“It was the time when they loved each other best, without hurry or excess, when both were most conscious of and grateful for their incredible victories over adversity. Life would still present them with other mortal trails, of course, but that no longer mattered: they were on the other shore. ” ― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
When your heart has been broken and taped back together far too many times than you’d had the appetite for, the very mention of relationships can start to put a sour taste in your mouth. You cannot imagine going on another date where the topic for conversation is the weather or the latest episode of The Bachelor, cannot deal with flakes unless one’s talking of cereal, have no patience for being ghosted just when you thought everything was going great and definitely do not wish to be benched because hey, there are more fish in the sea! And right when you are tired of the whole dating game and the months of Tinder-ing and Bumble-ing and Coffee Meets Bagel-ing and the ‘why don’t you introduce me’ sagas, you hear that familiar face shout out a consolatory cheer- “stop trying to find love. It will happen when you least expect it”- as if that was gonna cheer you up!
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Funnily enough, it does. It does hold you up in good spirits. At least, for a while. Until the alcohol drowns out your memories of bad dates and failed relationships and your b*tch of a hangover doesn’t allow you to dwell on it. And then, bam- you are back to square one. You decide to take the advice- because, hey, what else can you do- plus, you want to believe in the fact that some mystical force shall just put your Mr.Right in your path, as you drive down to work. It doesn’t happen. You hold out for the time when you are driving back home and still, no luck. Maybe, it takes some real ‘least expecting’ and you try to push the thought to the back of your mind. But the truth is that this singular piece of advice that floods countless relationship advice portals isn’t worth holding on to. Here’s why…
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The ‘stop trying to find love. It will happen when you least expect it’ dictum is just another way of asking you to give up. It is handy excuse to say ‘stop trying and learn to make peace with disappointments and roadblocks.’ It is just a negative rendition of ceasing to have any expectations from anyone, anything or even, life and surrender to that ‘mystical force.’
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On introspection, it dawns on me why this relationship advice has picked up. Its popularity is largely based on the fact that it is EASY! It exhorts one to do NOTHING! And doing nothing is sure, as easy as f*ck. The self-help, relationship advice arena is doling out tonnes of this BS advice and people are gobbling it up because it is convenient. And that’s what’s ruining one’s chances of finding lasting love. Of building a healthy and happy relationship. Of sustaining long-term happiness.
You cannot achieve anything if you do not work towards it. Setting the expectation that something will happen right when you stop working for it is expecting magic to materialize without flicking the wand or doing the trick. The key to finding love is not to sit back and wait for ‘the one’ to magically appear, but to learn from disappointments, take personal accountability and work toward setting things straight.
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You don’t give up on finding success in the professional realm or looking for that ‘perfect job’ that offers just the mix of satisfaction and financial reward to smooth sail through life, right? What makes you think love is any different? The journey to love might involve detours, some regretted shortcuts, some ‘getting lost,’ ‘some adventures you will remember, some that you’d rather forget- but they will all make the journey all the more worthwhile. You will learn to differentiate between everything out there and the one destination you are really rooting for. As disappointing and hurtful as each experience may seem, each one is bringing you a little closer to the end- your ‘forever’- only if you don’t give up.
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And the ‘stop trying to find love. It will happen when you least expect it’ is certainly not getting you there!
Love happens when you accept the whole journey-with the roadblocks, the bumps, the rough weather and everything it entails. If it scares you or makes you uneasy with fear, you know you are on the right path. So, take charge and own the road. It may be the path less traveled but that will make all the difference. You are accountable for your own success, and the only way to find what you are looking for is to get out there and keep looking.
“Look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected.” – Sophocles
Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License