Spain Update #7: LOVE.

If you know me, you know I am incredibly interested in positive psychology. And a big part of why I am so interested in this subject is that I am trying to understand why we think things – because our thoughts are so powerful. Hey, buckle up. This is a wordy one…

So let’s talk about love. Why do we long for what we can’t have? Or why does one connection leave us wanting more, while others we have zero interest in? What causes us to cling to one person or thing more than others? Why is heartbreak so complex and hard to deal with?

When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and to really feel things, thoughts like this become part of the process. You feel – and you win some, and you lose some. You feel on top of the world at times, and you feel weak and alone other times. In a big city (Barcelona), I’ve honestly been so lucky to experience this myself and meet a TON of people that have ridden this rollercoaster way longer than me.

Sometimes it is clear when someone is supposed to leave your life. It feels natural to end things and you know you’ve learned what you needed from a person. And sometimes you make connections, but it’s the wrong timing. It’s just this open chapter waiting to be written, but you have to move past it and accept that it might never be part of your story. Or sometimes someone doesn’t want to be in your book anymore, and you don’t know how to keep writing without ripping out all the pages or throwing the whole book (along with yourself) into a giant bonfire… Yeah okay, enough with the book metaphors – you get the idea.

To match my theme of vulnerability, I’ll be honest with you. At this point in my life, I’m not sure I know what love really feels like – and it is incredibly clear to me why the ancient Greeks had seven different classifications for it. Love is complicated. It’s beautiful, and we are chasing after it constantly like we are its bitch (because we are) – but it is also so painful and fragile. Personally, I have so much love for my life and the people in it. I am constantly thankful and filled with adoration for most things around me. But when it comes to romance (a different type of love), I don’t know why I have become increasingly pessimistic.

It all seems so fabricated to me. And I realize that this sounds depressing (the reality is that I’m not at all depressed by it – more intrigued), but I’ve started to wonder if all people in long term relationships are just settling. Do they really feel “in love?” Or are they just really good friends that occasionally have sex when it seems like they should? Is there such a thing as passion when you’ve been together for seven or more years?? I’m not the only one asking this question. In a city filled with single 30-somethings, we are all scratching our heads.

And what about heartbreak? Why does it linger – why can’t we just move on? It can affect us so deeply that we can damage ourselves and every relationship we have for YEARS. If we can’t confront ourselves and our problems, we will continually self- sabotage, endlessly, in a cycle – and we will never be happy. When heartbreak happens, some people seem to cling to the nearest person to not feel alone. They would rather convince themselves they love someone new than confront their demons. Others close themselves off, convince themselves (not others, despite their best attempts) that they don’t feel anything – that they are emotionless robots. But it all catches up to us eventually, and we all eventually learn one of the most important lessons in life, learned only the hardest ways – people can hurt us, but that doesn’t make us less valuable. We are still beautiful creatures, just longing for the same things – health, love, and happiness.

And what about the fear. Fear to leave, the fear of being alone. Surprisingly, I’ve had multiple people reach out to me regarding this. They don’t want their relationship because it isn’t fulfilling, but they are too scared to leave. To me, that isn’t living. I don’t know what love is exactly (queue the Forest Gump quotes), but I know that trying to fight the universe and convince yourself you need something you don’t want is completely murdering your potential. And I know it’s complicated (love, man!), and I know it is a giant risk – but I’ve been there! And I’m here to say: It isn’t fair to either party to live a less fulfilling life out of fear. Hay mucha gente por ahi – stop acting like there is only one person that could possibly love you. I’m here to break the news to you: You are lovable, and you are worthy, and someone great is out there for you. You can find anything you want.

Look, I don’t know if real romance exists or if all of the seven ways the Greeks defined love as are meant to stay – or just be fleeting emotions that pass through us and are gone. But here is what I know: We have ourselves, and we have each other. And if we are brave enough to feel any kind of love, it makes life worth living. So feel the pain, then keep going. Because love (in all its forms) and connection are important ingredients in order for us to THRIVE.

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