The Courage to Be a Selfish Whole (No, I didn't mispell that!)

A lonely tree in a lonely sad sack of a field

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu – I've never really liked or enjoyed quotes however famous and relevant they may seem to be. I suppose that's because a quote never sticks around for the entire fight. It's sorta there at the beginning to give us motivation, to fan the flames if you will; never there for the consequences drawn from rash or ill-advised/informed behavior. However, this particular quote has struck a chord within this somewhat cynical turd of a man. Allow me to explain.

I've been in love before and I've been loved. I've loved someone more than they loved me and I've also been in the opposite situation. Being in love is great. It's ice cream and cake every day ending in Y. That's the best way I can put it because I simply haven't got the vocabulary or presence of thought and skill to put it all together; what being in love really means to me. So you'll simply have to do with cake and ice cream, kids. Sorry.

Relationships aren't easy. If they were, your ugly caveman-looking sister could do them. They do require work, they require time and water and healthy doses of patience, understanding and a love of breathing deeply and exhaling slowly… In through the nose and out through the mouth-style (my grandmother swore by this and I tell you it's brought me back from the brink more times than I care to count).

I respect the work that a relationship asks of me. Not just the relationships that we have with our lovers, but with our confidants; our closest secret-keepers. I respect it only because I've taken it for granted, especially earlier in the year when I hurt a truly dear friend of mine. Stay with me. I promise this all relates.

No lie, I tend to take things for granted more than the average bear. When I tire of something or something shinier comes along to abduct my attention, I'm gone. Without apology. No letters, not a text message or tweet to explain my disappearance. Part of that stems from the child within that I simply have not tamed. “Speak in real world speak, man!” Okay, okay. Sometimes demands are made of my attention, a simple and brief phone conversation, one that inconveniences me and pulls me away from my task and snaps my concentration. I'm resentful. In the past I would have simply not answered that phone call, I would have ignored it; again, without apology. That's irresponsible and selfish. Love compels me to take that phone call now…

I do get frustrated and it's a “me” thing. However, this what relationships are. I think one of the many nuances one learns in a relationship is that there are as many times where you are as excited to hear your lover's voice as you are abhorrent to hear but one syllable from your lover… That's actually normal; it's okay. Even selfless people are selfish in their own way and just want to be left alone from time to time.

Take your time, be free to exist as the whole person that you are. That's why your lover loves you, right? Be selfish for a time and be so without guilt or regret. Intend on it! I do this. Sometimes I felt guilty, but I don't anymore. I know what my limits are and I respect them.

Yes, relationships are hard, however, the risk versus the reward is without question. Being loved and loving someone deeply is a treasure beyond compare. Being someone's hero, their emotional mortar, their shield, their anything at all when they need you most… That's the good stuff right there, man. It's as though we have somehow levelled up, to put it in gamer lingo. I don't know much, but I know that I'm happier than I have ever been. I'm grateful and very lucky.

“Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day.” – Asshole kid at the local Subway with his asshole friend… I know I said I don't like quotes, but this one makes me snicker every time.

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Alex is the founder and managing editor at the Urban Dater. Alex also runs: DigiSavvy, for which he is the co-founder and Principal. Alex has a lot on his mind. Will he ever get it right? If he does, he'll be sure to write.

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7 Comments

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  2. The selfish part is essential, I agree. Time out to be you, to do the things you always did before…that's why she loves you anyway, isn't it? Good writing.

    1. Well, thank you.

      Our lovers are an accessory to who we are; they represent that something extra that makes that individual just that much better…

      So, yeah, that's why she loves me. =)

  3. Right on as usual Alex. I'm often asked "how do I know I'm with the right guy in the right relationship?" Answer: When you can be your true self, and feel safe and loved being that person…and when you can give him the same without expecting him to change…that's the guy! I'm going to feature this on my blog this week so my ladies know that men feel the same way we do. We're not really all that different, are we? (And btw you know the Lao Tzu quote is my favorite.)

    1. Thanks, Bobbi! And, no, we're not really that different. Our needs tend to be the same, how we voice them seems to be different though, doesn't it?

      That Lao Tzu quote may or may not have come from your site… No, it definitely did! =)

      I would love to be featured on your blog. Much thanks, dear!

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