Brighter Than Sunflowers

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I met an absolutely amazing person last weekend, while travelling. Unfortunately, we live in different countries, and were in the same city only briefly. So not only was there no real possibility of a relationship, it’s uncertain if and when I’ll see him again. The tone of our conversation was optimistic, but without commitment. It does (now) feel likely I will see him again, and that it’s only a question of when—but it didn’t feel that way when I said goodbye. And that was because of a story.

Despite the actual open-ended nature of the way we were leaving things, I decided it would be better for me if I told myself I wasn’t going to see him again. I was trying to take a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” approach, to avoid disappointment, but in doing so, I neglected the hope part. With each passing moment, as it got closer to saying goodbye, with each little thing I was enjoying about this person, I told myself it was the last time I would get to experience that particular thing. And boy, did my clever storytelling ever fuck me up. There were many tears. (An entire box of tissues was sacrificed to the cause.)

The next day, I had a long talk with S. One of the amazing things about S is his ability to clearly see right to the heart of a matter (at least when it doesn’t involve him) and both provide sharp insights on the truth of a situation and point out whichever of my own cognitive errors are getting in the way of seeing or handling the situation effectively. In other words, he is good at being an exceptionally gentle and compassionate bullshit meter. It was S who pointed out that my emotional response was entirely due to my own story, and not to the actual situation—which was actually pretty awesome, and not at all a cause for tears.

I had turned “expect nothing” into an expectation of nothing. And therein lay all the difference.

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