Recently, the man I expressed my (unreciprocated) love to decided to hide a post I had made on his Facebook wall, something I had written before he knew of my feelings for him. He had done this once before in the past, also for reasons unbeknownst to me. Neither post was inflammatory, over the top or unkind; both would be considered by most anyone to be friendly and benign. Unfortunately, because communication with him has become difficult and strained, I don’t feel I can ask him outright why he took these actions. It certainly reinforced the feeling in me that I had grossly overestimated the significance of our relationship – to him, at least. However, since I dislike speculation, which is nothing more than a baseless way to get myself riled up or draw wrong conclusions, I will instead focus on working through my own feelings about it.
My initial reaction was to feel degraded, unwanted, and foolish. The inner critic in me had a field day, seizing this opportunity to try and re-build a wall around my open and vulnerable heart by presenting a slide show of sad sack scenarios in my head. While all of these images were meant to be cautionary tales designed to protect me, they really only served to temporarily disconnect me from the knowledge that I am a loving and lovable woman. After I recovered from the initial shock and subsequent myriad of emotions that poured out of me, I was able to ask myself some honest questions in order to move back into a positive frame of mind.
I first looked at the idea of humiliation and pondered it for awhile. In the past, this feeling would have caused me to focus on the words and/or actions of the other person(s) involved, as I assumed they were the source of my pain. After all, we are socialized to react this way; most people would believe that it’s only normal for me to hide and lick my wounds when disregarded in this manner. However, since I believe that I get to choose how I respond to my reality, I no longer support the idea that this man’s actions somehow caused the way I’m feeling. This begs the question, what did cause me to feel humiliated? After thinking a bit more, I realized it was that pesky thing called Expectation. I had expected him to treat me in a certain way – to behave in a certain way – and he did not meet that expectation. Was that his fault? Would fault even be part of the equation? Social convention might reply with a yes to both questions. However, I am not conventional. I also do not find it very empowering to look to others to make me feel happy, comfortable, or validated.
I have come to develop a set of beliefs that loosely resemble a Western version of Buddhist philosophy. Expectation = Attachment to a specific outcome, which always has the potential of leading to Suffering. By choosing expectation, I inadvertently choose suffering. In viewing things this way, I am able to restore my sense of personal power; by seeing clearly that the pain I felt was the result of a series of choices, I am also able to see that I can (at any time) choose differently and take things in a different direction.
I find myself returning to a truth that I already knew: I can’t control this man, and I wouldn’t want to. His actions have to do with his business, not mine. They have served me, though, and very well – by showing me how I don’t wish to be treated, he has once again clarified for me what I do want in a partner. As long as I am working through the heartbreak of unrequited love, I will need these reminders to keep me focused on being open to someone who will treat me with respect and consideration, who would not hesitate to meet me half way with a mutual desire to build a solid, loving relationship.
The last time I was this heartbroken, I was in college and recovering from a boy who left me and married someone else. After that experience, I closed up shop and vowed I would never be hurt like that again. It would be dishonest for me to say that the temptation to do the same thing hasn’t occurred to me with this current situation. However, I am a grown woman now; I know my worth in a way that I did not back then, and I know the value of focusing on the essence of my desire rather than the specifics of what has not been fulfilled. My experience has shown me this: when I release resistance to what is in my present and remain receptive to all possibilities, the things and people I draw into my life are even better than I could have imagined.
This time, my heart will remain open and willing. Knowing how much desire and feeling I have put out into the Universe where this current man is concerned, I’m pretty damn excited to meet the man who is ready, willing, and able to respond to my great love.