I hate onions – I always have, since when I was a little girl. My Mom and my Grandma did everything they could think of to make me eat them. They told me stories about how healthy and good for you the vegetable is and that everyone loves it. They tried to deceive me cutting onions into very small pieces before adding them into food – but you can’t hide the smell, can you? They even tried to use force – well you know how it is, you are not leaving this table till you eat that soup, or you are not getting any sweets till you finish your meal – no way! Meals were rejected if I smelled the slightest trace of onions in the food. Much later, when I was already a grown up person, I found out that one can be allergic to onions. I sighed with relief and immediately decided that that’s what the matter with me is. Since that day I don’t care if the whole world loves onions – I’m NOT eating them.
But it is not my diet particulars that I’m going to write about. Far too often we are forced to do not what we want to do, but what is expected of us by somebody else. Public opinion dictates the course of action that we have to take – or sometimes even the course of thoughts that we must think. Or else, people who claim they love us take it into their heads that their love gives them right to decide for us what is going to do us good or tell us what to do – same way as my Mom and Grandma tried to make me eat onions because they thought this vegetable is going to be good for me.
But the trouble is that what’s good for everybody else may not necessarily be good for you – those onions which lots of people love make me sick if I eat them. Same applies to more fundamental matters. Nobody knows better than you what is going to be good for you, that’s why you shouldn’t care too much what other people expect of you and you should feel free to make your own decisions and take your own course of action even if you know somebody will disapprove and criticize it. Please don’t misunderstand me: doing what you want has nothing to do with anarchy or permissiveness. There are certain rules, laws and commandments imposed on us by society that we MUST observe, like, don’t steal, be kind to your neighbor, take care of your family and a lot of others.
What I mean is different: some people (usually they are selfish, emotionally immature and over-ambitious) create a certain mental Image of what a person they love must be, and they try their best to squeeze you into the narrow frames of that mental image – instead of expanding it to fit the real person they love, or better still, throw it away completely – because any human being is unique and much more versatile and colorful than a mental image. They may use direct force, like, telling you directly that you have to do this and that, or they may try to blackmail you – well you know how it can be: if you really love me, you will do it for me. Or else, they try to bargain: I did this and that for you, now it’s your turn to do what I want of you. But the essence of all their ways is the same: they want you to be what THEY want you to be, and they want you to do what THEY want of you, and they don’t care much if that is what YOU want.
They may sound very convincing or very oppressive, and a weak and faint-hearted person who feels dependent on those they love may decide that he or she has no choice other than do as they are told, or be too scared to fall short of somebody’s expectations. But the problem is that even if you give in and forget your own aspirations and desires in favour of somebody else’, it will not do you any good. You will soon feel frustrated and suffocated living somebody else’s life which is not your own, faking interest in things which you don’t really care for or doing something that you hate doing. Or else, the very person who forced you to change to meet their expectations will feel cheated and disappointed, because what they see next to them is not a live and bright person – you, but a bleak and blind copy of their own mental image…
The truth about love and maturity is that a mature person loves you for what you are, with all your merits and faults. They love the real YOU, not their own mental image of what you SHOULD be, and they grant you the ultimate freedom to be yourself. “Wail!” – someone may cry, what if there’s something I don’t like about the person I love? Two options: you either talk to him or her to try to explain what and why you do not like. Any change only comes from within, and you can’t really force any other person to change –even if that person loves you. But if they really love you, they may decide to compromise and change some of their ways just for you to feel happy. The other option is that YOU change your way of thinking, compromise and simply accept your chosen one the way they are. I don’t remember who it was who said: true love means that you clearly see how imperfect the one you love is, but you are ready to put up with it. Mutual love means that they also see how imperfect they are – and are ready to do something about it. True, isn’t it?
Of course there is always the third option which is that if your values and ideas are too different and you can’t accept the ways of thoughts and actions of the person you love, then let them go their own way, and you go your own. And don’t hold any vain hopes and illusions: if you feel you are not quite compatible, you better admit it as soon as possible. There’s little chance it will ever change, so why waste your time and efforts trying to build a relationship which is not going to work anyways?
…When you fall in love with somebody, a whole new world unfolds for you. It is natural that you want to try new things that you may never have thought of trying before – just because your chosen one loves them, or because they want you to try that. Or you may want to do something you have never done before just because you think it’ll make your loved one happy. So try it and do it, and the best of luck to you. But if there is something you feel you can’t do, or you don’t want to do – because you have tried it before and you know it is not going to work for you, or because it goes against your deep inner nature or some of your fundamental believes and convictions – or because you simply don’t like it – you don’t have to do it. If he or she truly loves you, they will understand. You don’t have to eat onions – unless you love them.
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