Monthly Archives: February 2012
Being a very practical person, I’m extremely fortunate to have a pragmatic daughter. Unlike many of her peers, she’s shown little concern about romance and relationships. Other than incessantly listening to Taylor Swift songs and keeping tabs on Taylor’s love life, she just doesn’t seem to care.
And while I hope that doesn’t change, I also know that, eventually, it will.
I can’t imagine that she’ll ever be the type of person who feels incomplete without a significant other, but I do know that she will start dating at some point.
And that also means she’ll have her heart broken.
But before that happens, I feel obligated to share ten lessons I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) about love:
1. You can’t truly love someone else unless you love who you are. And who you are is an imperfect person who makes mistakes, gets mad and will sometimes say and do very stupid things. Love yourself anyone. How you handle your mistakes and flaws is more important than trying to hide them.
2. Love is only genuine when you are being true to yourself. Don’t pretend to enjoy something when you don’t. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t compromise. You should. Love requires a great deal of compromise. But compromise doesn’t mean you should pretend to be someone you’re not. If you do, you’ll wind up being miserable.
3. Love isn’t a competition, and you can’t make someone love you. You will always be loved for being the unique person you are and not because you are prettier, smarter, funnier, sexier or nicer than someone else. Therefore, you should never worry about what others are doing to attract attention or affection. Being yourself is enough.
4. You don’t fall in love. That indescribable feeling of “falling in love’” is usually a combination of infatuation and physical attraction. Love is something that is grounded in mutual respect, grows slowly and doesn’t necessarily bloom as much as it thrives.
5. Love isn’t about romance. It’s about experiencing someone at their very worst and realizing that walking away would still be more devastating than dealing with a tough situation.
6. Love is about having passion in your life – but not necessarily in the way you might think. Never invest so much of yourself in a relationship that you don’t have time for everything else you love. Be passionate about a hobby. Be passionate about a cause. Be passionate about your family and friends. And also be passionate about your love.
7. True love means you aren’t worried about what other people think about your relationship. If you spend time worrying about what others are thinking or saying, you likely have concerns yourself. If you’re confident about your relationship and the integrity of your significant other, you won’t care what others say. Always stay in tune with your inner voice and be honest with yourself.
8. Love means saying you’re sorry. Unlike the quote “love means never having to say you’re sorry” made popular in the 1970′s movie “Love Story,” love means that you’re willing to let go of your ego. Admit when you are wrong or when you’ve said or done something hurtful. And when you are in a relationship, you will say and do hurtful things at times.
9. Don’t expect love to always feel exciting and new. Just like life, love can sometimes be dull and boring and predictable. Relationships are like roller coasters: sometimes they can be difficult and sometimes they can be easy and fun. But being able to work together during the uphill battles is what makes the downhill ride so enjoyable.
10. People do change, and that can affect your relationship. Our experiences shape who we become. The person who you fell in love with several years ago will probably be different from the person you know today. And you will be different too. Many times, you can join hands while you grow. Sometimes, you drop your hands and grow apart. Often, the decision is yours, but sometimes it isn’t.
As I share these lessons with my daughter, I realize that I could add so many more. But I figure one for every year of her life is enough for now. Besides, she often doesn’t listen to me anyway. Despite that, I do want her to hear one message loud and clear: even though she will ALWAYS have her mother’s heart, I hope she is also able to follow her own.
Keeping an eye on politics this week has been as compelling as anything the best Hollywood writers could make up. Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, actually said that he cares about Americans but that he isn’t concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net.
That’s precisely what he said. In that exact order. What happened next, while predictable, was still extremely entertaining.
Some political pundits latched onto the concept that Romney didn’t care about the poor and (gasp) he didn’t even consider them Americans.
Others suggested that he was supporting the notion that government should help the poor indefinitely without encouraging them improve their situations.
And others, particularly those in the Republican party, despaired that Romney is a bad politician who blunders when he doesn’t have a teleprompter.
I have to agree with the latter. When Romney opens his mouth without a script, his comments seem unsympathetic to the average American. His latest remarks about the poor just add to the growing concern.
The doubts have been building with every questionable statement: his spontaneous offer to bet Rick Perry $10,000 (a very sizable amount of money to the average American); his remark that he is also unemployed (not funny to the millions without a job or a daily income like he has) and his insensitive language about liking to fire people. All of these feed into the perception that Romney has no clue about the daily struggles many Americans face.
And there may be something to that. He has, after all, lived in a bubble his entire life.
He grew up in a bubble and doesn’t appear to have left it. That bubble has protected him from worrying about which bills he could afford to pay or whether his children would be able to go to college. I’m pretty sure that there’s never been any coupon clipping, layaways or bargain hunting in the Romney bubble.
But apparently the barrier between Romney’s bubble and the rest of the world isn’t impenetrable. Rumblings of discontent about the disparity between the very rich and the rest of the country actually seem to be reaching Romney’s ears. But the layers of film between us are distorting the message, and he just isn’t hearing it correctly.
But Romney’s not alone.
Because of religion, socio-economic status and even our appearances, many of us live in a bubble and generally associate with, relate to and hear the opinions of people who are very similar to us. And while some people step outside of their bubbles, others never do.
The problem with staying in your own bubble is that you generally don’t hear or understand the plight of those outside the bubble. I’ve bumped into a lot of those people as they float through life. It’s not that people who stay in their own bubbles are bad people. Bubbles simply distort how they see things, so their view of the world just isn’t accurate.
But who can blame them? Living in a bubble can be deceptively comfortable.
Unfortunately, people who are floating around in their own bubbles are still part of the real world: a world where poverty is not a moral issue, where people still face discrimination and where money is a driving force in determining who has power.
If you are floating around in a bubble, your hands may never get dirty, your heart may never fully empathize and your head may never understand.
And that’s the problem with Mitt Romney. It’s hard to understand something you’ve never felt or experienced. And it’s even worse if you don’t recognize the fact that you’re living in a bubble.
On the bright side, most everyone likes watching bubbles float away and eventually pop. Even as a child, I found the sight highly entertaining. I’m pretty sure I still do.