And In The Beginning, There Were No Judgments

The act of writing is deeply personal. The words flow from the writer’s head, placed on paper or typed on a screen, only to be held close to the writer’s heart for fear of societal judgment of their most personal thoughts. If a reader studies the works of an author, they can see into the writer’s soul, exposing good and bad. And typically, writers don’t want to be judged; they wish to create or share, to teach others or heal themselves.

The author of A Million Little Pieces wrote about his personal experiences in a riveting book, only to be crucified when it was discovered that some of the stories were expanded beyond his experiences into a fictional realm. So a writer must take care to hold themselves close in their writing. Don’t expose much, don’t expand the stories to seem likable, don’t reveal the multifaceted factors of a person’s character that cause the person to go from a likable character to a relatable character. People are drawn to Melanie Hamilton and appalled with Scarlett O’Hara because identifying with Scarlett forces the reader to identify characteristics of their own that are unlikable.

In writing about personal experiences, a writer will water down the relatable characteristics to seem more likable, to escape persecution of their wrong doings. But what if an autobiographical author told the truth? Could a reader grow to like the unlikable character and accept that everyone, including themselves, is completely flawed? Or will they close the book and judge the writer as they ready themselves to commit their own flawed acts?

All You Need Is Love…Conditionally

People say true love is unconditional. Take a look at the traditional marriage vows of the Protestant faith:

“…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”

In other words, nothing can change our love: it is unconditional, aka without conditions.

And that’s a crock of shit. Love, at least the love you think you have with your significant other, is always conditional.

Think about it. There are conditions placed on all relationships in order to remain a part of that relationship. Conditions are not inherently bad, so don’t get it twisted. Personally, I am a fan of conditions like respectful communication and honesty. When people enter a relationship (marriage, friendship, a long term commitment, or even familial relationships), they place expectations on the relationship, and are generally happy as long as the conditions of the relationship remain the same.

Think of the relationships around you. When did they start going sour? When did the honeymoon period end? Was it when everyone was still abiding by the conditions originally set forth? When he was still taking out the garbage without being asked and when she was still putting out at least three times a week?

“I’ll love you forever, unless you stop conforming to the ideals we set in place two decades ago.” 

No, the conditions within the relationship changed, expectations were no longer met, the honeymoon period ended, and suddenly everyone hops off the happy train. And this leads to the next topic of conversation between people in relationships:

“I love you but I’m not IN love with you.” Or “we just aren’t going down the same path in life.”

Someone “falls out of love” and people leave the relationship. So to be in love, both people in the relationship must remain within the conditions of the original relationship, following expectations of actions and reactions that were set forth at the beginning. Most couples, because of these conditions, remain quiet about their wants/needs/desires; because they think that differing the expectations of the relationship will cause a disruption of their perfect relationship. Because of this fear, people stop being true to themselves and become miserably trapped (and in some cases, die unhappy).

WHAT IF THERE WAS A DIFFERENT WAY?!

People in relationships could keep open and honest communication about their expectations, be adults about what is needed and desired within the relationship, and grow together in their love and acceptance of the people within the relationship.

Sounds simple, right?

So why don’t people do this? Why do they hold onto outdated expectations, continuing to hold someone to outdated conditions that only cause misery and eventually a forced falling out of “unconditional love”? If someone truly believes they love someone unconditionally, then there shouldn’t be a condition that breaks their love. THAT IS WHAT UNCONDITIONAL MEANS.

Do you love them conditionally or unconditionally? Is there anything that they can do that can cause you to stop loving them (and I freaking mean anything)?

If someone enters a relationship, they should be upfront and honest about their expectations and their conditions, and continue to communicate these as they change, because they will. Communication and honesty should remain at the forefront of every relationship, hard discussions must take place, and compromises must be made. Couples should stop living in outdated and miserable conditions within their relationships because they are too scared to do the hard work it takes to remain honest with themselves and their partners about what they want/need/desire. And when someone tries to communicate with you about your relationship with them, shut up and listen to what they are saying. Relationships are work, and conditions are ever changing.

-Volo ut sis-