Can you still retain emotional balance while falling in love?

by Paul Goodchild on June 27, 2014

Let’s be fair, we all know that to “find happiness/contentment/balance”, we must look within ourselves.

You know that already, right?

Well I’m going to assume that you do… and if you don’t, give this a read from Leo.

My question is, based off my experience in the last 6 months, and after reading this random article from Leo Babauta today, ¿can we actually fall in love and still retain our emotional balance?

When I started the article, I felt ‘no’ was the answer, now I’m not so sure …

First, for fun, let’s get clear on emotional imbalance

It’s easier to define “emotional balance” based on what it’s like to not have it. Today that’s easy, because I know I’m not balanced at all.

Emotional balance, when you don’t have it, is like a falling leaf in the wind.

As that leaf, when the wind blows south, you go south.  If it blows towards the east, then you guessed it, you go east.

How you feel from one moment to the next is dependent upon your environment and any external factors that touch you.

If someone is nasty to you, you absorb it, you internalize it, and it negatively affects how you feel in that moment (and probably for a while afterwards). You’ll begin to interpret the world around you more negatively, and assign not-so-positive meaning on subsequent events.

If someone is nice to you out of the blue, it feels great… you feel the love, you bask in it, you let it lift you up and you feel wonderful.  You have a skip in your step for the rest of the day and it’s hard to find fault in any one or anything.

This is emotional imbalance.

How you feel, how you feel about yourself, about your life, about other people, and about events that happen to and around you, is not under your control whatsoever.

These feelings aren’t based on any real truths; they aren’t the result of conclusive, in-depth analyses.

Your feelings arise solely from the meaning you place upon events, and so you’re completely imbalanced because external events are always outside of your control.

So what does emotional balance look like?

Extending the analogy of the “leaf”, emotional balance would be the tree.  Sure, the wind still blows, but you don’t actually move from where you are.

You remain. You don’t get flipped left and right, upside down and inside-out each time a gust of life hits you.

You sway.  You bend.

You accept and submit to the wind, not because you have no choice, but because you can.

You allow yourself to be gently pushed where the wind blows but you always return to your centre.  You return to who you are.

Sometimes though, hurricanes can come; they rip up your roots and you’re forced to re-centre yourself.

Today, I’m not a tree.

Why am I not a tree?

I fell in love.

That’s not why I’m not a tree.

I’m not a tree because I assigned an inaccurate meanings to the results of that event.

How you and I feel from 1 day to the next isn’t based on what happens in our lives.

It is based on the meaning that we assign to those events.

You can change how you feel about something instantly, when you assign different… more positive meanings.

Normally hindsight helps with this, but if you can guess what the possible upsides are before they happen, you’re one step ahead of the game.  Let’s take a contrived, yet real-life example:

In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst it’s messy insides all over my Computer Science degree. My 1-year work-experience contract in Belfast fell through just weeks before I was set to start.

I was gutted. I’d had this contract signed and sealed from the beginning of the year!

Now I was forced to look around for other options.  There was 1… in Dublin.  I’d have to move to Dublin for a year. I’d never lived, or contemplated living, outside of Belfast in my life. (believe it or not!)

I applied, and I got it. In that year I made some of the best friendships of my life, which then led me to Japan. I lived there for 6 years and had the most amazing time of my life.

Cause and effect.

In one moment, I could only see what I had lost when that work experience position fell through. I couldn’t possibly have seen the life that stretched before me as a result.

The meanings we place on events is often incredibly short-sighted.

But we can’t predict the future! You’ll say…

And I’ll say exactly! We can’t! So why are you assigning such a negative meaning to events? How do you know what that turn of events actually means?

What if, instead of immediately choosing a negative interpretation, you could choose the meaning, a positive meaning…?

Guess what?  You can!

So you can choose your meanings…

And I didn’t.

Well I did, but I didn’t do it consciously, and I let negative interpretations fill the space.  I choose the life of the leaf and lost my balance.

But is it possible to fall in-love and still retain emotional balance?

I feel yes, though I haven’t achieved it this time around.

As I’ve written this article, it’s helped bring my mind to a clearer resolution about re-establishing my emotional imbalance.

The problem is I fell in-love with a girl. It wasn’t reciprocated, and that shit just plain hurts. It hurts because the meanings I assigned to it were unrealistic.

Not only that, I needed, need, to be a ‘tree’. I need to improve how I assign meaning to events so that they strengthen me, rather than send me to down spirals of negative thoughts.  Example?

Since you asked… I have placed a lot of personal significance on the outcome of this relationship. I have equated its failure as a reflection of something lacking within who I am. It’s essentially like saying:

If this girl doesn’t love me back, it’s because of something I’ve done wrong, or that I lack.

When in-fact, the better meaning to assign here is that this person’s inability to either see who I am or to value it sufficiently enough to want it, signifies that it’s the wrong person for me.  Just as I don’t need to be convinced to love her, she shouldn’t need convincing to love me.

It is either there, or it isn’t.  There is no wrong or right about it.

It just is.

And as another special girl has told me repeatedly, I’m awesome. I just gotta wait until I fall in-love with a girl that gets it!

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