One option is to fantasize about a future where he does love you back — a future in which he realizes how wonderful you are, and eventually asks for your hand in marriage. But it’s only too obvious how much suffering this causes. The present and the future aren’t in alignment, and nothing you do will bring them closer together. You’re powerless.
The second option is to run away. Unfriend him. Unfollow him. Ignore his texts. Ignore him in person. You think you’re making him suffer, but you’re only making yourself suffer. Running away never works in the long run.
The third option is usually the best one: be kind to him anyways, even if it’s painful. Be present to your pain, and maybe a new door will open — a door that releases more kindness and love in you than you knew you were capable of.
Lines from T.S. Eliot’s East Coker seem appropriate:
“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
The irony, of course, is that the faster your pursuit, the more elusive happiness becomes. You can never catch your own shadow.
The founding father of Western psychology, Williams James, said it well: “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of the judgement, character, and will.”
Dancer and choreographer Martha Graham put it this way: “All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment vital and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed.”
Further back, the 15th-century Indian poet, Kabir:
“Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.”
Maybe this moment is perfect, just as it is.
You could shop at Wal-Mart, Target, or Home Goods for decorations. You could shop on Amazon. But would any of those places miss you if you left? Do they care about you?
Society6 is an online community of independent artists selling their work — everything from art prints to throw blankets to phone cases. Every purchase directly supports an artist or charity.
Yes, it’s more expensive.
No, it’s not silly to think carefully about what you do with your money.
The reason is simple — Snapchat added Snap Map so that you’ll use Snapchat more often.
If you use Snapchat more often, you’re more likely to see the advertisements that will eventually be embedded into the map. More advertisements seen means more profit for the company. More profit isn’t bad, but it’s worth pointing out that it is the primary motivation for companies to add new features to social media apps. Your well-being is a secondary concern.
Every tech company in Silicon Valley is at war for your attention. Your attention is your most precious resource, directly determining your well-being.
Be less concerned with stalking. Be more concerned with what you do with your attention.
Understand that swiping isn’t about you at all. In fact, for many of us, swiping right can only lead to more pain.
The legendary Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh explains in his book, How to Love:
“Often, we get crushes on others not because we truly love and understand them, but to distract ourselves from our suffering. When we learn to love and understand ourselves and have compassion for ourselves, then we can truly love and understand another person.
Sometimes we feel empty, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause, it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. Because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty.
So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself. Learn to practice mindfulness in such a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment. Then you have something to offer the other person.”
You could complement her on all the weight she lost, but you might not know that she’s suffering from major depression. It’s not uncommon for a depressed person to lose twenty pounds in a matter of weeks.
You could complement him on the muscle he gained, but you’d also be reinforcing the harmful stereotype that to be a man is to look a certain way. What happens as he ages and inevitably starts losing muscle?
It’s probably best to avoid commenting on how someone looks altogether. A better question might be, “how are you doing today?” Then listen.
Maybe then, over time, the person will want to talk about how she looks. Maybe much more.
1. The normal way: rent, utilities, cell phone bills, car payments, beer, and Starbucks Frappuccinos.
2. Long-term goals: college tuition, opening a retirement account, saving for a down-payment on a house, planning a vacation.
3. Giving: giving money away to a person or organization that really needs it.
We tend to spend our money in this order, 1-2-3. Ironically, personal happiness tends to come from spending money in exactly the opposite order.