Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You’re So Damn(ed) Sensitive!

Wearing A Heart of Thorns
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate
Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here
Dante Alighieri, The Inferno, Canto III, line 9

You’re So Damn(ed) Sensitive!
New York City, February 4, 2009:

Why do we become more sensitive as we delve deeper into love?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately because I wanted to understand the human inclination to get angry, jealous or annoyed with those we love, more so than those we merely like.

I find it particularly unsettling whenever I react negatively or emotionally to a joke that someone I love makes, one which once would have made me laugh, but now only piques me the wrong way. In my head, I know it is “only a joke,” but in my heart it feels heavier somehow.

What bothers me even more about my reaction is that I know very well that the same joke told by someone else I may merely like, might actually make me like that person even more.

While contemplating this phenomenon, it occurred to me why we tend to err in ways that seem contrary to what they should be. For I realized that once we learn to love someone dearly and deeply we also tend to host hopes of a future with them, and thus we invest our feelings, time, resources, creativity, thoughts, hope and dreams in them. As a result, we endow our relationship with meaning; we make our relationship more meaningful and more valuable with the investment of all these things. In turn, the smallest things begin to mean a lot more than they would otherwise mean with others less significant to us.

We get so wrapped up in our willingness to place all our eggs in one basket, that if an egg cracks or even moves slightly, we sometimes become alarmed that our ideal gathering of life and love into one person is being changed or challenged in a way that disturbs our status quo of sentiment somehow.

In comparison, when we deal with colleagues, distant relatives, good friends we barely see, or people we are merely dating and “trying out for size,” we are less likely to be riled by the small stuff, we brush off the pieces of lint and immediately forget about the fluff, because we know that our interactions are infrequent enough and our investment in them so insignificant that their potentially offensive opinions, thoughts, words and actions mean a lot less to us than those we’ve chosen to love completely.

It is quite amusing to think that ideally we should be giving our loved ones the most leeway instead, that we should let them make us laugh more than others, especially since, quite often, this is one of the very reasons we often come to love them so much in the first place.

Alas, there is no real logic to love, for love does not abide by the rules of reason. For as much as we sincerely want those we love to be free and uninhibited to be who they are, true love is also unreasonable and possessive—and it wants everything to be and remain as perfect as we have come to see them.

Love demands perfection especially when you’ve decided to give it your all; especially when you’ve made sacrifices that you wouldn’t otherwise make for others; especially when you envision a future with this person.

Hence, the quips and quirks of falling in love tend to become the barbs and brambles of the relationship over time. Hence, little jokes prick like thorns sometimes, even if they weren’t meant to, even if a year ago the gibe and attention would have made you feel more wanted somehow.

Alas, love is stupid that way.

Yet, in a very beautiful way, it is also much smarter than reason will ever be.

Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point.
Love has its reasons, which reason cannot understand.

Blaise Pascal

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