It seems that when something is on your mind, perhaps more so on your heart, you keep seeing, reading, finding things that relate to what you are feeling or thinking about. It may very well be that we are more attuned to these things because they weigh so much on us. You may even be inclined to think that the universe is sending you signs… if you believe in such things.
I tend not to believe in signs, tempting as it might be. I blame hyper-awareness instead. An unconscious need for some sort of explanation, even validation. That what I’m feeling is not so outlandish. That my thoughts have at some point been shared by another, perhaps even investigated in a manner that might now enlighten me.
You may have come across Maria Popova’s blog Brain Pickings. She’s a smart woman. And I love her writing. The range of topics on Brain Pickings is extensive. There’s always a hint of philosophy no matter what she chooses to write about. Lately, I’ve read quite a number of articles related to love, relationships and what others have said about it. Writers, philosophers, artists of any kind. Every time I think I’ve got it now, I understand, something else comes my way, which does not negate the previously understood but enhances and deepens it.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about love and relationships. Needless to say, this was triggered by an experience I’m currently going through. As an introvert, I spend an awful lot of time on self-reflection when something like that happens to me. Past experiences are examined, how much I’ve grown, who I’ve become and ultimately, what it is that I am looking for.
So, naturally, when reading an article on that topic on Brain Pickings, I find it speaks to me, I hold onto some of the thoughts, realizing that someone else has so perfectly put into words the things I’m feeling. I can’t say this any better than they have already and it makes so much sense that there’s no point in trying. I just read this article and I think it hit me like a ton of bricks.
“In 1976, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (public library) was published — a minimalist, maximally wonderful allegory at the heart of which is the emboldening message that true love doesn’t complete us, even though at first it might appear to do that, but lets us grow and helps us become more fully ourselves. It’s a story especially poignant for those of us who have ever suffered from Savior Syndrome or Victim Syndrome and sought a partner to either fix or be fixed by, the result of which is often disastrous, always disappointing, and never salvation or true love.”
I’ve suffered from Saviour Syndrome. I didn’t choose to be in a relationship where I could fix someone. I ended up in it without having a clue what I was getting myself into. I developed Saviour Syndrome. And yes, it was disastrous. It nearly destroyed my ability to love and for a long time made me wary of relationships altogether. In the end, I had to save myself and let go… and ask to be let go.
When I read the above article, I realized that I’m the Big O in this scenario. I’m not a missing piece looking to fit with someone. I’m complete already. But finding someone who rolls along with me… that’s a different story.
I can’t fix anyone. I wouldn’t presume to try. When you love someone, you want them whole. You don’t want them to suffer in any way. You don’t want them to doubt, especially themselves. If the person you love is not whole or does not feel whole, you can’t do anything but be there for them and support them in their own efforts to grow.
Tell them “I’ve got you. I can’t fix you. But I’ve got your back. I’ll be by your side because I love you.” And you hope that is enough. You’re in this together, for better or worse. And ideally, you both end up growing. Just because I’m already a complete whole, doesn’t mean there isn’t room to grow further or perhaps even in an unexpected direction. We never stop becoming, after all.
I believe in unconditional love. You take the other person just as they are. You want the same in return. Most of us aren’t complete wholes. Most of us have missing pieces or they are a missing piece or think of themselves as such. Growing isn’t easy. And it does require a certain amount of self-awareness. It’s okay to not be complete. It’s okay to look for the missing pieces. But you may eventually have to realize that it is up to you to fill those missing pieces or remove those sharp edges that bother you.
Happiness comes from within. It’s a process. It’s in enjoying the moment. It’s in accepting yourself for who you are and allowing yourself to grow without having a plan what that should look like.
Of course, the greatest happiness is the one you share with the one you love. But experiencing that is impossible if you’ve not already been happy on your own.
I’ll never arrive at the end of my understanding of love. Love is the ultimate unanswerable question. You will always find yourself wanting to know more and trying to dig deeper. This article simply reminded me of something. I’ve known for years that I’m not looking for someone to complete me. I’ve not felt incomplete for a long time. It also reminded me that loving someone means letting them go sometimes. So they may do their own growing and walk the path they think is right for them.
I don’t know how long ago I first came across this quote from the inimitable Khalil Gibran, but I’ve always known it to be true.