our meals were served at least 10 minutes after ordering. impressive, i thought. but you say: “it’s too fast for my liking.” true enough, it tasted mediocre; like it was not quite there yet. but it was enough to satisfy an empty stomach.
it made me ponder about the value of patience and reminded me of how great things take time but will always worth the wait in all aspects of life.
that sometimes, we need the time and space to be broken and healed to be stronger, or more ‘tender’; for the all the right ‘ingredients’ in our lives to settle in the right places so that we can be deeply and truly satisfied with what we eventually get for ourselves in aspects such as our career, or from others in love, family or friendships.
so that it won’t just be a fleeting satisfaction, enough to satiate an impending need or want. but an enough that sustains. an enough that happens for all the right reasons. an enough that is more than what we have expected.
“the conclusion is: you’ve been alone for a long time,” she said. “and while anxiety seemed like the enemy, she was a friend to tell you the truth and address what you really need.”
i teared upon finding out what has been the byproduct of the series of life events for the past 23 years of my existence.
“tell me, if anxiety was your friend, what do you think is she telling you? complete this sentence for me: anxiety is telling me that ______________,” she asked.
“connection and company,” i continued.
i am surprised how fast that underlying need was elicited.
that was hard for me to digest. i thought i was strong and independent but i also console myself that i am human enough to have such a need to be fulfilled.
I woke up to a deafening silence. “They have given up. They left.”
I close my tearing eyes, repeating: “This isn’t real, this isn’t real.” But I wake up to the same setting with a chest so heavy, the kind where you are barely even breathing.
And I wonder which is better to be in – a sleeping or waking state?
And I wonder: “How can emptiness feel so heavy, so palpable?”
I pray for the person whom I can say: “Thank you for walking in with an umbrella but most importantly, teaching me how to dance under the rain. Thank you for daring to sail on my unpredictable and crazy currents, never going against but with its flow. Thank you for making me remember how to breathe and not drown in my storm. Thank you for journeying and assuring me that you will always be next to me- near or far. Thank you for proving and showing me how it is like to entrust your entire being to someone without breaking it, considering all my doubt and difficulty in trusting others. Most of all, thank you for choosing the best and worst of me and for making me embrace life when I felt that the only option was to give it up.” to.
Intimacy acts as one of the many of the building blocks but never a strong foundation for a relationship. It all starts with honesty.
– hungry cranium lectures
Gone are the days of reading sappy love stories by Nicholas Sparks or , or watching delusional romantic films. Alain de Botton gives a more realistic and pragmatic insight to love and marriage (too early to be reading on that at 23).
What got me to buy this book was reading one of Alain’s opinion pieces on The New York Times which got me thinking on what our beliefs are about romantic relationships. He asserts that we rely too much on the idea that we will marry the ‘perfect’ and ‘right’ person but what is important is to have one who ‘can negotiate differences in taste with intelligence and good grace’, which this book sums up through the ups and downs in the marriage of Kirsten and Rabih.
Being a psychology graduate who is deeply interested in human behavior (particularly the areas of will and volition), I particularly loved the psychological and philosophy of mind references made in this book. No heavy psychological and philosophical jargon here, not to worry, non-Psych students!
It made me understand why partners react in certain ways and how we can better respond to that – which is ultimately, to continually love and understand because we are molded by the past experiences, particularly attachments in childhood, we go through as we age. It’s a book that taught me not to be quick to judge but think:”maybe he is behaving this way because of reason xyz.”
I also liked how the book was structured. While I do appreciate continuous storytelling, this book has a good mix and balance of narration with some of Alain’s personal insight in between his narration. Something similar to an essay but not completely monotonous.
I feel that this book doesn’t only teach you about being a better partner but a better person in general – to be more patient and understanding of others’ behavior.
Overall, I feel that the title and story is not only a course that teaches you the skill of love but encapsulates the sweet and harsh realities of its course.