Recently, I’ve heard several people say that you can’t help who you fall in love with and while I basically agree with that sentiment, I am not convinced that we should always take action when we feel love for someone. When you fall in love you generally experience feelings of happiness, but what if your happiness generates unhappiness in others that you love and care about? When is it morally and emotionally o.k. to focus on your own personal happiness and throw the feelings of others to the wind? I recall falling in love with someone who had been a great support for me after the premature death of my first husband. He was a co-worker, a friend, and confident, and he was married. I was only vaguely acquainted with his wife but I was well acquainted with the dreams that they had built together and the challenges they faced after the novelty of their courtship and large wedding had worn away. I was newly widowed, vulnerable, and wanting to know that someone else would eventually want to share their life with me. It would have been easy to give into the subtle suggestions, the quiet whisperings, or the comforting touches – but it was not the right thing to do and so I did not. I’ve never thought that it made me unique or special, just in-tune with my need to respect other human beings. In that moment, I would have made myself really happy – or would I have? Could I have achieved a solid and true sense of happiness while knowing that falling victim to my own immediate needs would hurt someone else? Is anyone who follows that path capable of true contentment and joy? When we seek satisfaction of our own happiness over the creation of misery in others is long-term happiness possible?
The other side of this is well argued too. If I am not happy, am I indirectly hurting those others? Do I lash out; am I cruel, or self-indulgent? Am I to sacrifice a sense of personal gratification for the benefit of others and does that not make me some type of victim? I know a lot of people who follow the path of obtaining a sense of personal happiness without regard to the pain and suffering that lies along the trail of that journey. Many of them are labeled with –aholic after some preceding noun; work, alcohol, sex, drug, etc.
Does the pursuit of those we fall in love with regardless of the circumstances generate true happiness? Sometimes – maybe. More likely, true happiness comes from the sense of self respect you obtain when you consider the big picture; the greater good and act unselfishly. Loving yourself is reflected in nothing but positive ways and will eventually lead you to situations where falling in love becomes a win-win scenario all around.