Here are some words of wisdom: there is no such thing as the perfect relationship. Yet many of us are holding out for it. Many grow up believing that they’ll someday find their perfect match, and walk off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Unfortunately, when that happy ending doesn’t seem to be in the cards, disappointment sets in. But whereas a pessimist would see failed relationships and wasted time, an optimist—or, more aptly, a “love optimist”—would see learning experiences. A whole bunch of learning experiences.
To the love optimist, failed relationships don’t exist. There are only opportunities to becomes stronger, to grow more adept at this love thing, and to gain wisdom of the romantic variety. That way, when Mr. or Ms. Right does come along, those Mr. and Ms. Almost-But-Not-Quites will have been the ones who have prepared us to recognize and embrace that true “happily ever after” when it comes.
Here are some more words of wisdom: be a love optimist.
“You come to live not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen, philosopher
Re-Framing the Notion of Failure
The term “failed relationship” is a huge misconception. We tend to label every relationship that doesn’t work out as a failed relationship. But what do we actually mean when we say our relationship has failed? To embrace the optimistic side of love, it’s necessary to re-frame the notion of failure.
When we begin talking to a new person, we don’t set any specific goal aside from getting to know the other person better. We also don’t jump into a relationship believing we are going to spend the rest of our life with that person. Therefore, claiming that a relationship has failed when we and our partners have gone separate ways seems entirely incorrect. What have we failed at when our relationship doesn’t work? The only thing we’ve failed at is staying with someone who is probably more incompatible than compatible.
By re-framing the notion of failure, we can see that true failure would’ve been staying in the relationship well beyond its expiration date.
This, by the way, is love optimism at its best.
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson, British poet
The Glass Isn’t Half-Empty, It’s Half-Full—Of Love!
No matter how you spin it, having your heart broken stinks. But putting your heart on the line, and investing time and effort in another person, are part of the investment of a relationship— and investments can be risky. However, as anyone who’s ever played the stock market will tell you, the riskiest investments are the ones that can yield the greatest potential returns.
With that in mind, the love optimist we’ll see that the glass isn’t half-empty. It’s actually half-full of love, and every failure to walk off into the sunset with someone actually holds more value as a lesson learned. While the end of a relationship is never easy, we always come out of our relationships stronger and more independent than when we entered, whether we realize it or not.
“Love is being stupid together.” – Paul Valery, French poet, and philosopher
Feeling down at the end of a relationship is often inevitable. But the greatest thing we can do for ourselves is to realize how amazing we are and think about how we can rebuild ourselves to be even stronger than before. A true love optimist will see the positive side, will consider the lessons learned and strength gained. Because at the end of the day, when it comes to love lost, there is a positive side, lessons learned and real strength gained.
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche may have been the type of person who you would’ve wanted to avoid at parties (because he was a total downer), but he had this to say about love: “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
Ah, the words of a true love optimist!