Hiya all, Brian here again. I was gonna save this post for later this coming week, but since I have the energy to do this and the clarity to remember it all, figure I would strike while the iron is hot!
This is gonna be a tough nut to crack.....Thankfully, I brought the nutcracker lol
I'd like to touch on one thing specifically in the post.....
Quick question: What is the one thing that we search for in life? From the our earliest memories to our dying day, what is it that we crave the most from life?
Hang on, it's gonna be a doozy!...............
L - O - V - E
The very spelling of that words brings to mind so many powerful emotions, so many polarizing reactions.......It is perhaps one of the most powerful words in the human vocabulary........
It can also be one of the most destructive.
'Hang on a bloody minute!' I can you say. 'Explain yourself!'
Since the start of recorded history (probably even further back still), there are two ideas...mere words...that have started wars, caused massacres, destroyed entire cultures!
One of them is RELIGION. Say what you will, that has been one thing people have been warring over for as long as there has been a human race. We're still in the early years of the 21st Century, and we still have wars of religion going on.
But that's a topic for another time, another place...And hopefully I won't be the one discussing it....
Which brings us to the other word: LOVE
Just as powerful an incentive, invokes just as passionate a response. Examples can be found all throughout history. The Battle of Troy from Ancient Greece? Yep, you guessed it. Love started that war.
For those younger members of the audience, fear not! I'm not gonna run down a list of examples. If you're really that curious, search Wikipedia. It can be a fountain of wonderful information!
I'm gonna let all the young ladies here in on a trade secret...if the guys found out, I'd be drummed out of the fraternity....
Believe it or not...Men suffer from heartbreak too.
Remember when you were growing up? If you were a girl, you were taught that it's ok to express your emotions. To be in tune with your emotions. To show your emotions was considered to be a very positive thing!
If you were a boy, growing up was a lot different....And how!
If you were a boy, you were taught that showing your emotions was a sign of weakness. That you had to hide your true emotions, even from those that were closest to. That if you showed your emotions, you were a sissy. If you cried, you were called a big baby.
These things were handed down long before we were conscious that they were being passed down.
For boys (and men), it never occurred to anyone just how much damage was being done to future generations.
Let's change course here.....
Within the 60 years (conservative estimate), there have been thousands of things happening that has greatly been increasing the divide between men and women. A few of them go further back than 60 years, probably stretching way back down the corridors of time. But 4 events have happened the last 60 years that can be considered so crucial, they partially form the foundations to some of the problems we have today.
What are those 4 events, you might ask? Well, let's see.............
1. The Sexual Revolution. That was a major milestone. It broke down the walls regarding sex, obviously. But it also made it acceptable to have sex if you were not in a monogamous relationship. Oh sure, all the old people would still look at you with disapproving stares, but in your own age group, it wasn't a big deal anymore.
Now, there's an upside and a downside to this. On the upside, it meant that people could express physical love in a more open way and it wasn't such a big deal anymore. The downside, however, was that it opened the door to the belief that monogamous, committed relationships weren't as important as they had once been.
2. The ever-increasing numbers of married couples divorcing. For the longest time, we never understood exactly what damage could be caused by getting a divorce. It some ways, it can viewed as the ending of a business arrangement. That's a very sterile view, I admit, but if you take emotion out of the equation, that's exactly was it is. And nobody thought anything about it (unless you are religious, then there's that whole argument, but as I said, an argument for another time).
That is, of course, if the marriage didn't produce any children.
For those marriages that did produce children..........well.............
It has only been the last, and I'm guessing here, 25 to 30 years that we've finally begun to see the impact, and damage, that a divorce can have on a child. Then, it's no longer dissolving of a business arrangement....
It's so, so much more than that.....
'Did I do something wrong?' 'Am I the reason mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore?'
Those are two questions no child, and I mean NO SINGLE CHILD, should ever have to ask. And for those who never had to witness that, it's hard for us to relate. Really hard. But, think of the ramifications of a divorce on a child....they have no other frame of reference on how relationships should work. For many children (depending on the age), their parents' relationship is the only thing they have to base any future meaning on relationships in general.
Now, imagine watching that relationship end...
Your whole understanding of how relationships work....gone. The one consistent frame of reference you have on understanding relationships going into adolescence...gone. The way you approach relationships in the future.....altered beyond measure. Being able to form meaningful bonds and keeping those bonds solid are learned in childhood. Being able to expand on them and explore them further, well...that's a constant work in progress. But the basics...the very basic foundations of relationship-building....you learn by watching your parents.
3. The Internet. Look around you today! Thanks to wonders of modern technology, you can do anything, say anything, and in the blink of an eye, the entire world can see it. For someone who lived in an era before the internet was easily accessible (yes, I'm that old lol), there are some things that we used to take for granted that we don't have anymore. Privacy. Honest-to-goodness privacy. Yeah, the people of your community could find out things about you that you wished could remain secret. But it wasn't exactly easy to find out those things....unless you made a spectacle of yourself in a public forum.
Now, on the other hand......
All someone has to do is take a pic or a video of you getting caught in the act and....BAM!....all over the internet. For everyone to see. How many people have been hurt, either accidentally or intentionally, because someone decided at that moment to capture it on their smartphone?
Technology....it can definitely be a double-edge sword....
4. Speed Dating. Think back to when your parents...or better still, your grandparents...were dating. How long did they take before they started 'going steady'? (Is that even a relevant term anymore?) How long were they together before they got married? Months? Years?
Fast forward to today. To quote a line from 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan':
'According to myth, the earth was created in six days. Now, watch out! Here comes Genesis. We'll do it for you in six minutes!'
The same can be said when it comes to romance. We've gone from taking our time to get to know someone, to jumping into a relationship with someone is under two weeks!
Yes...14 days...Blink and you'll miss it....
This all goes back to the beginning of this article (what seems like an eternity ago lol). The need to feel love.
What happened? How did the divide between men and women get so out of hand?
Well...there are a few ways to view this...Some of them I've already mentioned.
Time. Nowadays, it seems like there's never enough time. We're constantly rushing from one place to the next, barely able to keep track of what we're witnessing half the time.
Trust. How does that saying go?.....'Who can you trust?' The lines have blurred such that it's hard to know who you can trust...on anything
Honesty & Respect. When did those two fall by the wayside? Those concepts are vital for a good relationship...ANY relationship...Yet, it feels like they've all but disappeared.
How did it get this way? Who's to blame?
Short answer: I don't know and no one's entirely to blame.
Now, here's the zinger....Love is an extremely powerful emotion. Perhaps the strongest emotion in the entire spectrum. It can propel you to dizzying heights. It can send you crashing into the deepest valleys. Some could argue that love itself is a primal force of nature itself. And I am hardly one to argue with that point.
It can build you up in ways that are hard to imagine. It can tear you down in ways ancient torturers in dungeons never discovered.
And yet, for all of that.....We are on a quest to obtain it....A quest that will never truly end...A quest that, also, we can never really relinquish.
Ok folks, almost done....Bare with me here......
Think of relationships as a grand hotel......All those floors leading to the top!
Each floor a different link in the chain....And at the top, the Penthouse....Is love.
Love in all it's many splendorous wonders!
But....um....We don't have wings. You mean we gotta use the elevator? Aww man.....
That's right, we all have to start at the ground floor. Meeting someone for the first time. Regardless of how you meet someone, you eventually have to meet them! lol This isn't brain surgery or rocket science.....We're all strangers to each other until utter that magic word....
Look at that, the elevator doors just opened! Better hop inside before they shut....
First Floor - Getting to know them. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? You get to know someone. It doesn't have to be anything too deep or revealing at first. It's all about building a rapport....a dialog.....opening the lines of communication.
Second Floor - Trust. Ok, now it doesn't seem so simple. That's where communication becomes important. Really important. It's by our words and actions that show ourselves worthy of earning someone's trust.
Third Floor - Respect/Admiration. You get to know someone...you start to trust in them...you develop respect for them. Seeing what another person goes through....The words they use....the actions they take....it all brings respect. It also can bring admiration. Admiring someone for overcoming great adversity....for being able to soothe the darkest fears.....to offer hope where once there was none.
Now, we're getting into the suites...
Fourth Floor - Reflection. After going through all those floors, a permanent bond has been forged. That person can just give you a look and you smile....Being around them feels so effortless, like you can truly be yourself........You miss them more when they're not around.....When they hurt, you hurt....When it's time to go, you don't want to leave.....
Fifth Floor - Realization. Have you ever heard of something coming to someone like a bolt from the blue? Well, thunderbolts can almost appear out of nowhere. And when they strike, boy do they strike!
We've reached the Penthouse.....sort of.
What do you mean, sort of???
Did I forget to mention this is a two-floor Penthouse? Whoops...Sorry, my mistake lol
Sixth Floor - Unrequited Love. In my view, there are two forms of love: Love that is unrequited and love that is reciprocated. You realize you love this person. What now? What if he/she rejects? This may be the hardest floor to be on. You love someone....Yet you don't know if they feel the same way. The agonizing over this can particularly painful. Yet, no matter how afraid you are, how scared you are of the outcome, there's only one course of action open to you: You have express how you feel. It can happen that quick.....yet feel like an eternity. Unfortunately, for some, this is as far as you go. You admit your feelings, they don't feel the same way...it's over. Rejection can be so crippling, so devastating. You fear you've lost that person as a friend. And yet, being honest with that person...laying your soul bare before them.....it can actually strengthen the friendship. Yes, the feelings of love are not shared, but being able show that vulnerability.....You haven't lost them. They'll probably care for you more than you can imagine.
Hey, silver linings.....
For the rest of you, you've reached...
Reciprocated Love - You express your feelings...they share those feelings....WOW!!
Yeah, just wow. lol
There isn't a high high enough...a buzz strong enough....a car ride more thrilling...
It's truly one of those things you have to see to believe! Have you ever seen a couple walking along, hand in hand, strolling along the sidewalk? They way the share a look and then....THAT SMILE! The way everything just sort of...brightens...when they walk past. The comfort and ease they seem to share.
I'm not one to believe in magic, but if I did.............Magic would look something like that, I think.
Now, it's also important to remember that, like everything else in life, relationships need work. Romantic ones, friendships, what have you. It's an almost daily work in progress. So, here are three simple rules to remember....
1. Communicate! This can't be stressed enough. And this goes for both sides! Whatever problems pop up, whatever curveballs life throws at you.....talk about it! None of us are telepaths. We're not mind readers. If we don't know something's wrong, how can it be fixed?
2. Compromise! Give and take, back and forth. You have to give a little to get a little.
3. Actions Speak Louder Than Words! Sometimes, it's the simple gesture of calling to say hi......or planning a date night......or sharing a laugh....that can make all the difference. Guys, this goes double for you! No slacking off here! If you feel the urge to go into cruise control, resist it! You've come this far, you don't want to start coasting now!
There's so much more I want to say...I wish I could say....so many points that got lost along the way. But then again, how can you completely encompass a force of nature? Don't even try. It'll make your head hurt. Trust me on this one. lol Some would say that there is someone out there for everyone.....For the longest time, I didn't believe it....couldn't believe it.....Part of me is still skeptical.
But, if there's one thing I've learned in my almost 43 years on this planet, it's this:
Fate has a way of surprising you. Sometimes, in ways you can't even begin to imagine.
Never, for one second, give up hope. Things have a way of finding you...even if you never realized you were lost. And when it comes to love......Never, ever bet against it. You might be in for quite a shock!
"Those were the Days of Our Lives....
The bad things in life seemed so few...
Those days are all gone now
But...one thing's still true....
When I look....and I find.....
I still love you....
(I still love you)"