I recently read a post on the internet that clear kicked me out of childhood.
At first, I was devastated. Then, I remembered what I was like at 16, and cringed. Why. Why do we think that the warm, tingly feelings someone gives us, excuses us from rhyme and reasonable behavior? When did, “I love him” become a legitimate excuse to turn your brain off?
Let me burst your Disney animated bubble: Love is not always exempt from logic. Life is not a rom-com, and you do not have to make a move on everyone you’re attracted to.
In fact, you probably shouldn’t.
Often times, our impulse is to act on our feelings in order to validate them. But one of the great gifts of humanity is logical thought. It’s an immature practice to act on every impulse. We are not subservient to our feelings and emotions, and we are not animals who must indulge in every urge. In other words, you don’t have to scratch every itch.
Culture would say that if you deny yourself, your urges, you are being inauthentic. In order to be true to yourself, you must fulfill every desire, chase every dream, and do whatever makes you happy. Happiness then, is elevated beyond a feeling and is equated with fulfillment. Finding fulfillment in a feeling is dangerous, because feelings are fickle and fleeting.
Attraction is a feeling. It’s not some looming, cosmic, outside force pressing itself upon you, bidding you to obey it’s demands. Attraction is chemical. Hormonal. It is as natural an urge as hunger, or thirst. Like any other feeling, it must be kept under mindful control. Drinking bleach is a death sentence. Being really, really thirsty doesn’t change that.
In the same way… blindly pursuing a relationship that wisdom would advise you to avoid is likely to end in heartache. Being really, really “in love” doesn’t change that. Experience (yours and others), understanding and self-control keeps us alive and well. This applies to what we allow into our hearts, as much as it does to what we put in our mouths.
Attraction is also emotional. This feels good. There’s this myth circling, perpetuated by consumerism, that when we are attracted to someone we must act now, or lose our chance forever. “Move now on this limited time offer!” It’s so easy to give in to the waves of emotion; to get swept up and swept away in the excitement. But what happens when the tide recedes; when the flood waters return and you’re left picking up the shattered pieces of an unthought out romance?
As much as it pains my girlish heart to disagree with Ariel and those like her, time has shown me that living by impulse is less romantic than it is reckless. And quite dangerous.
I propose a change in the paradigm. Sure. The idea of a love at first sight, “I can’t live without you,” whirlwind romance is sexy. But better than that, is finding someone with the strength to have restraint. It’s so much better to be ready, and be someone’s conscious and consistent choice, instead of their current whim.
This is not an anti-dating blog. It’s not even a blog about dating.
This is just a friendly reminder that you don’t have to go for everyone you’re attracted to.
(Shout out to Sam C. for planting a seed.)