I find it so hard not to love certain people and expect something from them on birthdays and such. No matter how hard I try not to expect anything, I can’t repress my hope for some tangible expression of affection. My mother has been deceased now for over 2 years. She told me not to expect anything from anyone, and then I would never be disappointed. I get emotional on my birthday and during the holidays feeling sorry for myself. I find that self-pity makes me angry, but acts of love and compassion make me cry.
My youngest daughter’s teacher called me today in love with my child’s performance and behavior. The teacher told me, “you all have done a wonderful job with her.” I returned the compliment because my daughter loves kindergarten and adores her teacher. I broke down in tears of joy when the conversation ended. I felt so validated and proud. I am not sure how anything could compare to hearing those words as a parent. However, I also felt slightly irritated for the warm emotions I experienced. The only reason I could imagine, is that it made me feel vulnerable and weak, or perhaps sad that circumstances prevent me from sharing this positive report with those I felt would care the most and share my joy.
For multiple reasons, I stay emotional lately. I read an article describing PTSD in terms to why we cry during happy endings in movies. Psychology explains that during the conflict and climax of the movie, we are not able to respond to the situation emotionally because of the stress hormones, but once the danger is over, the emotions are released during the happy ending. In life, we sometimes encounter emotionally traumatic experiences. I’ve researched a lot about coping and grief, and I know everyone responds differently to unexpected situations in life. I try to be aware of whether or not I am repressing emotions because I don’t want to become bitter, hard, or cynical. I consider others’ advice, and I examine the outcome of what happens when other people respond in certain ways, thus helping me choose how best to respond myself. The way I see it, you can learn from the “mistakes” of others, or you can learn from your own. I assumed I would experience less heartache by learning from others. I have gotten this far in life with a lot less trauma than some people I’ve met. Still, it seems tragedy is inevitable for us all at some point in our lives.
I am most passionate these days about relationships. I feel satisfied with what I have achieved academically and professionally, and my greatest desire now is to feel successful in my intimate relationships. I wonder what most people consider when making personal goals for their lives. Whether it is officially communicated or not, everyone is driven by something. Perhaps that is why I find psychology so interesting. It involves how and why people make the decisions they do. For it is those decisions that make our lives.
I can’t make people love me, but I often wonder what attracts us to people we want to like us. I think a great majority of people spend large amounts of time trying to control the actions and opinions of others. We all want to be accepted. I’m sure the concept of self-esteem and confidence has a lot to do with how we feel we are perceived by others, especially intimate partners.
I’ve also given a lot of thought to the different types of satisfying relationships one has in life. I am thankful for my relationship with my children, my life partner, and the Almighty, but I cannot describe to you how completing it feels to have a “soulmate friend.” These have been the greatest gifts God could have given me: a loving husband, amazing children, and a best friend (obviously aside from God’s forgiveness and salvation, of course).
In my opinion, all the tragedies of life are, if nothing else, an exciting opportunity to grow closer to another person by opening your heart and mind to share your feelings with another human being. I know many people who consider beloved pets as relatives and best friends. Many report God as being a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I have always held my God in high esteem. I am eternally grateful for the love and mercy He gives, but with all due respect, there is nothing like the physical hugs and contact and supportive conversation with a good friend. I can choose to believe this, too, is a gift from God. It is only after losing such a blessing does a heartbroken soul label her feelings as “stupid.” But as long as I remember that there is a time and reason for all things, I can still manage to find enough self-love and personal forgiveness to patiently wait until I no longer feel irritated about “stupid feelings.”