Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Love + Life + Lessons

"Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own."

H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that (if anyone actually knows anything else about H. Jackson Brown Jr., that's a story for another time.)

In the past, I would have looked at a quote like that with what could only be described as cynical disdain and confusion.

How could you let someone take over your life like that? I would never think that. 

As time progressed, I lightened up.

Maybe someday I'll meet someone and I'll understand why people say things like that. I guess we'll see. 

Fast forward a couple more years and high school was an adventure I was well prepared to take on alone. Yes, it would have been nice to have a boy "notice me." Yes, it would have been nice to have a hand to hold every now and then. But I never let myself be defined by other people, let alone high-school boys. I had amazing friends and we didn't need anything or anyone else to have an amazing time.

Sure, there were days when I let myself feel lonely. I wondered why everyone around me seemed to be happily in love and why no one thought they'd like to share that with me. It made me sad--low self-esteem will do that to a person.

So imagine my excitement when one winter's day a boy wanted to get to know me, I couldn't contain myself. I threw all of my energy into making him happy. It became stressful. How can people dedicate their entire lives to making sure someone else is happy? 

Then, more than ever, I was sure that love was not when the other person's happiness was more important than your own.

When I said goodbye to that boy I was determined to live a life where I put myself first. Not in a selfish way. In a healthy way.

I let time go by. I let myself be busy. I was happy. And I could have continued on that way for years and I would have been satisfied.

But that uncertain girl kept creeping back to the surface. I hoped that when I got to college I would meet new people and find someone to share my time with.

But plans almost never work out the way you think they will.

Sometimes, they turn out better.

That's what happened to me. I took a chance and it turned my world upside down.

What started out as friendship grew stronger, and I found myself the happiest I'd ever been. Here was a boy who cared about me the same way I cared about him. We just clicked.

I thought maybe there was some truth to the idea that love was when the other person's happiness was more important than your own. Just maybe not in the way I was looking at it before.

Putting someone's happiness above your own can be selfless. It means you care so much about that person that you would do anything for them. It doesn't mean you can't be happy too. For me, making someone else happy, makes me the happiest.

Maybe a better way to say it would be "love is when the other person's happiness is just as important as your own."

Yeah, I like that better.


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