Steven Stosny, Ph.D
I stepped into the shoes of the silent observer once again. I combed through the network, searching for inspiration. I read people’s notes and looked at their relationships. I treaded through my own experiences and revisit old blogs that I used to keep up with, idly reading from my own journal as well. I was searching for something, but I did not know what.
Then I found something that resonated with me. I read the above quote. And so began my writing…
Matters of the heart are complicated. They are never logical, and are always the most arduous journies one can embark on.
On a dark day, I will see a couple or two people in love, and I will despise them, hating them for their happiness. My own lonely journey has been a path of solitude. There was a time, a single instance, in which the promise of love was shining bright. They say only fools fall in love, but I didn’t care. The prospect of intimacy and happiness was so close, yet so far. Though I am young and can never be truly sure that I have fallen in love, I must say that what I felt was an amazing feeling…love is the most positive feeling that one can experience towards another human being, transcending all reason and logic. Perhaps it was limerance that lingered in my heart, but it was the future of near limitless happiness that kept me there.The fire of passion and devotion burned easily in the beginning. But as time wore on, as circumstances intervened and interrupted what seemed like a fate full of warmth and affection, my soul was beaten down. My devotion and resolve were tested, and I believed that perhaps it was a test from a higher power, be it life force or a deity. I pushed on, remaining steadfastly and perhaps even fanatically committed. I developed tunnel vision and became blind to the big picture, of the grand scheme of things. The truth became something I could not possibly comprehend.
I was wrong. In the end, my decision to remain committed was a bad one, one of the most hurtful decisions of my life. I was bitter, I was angry. I was furious, I was sad. I felt hopeless, I felt like a fool. I was devastated and heartbroken. I had in my mouth the putrid taste that heartbreak’s pain exudes, the bitter bile of envy and disgust crawling up my throat. I sneered at love, damning it for showing me the unattainable.
But today, I feel a refreshing optimism. In the same person that renewed my faith in the goodness of people, I saw through her moment of vulnerability and sadness a certain sunniness. Having dealt with a loss and the loneliness that it entails, she did not lose hope and she was open to happiness. Though conciliatory, she was not embittered to the point of near hatred as I was. Disregarding the inherent questionable accuracy of what I read, there was something in observing the formation of a new relationship that released a valve in me. Gone were my pessimistic visions and cynical mindset. Instead I saw simplicity, even a wide-eyed childish innocence, in the relationship I saw unfolding before me. I was reminded of a fairy tale romance. I was reminded that love is pure and uncomplicated, only that the journey to find such love can be convoluted.
I remembered a Shaolin concept: that the capacity for joy is equal to the capacity for pain. Life is always in balance. One cannot feel that joy without having experienced that pain. One cannot exist without the other, and there is harmony. There is no good without evil. There is no beauty without ugliness. But most importantly: only one who has tasted bitterness can know sweetness.
Life moves on, and one can only learn from experience. Accept failure and disappointment. The only way you can surely lose is by not trying. Love is no different.
The title is dedicated the woman whose words captured my heart so completely for the first time in my life. I can only hope to find such love again, and even more hopefully in her once more.