Friday, April 16, 2010

Drunk On Love

People will do insane things under the influence...the influence of infatuation. Many marriages, relationships, jobs, grades, etc. have been destroyed by infatuation. I say infatuation because I really believe that love is something entirely different from what most people, or maybe just our society in general, thinks it is.
And boy, does our society put infatuation on a pedestal. It's ok to leave your spouse because you don't love them anymore and are infatuated with someone else. Really, its ok for anyone to "fall in love" with anyone else no matter who they are (age, sex, race, status, etc.). In fact, where is the romantic adventure in our lives if we don't fall in love with someone unlikely or inappropriate? Isn't that what most of those great romantic comedies we watch are about? Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for cultural and societal barriers being broken down in a way that unifies people by common experiences and emotions that cross all cultures. What I'm not for, is allowing a feeling of infatuation to control your actions so much that you end up hurting a lot of people for no good reason.
I once spent an entire semester goofing off in a class taught by my favorite professor, all because my boyfriend was in the same class. I could see my professor losing respect for me, but it didn't phase me. My judgment was completely clouded by infatuation. I have seriously hurt friendships by putting a boyfriend of a few months above friends I've had for years. For some reason, this is all ok if its done in the name of love.
Sure, being infatuated with someone is exciting. It just plain feels good to be around that person and to have those feelings reciprocated. But I think for a lot of people, me included, it can start to control our lives and cause us to make really stupid decisions. Basically, we put that feeling above anything and everything else in our lives. And I say feeling, because many times its not even the relationship or person we are putting above others, but the feeling the relationship gives us. Our spouse, children, friends, work, dreams and goals, and relationship with God get pushed to the background and people get hurt, ourselves included.
We become drunk with infatuation. It really is like a mind-altering drug that feels great for a short time but causes us to do stupid things. And the problem is that when we are in that state, we won't listen to reason. We can't see that what we are doing is wrong. Sometimes we can't even tell that we are hurting others. Many times, infatuation does lead to love, so in our eyes its all worth it.
So what is the difference between infatuation and love? Love is this amazingly powerful thing that gives us purpose and meaning. Its a unity or bond with another person that is so strong that to end it feels as if you've literally been ripped in half, even if its done gradually. Infatuation can lead to love, but by itself is just a shadow of this. It feels like love, but there is no substance to back it up. Love is built by a lot of time, sacrifice, and hard work. It is something that you choose to do, day after day. It's so much more than the exciting feelings of being attracted to someone and getting to know them. You actually become a part of each other, and learn to put that person above yourself even after the initial excitement wears off.
So how can people learn to be more sensible when it comes to infatuation? If we convince ourselves of these things before the next time we are infatuated, will we be able to recognize it for what it really is? Are there people out there that can exercise self-control? 

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