There is something we tell people all the time. People who are down or hurt, out of luck, or people who have trouble seeing that the way out is there, you just have to open your eyes. Something I’ve told myself a million times. And something I still believe…in part.
“You need to be happy by yourself to be happy in a relationship.”
I don’t really think it’s that simple. It has it’s merits – it’s portion of the truth – being happy by yourself isn’t something you can shake a stick at. But there’s more to that then what’s on the surface.
We have so many different kinds of love: love for yourself, love for friends, for best friends, for family, for animals, for foods, for objects – so many different kinds.
An intimate relationship offers something that other kinds of happiness cannot. A certain kind of love that you won’t find anywhere else. And sure, maybe some people don’t need that kind of love to be at their happiest. But maybe some people (like me) do. Maybe, some people can’t be the happiest they could possibly be without knowing that someone shares that intimate love with them. Knowing that you love someone, more than anything else on the planet – someone who isn’t yourself – and that they feel the same way about you.
It’s not a feeling of dependency, not a case of low self-esteem. You can love yourself – but it’s not the same feeling as knowing someone else loves you. It’s a different kind of love.
I think that this level of intimate love is above all of that. It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else, no matter how hard you try.
And maybe some of us can’t reach our full potential of happiness without having that kind of love included in our lives. Maybe we just reach a certain level of happiness, and plateau – leaving us knowing that there’s more – and leaving us searching for it.
So while there is some truth to saying “You need to be happy alone to be happy in a relationship” I don’t really think it’s that simple.
Think of it like climbing a mountain.
At the very peak of the mountain – hidden by the clouds – is where you are the happiest that you will ever be. Sure, some people can make it there alone. But what I’m saying is this:
Maybe some of us can only make it to that peak with that certain kind of intimate love with us. Together with that person who shares it with us. We have all the gear to keep climbing. and we know the peak’s not far away, but still we are stuck here. Looking for that specific kind of love.
Until we find it, we stand on this plateau. Searching for it.
And it’s not a bad thing that we get stuck on that plateau, it’s a good thing. It’s almost like we choose to be stuck there. Because we know that there are others like us. Who feel that it would be a hollow victory for us to reach that peak alone. To have no one to share the victory with. To not have someone to share that level of love and passion with.
We know that there is more, we can see where the mountain disappears into the clouds. We know there’s more up there. More mountain – more happiness.
Maybe we just can’t reach it alone – or maybe we don’t want to.
My deepest desire is to climb the rest of that mountain with the person I choose to share my life with; the person who chooses to share their life with me.
I used to say – I used to believe – that a relationship wasn’t about depending on one another. That it was about being independent – together.
But in a way…I was wrong.
It’s not about being dependent or independent.
It’s not about friendship or reliance.
It’s not about compassion or empathy.
It’s about knowing that when you need to you can be dependent on them – and they on you. It’s about having a level of empathy with someone that you share with no one else. It’s about friendship and reliance on each other not matter the cost. It’s about compassion for one person that shines infinitely brighter than it does for anyone else. It’s about love. A kind of love you can’t get anywhere else.
I will never reach the peak of that mountain alone. It’s not that I couldn’t – I’m sure I could if I tried.
But I don’t want to. So I won’t. There’s someone out there looking for me. Just as I am looking for them. And when we find each other, by the glow of the moon, we will climb that mountain together.