Not everything goes down in flames
I wanted to revisit impermanence…and note that circumstances are indeed subject to change, but that doesn’t mean believing everything good will go down in flames, and it doesn’t mean living with a half-hearted effort…
Because everything is subject to change, impermanence gives us hope for improvement and positive shifts as well. Impermanence doesn’t mean we are powerless, it means we learn to ride the waves and consider the gradual deviations. The small and seemingly insignificant parts of our lives all add up to make greater changes for good too.
Love is enduring
There is the one permanent truth, and that is love. Circumstances change, but love can remain ever-present. This because I believe that love is a choice, not an emotion. I believe love is acceptance and understanding—in the midst of someone’s undesirable behaviour, harsh words, strange quirks, or in knowing their deepest darkest secrets; you remain steadfast in understanding “this is another soul, just like me”—love by this definition is one of the hardest things to do—it takes great courage and humility to love. But when we choose to witness the inherent beauty of another being, when we choose to extend our lovingkindness, we soften inside.
Love is calm and understanding, like a quiet river, moving through obstacles and refreshing wherever it flows…love is enduring.
Love is a conscious effort to seek the best in others and in yourself—to do your best to offer empathy and encouragement, to hold your breath when you want to snap, to make someone laugh when they’re feeling down, to dig deeper to understand rather than dismiss, and to choose to stick around when it’s hard. When the butterflies fade, you lose your good looks, or your partner is struggling through fatal illness; when life gets tough and bitter. The practice of love endures.
This doesn’t mean willingly throwing yourself into abusive or unhealthy interactions, it means you can remove yourself from the situation, wish the best for them, and respect their decisions from afar.
Emotions are impermanent
Emotions are fleeting, dynamic, incredibly unpredictable, and immensely unstable. Think about how many times a day your feelings can change. Butterflies and obsessive thinking about someone is exciting, but it’s not love. Feelings come and feelings go…
As a relationship goes through shifts that naturally occur with impermanence, emotions change, excitement can become stability, flames can become a slow burn, and the other person may become a little less perfect. Here is where you look past surface emotions, and if this person is truly your best friend and someone you would like to share your heart and soul with, you allow the emotions to be what they are, and you remain unwavering in your love. Like a plant without water, love without nurture and consideration will whither and die.
No one is difficult to love. It’s just that when shit gets hard and people get emotional, you can lose sight of what it means to love.
What 75 years of science says about lasting happiness
The Harvard Grant Study confirms that the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love. Specifically, the study demonstrates that it is the quality of your relationships—how much vulnerability and depth exists within them; how safe you feel sharing with one another; the extent to which you can relax and be seen for who you truly are, and truly see another. Having someone to rely on helps your nervous system relax, helps your brain stay healthier for longer, and reduces both emotional as well as physical pain. The data is also very clear that in the end, you could have all the money you’ve ever wanted, a successful career, and be in good physical health, but those who lack love are more likely to see their health decline earlier and die younger.
Relationships are messy and complicated, but the good life is built with good relationships.