I recently ended a relationship – ok, he was the one who ended it, but who cares? – and it got me thinking about the truthfulness of our feelings. I was so sure that I was in love with him. Not all the way (it was too short for me to fall all the way), but I was convinced I was on the right track, and that I cared more about him at that stage than I ever did about a man outside my family.
I cried the whole night when it ended, then I didn’t anymore. A few days later, I was so fine that it seemed that the whole relationship had been more in my head than in the reality of the world. And that’s what intrigued me the most: if I cared about him so much – hell, if I was on my way to loving him, like I so openly announced to him, how could I be so happy again in so little time?
I won’t lie to you: I still think about him now and then, and as he is still in my life and I see him more often than not, sometimes I find myself hoping that he will realize what an idiot he was in ending everything like this, and how desperate he is to have me in his life again. But deep down, I know that this wishful thinking is more a product of my vanity and my bruised ego than my heart. I don’t want him anymore. I am happy to be single again, and excited to meet new people. I moved on. So how could it be that what I felt in the beginning was so strong? It mustn’t have been real for me to let go so fast, right? You only discard emotions like these when they are fickle or illusive.
Then a thought hit me. Our perception of ourselves and of the world around us – of what we are, what we believe, what we live – is controlled and ruled by how we feel in the present. You decide that you don’t like a memory because it makes you feel sad or angry right that second when you’re thinking about it. You determine what you will do with your day, and how you will react to it, and what your plans for tomorrow and after are based on what emotions are rolling over your head and heart at the moment you make the decision. Whether you’re happy, angry, sad, thoughtful, pensive, frustrated, serious, pragmatic, excited, worried, anxious, uncertain, confident, inspired, concentrated, afraid; it doesn’t matter. You live based on how you feel, on how you felt and how you want to feel.
Is any of it unreal? Of course not. Maybe what you feel right now is being influenced by the situation, by another person or group, or by your own expectations, but that doesn’t take away the legitimacy of it. I had a boyfriend after being single for a long time, so I was excited, and I was feeling cherished by him. While we were together, we were exclusive, and for a very short time, he was the center of my attention. So, yes, of course I felt like I was falling in love with him.
I remember one day, when I was about to travel with my family for the weekend, and we (me and him, I mean) were seating on stuffed seats at Starbucks. He was tired from his work, so he laid his head on the curve of my neck, and I put my arms around him in an effort to help him rest. For a few minutes, he had his eyes closed and his body relaxed, and I felt such a strong flow of emotions. I felt needed, wanted, important. Nothing else mattered; it was like there were only the two of us in the world, and in my heart I felt this strong, undeniable sparkle of love that left me speechless.
How can I ever even try to convince myself that that wasn’t real? It was as real as this text, as real as the sun that heats and the moon that shines. It was real because it was what I was feeling at that moment in time. It doesn’t matter that now it’s over, and that I don’t feel like this towards him anymore. I did at that time.
So, you see, you don’t need to feel an emotion for a long period of time to consider it a true one. There are no false emotions – at least, I don’t believe they exist. The only case an emotion is false, in my opinion, is when you lie about it. Like, if I said that right now I am feeling complete loath, it would be a lie, thus a false emotion. As I type these letters, all I feel is a sense of calmness because everything is fine, some expectation towards what the rest of the day might bring, and a good fair share of joy, because the sun is shining and the skies are blue.
Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you want to feel, because emotions can last, but they can also be extremely short-lived. However long they last, though, they are all legitimate. Believe in the truthfulness of your feelings. And enjoy the ride, because it is a wild one.