them in your life.
On the other end sometimes relationships, or rather trying to build one is difficult. I want to address one of those difficulties here.
When they don’t care or not as much as you want them to, you feel pain in your chest. It builds up. It becomes overwhelming. You don’t know what to do. You try to emphasize that you care and that you care deeply. Maybe that might be a good reason for them to care too, or maybe I’m just crazy and I take this way too seriously. I have realized something about that pain.
Nobody is making you feel like you’re hard to love. It’s in your head. I’m not saying that you should be free of emotional pain, because then you wouldn’t care for anything and it’s important to care. I’m just saying some things are not worth caring about.
You care about someone. They don’t care about you. You feel the pain and torment of indifference. Should you then continue to care, or should you move on? Should you choose suffering and torment, or should you choose indifference as well?
When I start to care for someone it’s deep, deeper than it should be, but it is what it is. I have a system for people that matter to me. It’s intense, but for me it cuts through the grey stuff. Are you a 0 or a 1? Are you a hell yeah or no? It’s an all or nothing system, because I’m an all or nothing guy. To the people that matter I give my everything. Nothing less. To the people that don’t matter I say goodbye.
There are many attributes a person should have to matter to me, but they are simple things like: being kind and considerate, showing that you care about me, being honest. I usually care first. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I’m willing to put my heart out on the line, but only in the beginning, and only for so long.
0 or 1 is a question I constantly ask because sometimes people stop caring. So I should stop caring too. They stop mattering. Sometimes I remind them, I give them an opportunity to keep the 1 status, but usually they have made up their mind.
I used to get angry and upset when this happens. I don’t anymore. I don’t have the time for such pain and torment -and yes it is torment. When I give my best and it’s not good enough, then it hurts like hell. It’s not a place you want to spend a long time in.
Here’s how I get out of that torment. I start with journaling (this post started in my journal). I need to know what exactly I am feeling. I take the mess that is my pain and write it down. Unedited and unconstrained.
I re-frame why I cared in the beginning. I didn’t choose to care because I was doing the world a favor. Nor did I choose to care this deeply just to make the other person feel special. I did it for me. I did it because I wanted to. And if it stops being for me, then it must stop all together.
You may have to do this more than once, but eventually the pain will go away. You will move on and accept this fate with no anger or sadness. Not at the world or life, and not at the person. Remember this: desire cannot be deleted just overwritten.
I know that I want genuine relationships. You know, the deep stuff. The stuff that makes your existence here important to someone, and that persons existence important to you. It is a hard thing to find but we should not give up our earnest endeavors, though the bridge is unstable and the waters below vicious.
One day this life won’t matter. It will all be gone and forgotten. So enjoy it. I will. Spend it with people that matter, and go find more people that matter. Don’t hold back on how much you care. Don’t be afraid to care. Learn how to deal with the pain. Learn how to let it go. In the end, there’s nothing more wonderful than when you say,
“I’m all in. Are you?” and they say “Yes”.
Here’s to the people that matter to us, and to the people we are yet to find. May we care for them with everything and nothing less.