One of the benefits of my boyfriend is I’m pretty sure that I know what I’m getting. I may not like everything about the way he behaves, but I am confident there is nothing hidden behind the scenes. But in general, I don’t think that’s true with most people. I concede that one can never be 100% certain, and it’s awful to hear about the situations where people are caught off guard about their friends, spouses, or children.
Last week, an admin manager at my company plead guilty to two counts of embezzlement with previous employers. We are all very surprised that such a person could be hired by our firm to begin with. I have also heard the stories of a former employer who was fired after downloading or printing inappropriate photos at the office. This was before my time and I never met this person, so I have no idea what their personality was or how they interacted with people.
I just finished the book Between Good and Evil, which is a memoir of sorts by Roger L. Depue who was leading developer of criminal profiling with the FBI. What they learned in the early years of the program, is how the sophisticated serial killers hide among us as normal and regular people. They also discovered the pattern of genetic characteristics in people subject to terrible abuse at a young age, common in these people who became unremorseful killers.
We all have been surprised by the character of people we thought we knew well. And we all have been in vulnerable situations where the character of the people around us are critical to our safety. Especially as young people, we often do not think to maintain a safety system in case of emergency, or avoid putting ourselves in vulnerable situations.
Sometimes I need a little good news to pick up my spirits. This page on the Huffington Post website usually has something to do the trick.
I came across an interesting post while looking for book reviews, and it has a fantastic idea for couples to keep a little romance in their relationship.
The author’s passion is writing and her husband presented a writing journal as a gift one day. As a romantic gesture, he copied some romantic poems into the journal before presenting it. Now she writes original poetry for him to read, and he writes down poetry from other authors for her. What a nice idea to share with each other, even for people who are not writers.
I find that writing my feelings to someone is easier than saying them to the person face-to-face. I can’t think on the fly the way I want to, which really hinders those important conversations in a relationship.
I think a lot about love… About how we think of it, how we feel it. What gives us the feeling of love and what we are missing when we don’t feel love.
Watching a movie yesterday, The Beginners, there is a scene where the Oliver talks to his gay father’s younger lover and comments that he was jealous of the lover because his dad Loved Him, as if he felt more love for the boyfriend than for his own son. But the movie subtly portrays the acts of love that Oliver is not wise enough to interpret from his father. Just as the book the 5 Languages of Love points that that people give and receive love in one or more of 5 ways, we don’t always realize the ways someone expresses their love for us. My response to that particular scene was a reminder of how we confuse the emotions of Love and Happiness.
The movie itself is a realistic view of the process of love. How we meet someone and that elated feeling of happiness makes us think we are in love. And over time love can develop in a relationship, a deep authentic love, where we do what we think is best for the relationship even if we cannot get or give what we want. Well maybe I also confuse commitment in there too, in the conscience choice of dealing with the circumstances and making the most of the situation.
Love is a combination of so many things. But I feel very little about love relates to being happy. They are different emotions, sometimes experienced together. In our material society we like to give up and throw out the things that no longer make us happy, quickly moving on to the next best thing. But how can we do that with friends, loved ones, significant others, relationships?
People like to say that Ignorance is Bliss, and Love is Blind. But I don’t want to be so blind that I don’t understand love and therefor might accidentally throw love away, just because I don’t fully conceptualize all the components of love.
Unless we live as a hermit, completely removed from society and interaction with other people, we all will disrespect someone sometimes a family member, sometimes our close friends, and sometimes complete strangers. Either by words or actions, and often completely by accident. Whether the disrespect was intentional or accidental, we often regret the words or action and wish it could be undone.
Once the harm has occurred, it may impossible to undo. Even the best apology encompassing the 5 elements of a complete apology may not restore the world to the way things were before the disrespect occurred. Although we may be able to restore our relationship with the inflicted person, the damage does not completely disappear. The relationship is now more susceptible to future disrespect. If we disrespect the same person, the emotion and damage from previous events comes flooding back, and it’s as if all the past events are layered on top of each other and added to this new conflict. And the guilty person may not be aware of the compounding hurt flooding into the new conflict, making it seem like the afflicted person is overreacting to a small event. With each event, it becomes more difficult to repair the damage.
I wish I could teach every person and every kid the compounding effect of disrespectful events and actions, so we can take more care in avoiding them.
So many people struggle with finding what they want in live, and maintaining relationships. I think part of the problem is with the English Language. We have one word used for so many different types of love. There are different types, love for family, love for friends, love for a pet, I love chocolate or my favorite song. Romantic love has different characteristics than love for a friend. Love for a child is stronger than anything.
We don’t have a good way to describe love as an emotion (chemical reaction) vs. love as a decision. Do we generally use the word Love to anything that makes us happy, when it’s making us happy? I think we should all consider how we define love and understand how our loved ones may define love.
There are a variety of relationships, each based on different reasons for being a couple. The challange is to understand and communicate our desire for that long-term relationship, and then work together to accomplish the common goal. One of the best resources I have found for understanding my own view of romantic love is a book Why Did I Marry You Anyway by Barbara Bartlein. This seems to cover many of the myths about romantic Love that lead people to believe in a false love.
Last night I overheard of a young gentleman’s story of gift shopping. This person picked out a gift for a female coworker of his. At first, when he described having lunch every day with this coworker I thought maybe it was a girl he would be interested in dating, and that he was hoping this sweater would impress her. But then he said this person was an older woman and he wanted to do something nice in return for her daily company, but he wasn’t sure if she would appreciate his taste in the sweater.
I appreciate the reminder to acknowledge those who contribute to my life each day.