We fall in love at first sight and refuse to look again. We do that mostly because it’s easy to get lost in perfection, to be charmed by the best version of yourself trying to charm someone else, to convince yourself that you found the fairy tale your inner child craved for, to get intoxicated with the thought of your own potential becoming reality next to someone else’s. It is easy to surrender to the idea that you found the one, and to ignore the parts that might prove you wrong.
We all have that ideal picture in our head about ourselves too. We all want to eat more healthy, work out more, read more books, dedicate more time to what keeps us passionate, invest more in learning new things and overall in crafting better versions of ourselves. But the truth is we are too comfortably infatuated with the idea to actually put in the efforts into making it reality.
The same goes for friendships. All it takes to make a new friend is a common enemy. Or a common life stage. As simple as that, most friendships are also build on ignoring the ugly truths and focusing only on instant gratifications.
But why do most people put in the effort to paint over the ugly parts, instead of dealing with them? Why can’t we see that ignoring the worst in a relationship is probably the reason why that relationship will end? Why can’t we see that the hard parts are what make us grow, just as failures are the foundation of greatness?
Because it is easier to feel intitled. To wait to be saved. To ask God for it.
Because it is hard to look at the person in front of you and talk about the uncomfortable, say the words that get stuck in your throat, ignore the screaming ego inside you, drop the act and admit that we are all flawed: selfish, vain, needy, egocentric, childish, workaholic, players, naive, rude, jealous, insecure, anxious, condescending or judging. Accept that these are all tattoos of our past, inked into our personalities and almost impossible to remove. That they are our best defense mechanisms against getting hurt by the people we care about, because that is how we got them in the first place. We are masters at using them, instinctively, when asking for attention, confirmations, recognition or affection. But we are lousy at recognizing them in others. We call it drama, and we distance ourselves from it. because we are taught to fight fire with fire – instead of trying to put it out, and show the other person they matter enough for us to risk getting burned.
Easy is how you lose people. Settling for the surface instead of searching for what is beneath it. Being comfortable in your own perspective instead of looking for what the other person is seeing. Taking other people’s flaws personally instead of accepting they have nothing to do with you. Giving up at the first sign of trouble instead of searching for a way out of it. Building more walls instead of trying to bring the existing ones down. Rejecting vulnerability instead of admitting that vulnerability is the highest form of strength. Looking the other way, instead of facing what is happening in front of you. Telling people to stop crying instead of asking them how you can fix what’s wrong. Blaming others for your crushed expectations instead of telling them what these were. Pushing people away, instead of admitting you want them closer.
The true measure of any relationship is the amount of effort we are willing to invest in it. Regardless if we are taking about love or friendship, the basic ingredient that will keep either one alive is the same: effort.
They say nothing worth having comes easy. But nothing worth having comes granted either. And keeping it is more difficult than getting it in the first place.