Sunday, December 4, 2011

Suffering Suffering

Are love and suffering constant companions?

It seems the windmill of what's passed on from generation to generation might be a story of how we all suffer at the hands of those who claim to love us. We're told, "I only do this because I love you." We are taught that people make mistakes and that forgiveness is divine.  We must forgive and forget because family is the most valuable thing in our lives. This is what we are told.

We perpetuate this paradigm, turning on our friends and families and children as adults. Drama ensues. Think about most of your fights with people you love, they seem years later to be practically incomprehensible to have started clan wars over, to print up Team This Person and Team That Person shirts over. We say what's important is the lesson learned.

So what exactly is that lesson? That to love and be loved is to make others suffer and suffer yourself? Give up on love if you want autonomy and happiness? 

There will be no abandonment of love, but is there a way to mitigate the suffering?

The next time someone you love irritates you, hurts you, try something different. Instead of being mad and angry, asking for explanations and justifications and waiting for your opportunity to be cordially forgiving, decide that person does not need to be sorry. Decide there is nothing to forgive because you love that person and are going to keep doing so either way. This is not to demean a genuine apology. Saying you're sorry is a powerful gift and perhaps a necessary element of our being able to move on, both in the giving and in receiving.

Not needing to forgive a person means that you are not angry. So you must focus on how to not be angry with the people you love. The solution centers first around yourself, if you can relinquish the sense of entitlement you feel you have over another person's actions, truly allow them to be themselves, then it is my theory that the anger will fade. The people you love will no longer be able to hurt you because you cannot be hurt by them.

I can't imagine being mad at the people I love right now because I know that what I really want is for them to be themselves, and for that to be ok.  I want them to know that they can be with me without walls or judgement. I don't expect them to adopt my mores as a precondition to my love. They still have their own needs and expectations, and I respect that.

Now, as a self-described self-abusing wondershow, you might argue that I like being hurt and discount your own ability to forgo your anger. I say that it is precisely my masochism that has taught me how to truly love another person. Because being hurt hurt me less than other people, I analyzed and delighted in my suffering, I was able to give my sadness a depth of thought most people avoid. I was able to put aside my ego long enough to see my part in the relationship drama, and attempt to stop making those who love me suffer. In doing so, it also freed me from the particular pain of being disappointed and hurt by the ones I love.

 I learned my lesson: the best gift is loving a person for who they are.

1 comment:

  1. Love means never having to say you're sorry - "Love Story"

    on its face it looks like utter bs, but start to strip the layers and you dive into a deep chasm within yourself that eventually leads to the realization that the highest love means never having to say you're sorry. It doesn't mean we can't CHOOSE to say it.