Do you freak out if your best girlfriend doesn’t call you back twelve minutes after you called her? Do you labor over the exact wording of the text you send her to ask if she wants to go to a movie? Do you lose sleep thanks to the voices in your head recounting every spoken word of your most recent conversation – trying to see if you said something wrong?
If you substituted your best friend for your romantic interest in these scenarios, would the answers be different?
We spend a lot of time trying to analyze and decode the behavior of someone in whom we’re romantically interested. But why? And how can we stop? Judd Apatow has some insight. Really.
Plain and simple – we want to be loved. We want to find our way back to love, as though it was something that we lost somewhere along the line. And we very well may have. When we were born, we were beings of love. And all the fear we’ve accumulated along the way blocks us from accessing that pure love. So, perhaps, by raking into every interaction trying to get to the bottom of the intentions behind another person’s words and actions, we’re trying to access love. But it’s just not going to happen that way.
The from A Course in Miracles (not Judd Apatow, we’re not there yet, but stick with me.) advice is to bring your relationships, romantic and platonic, into better balance. Take your romantic partners off their pedestal, and raise the vibe in your friendships to something resembling fiery romance. You’ll maximize your opportunities to access love in your relationships and you’ll be less likely to go to that desperate analytical place. Most importantly, recognize that love lives inside you – and always has, whether you’re in a relationship or not.
Believe it or not, Judd Apatow touched on both these in unexpected films.
In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, we might recall the character Jay tells Andy (Steve Carell) the reason why he hasn’t closed the deal is because he’s putting the p***y on a pedestal. When we make idols of our romantic partners, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. When we’re faced with that idol on his or her pedestal, we seize up, we’re not ourselves, we don’t move with ease and we invariably sabotage the whole thing. So, align yourself with love, and seek a balance of emotion associated with romance and friendship. You can get the same jolt of positive energy from both. Andy eventually lets go, pulls Catherine Keener off the pedestal and elevates his relationship new-found friends (and even some old ones – his neighbors) to something more rewarding. He eventually closes the deal thanks to some honesty prompted by a flight through a truck-mounted billboard. And they perform The Age of Aquarius together at the end!
In Funny People, when everything falls apart between George Simmons (Adam Sandler) and Ira (Seth Rogen) and George and Laura (Leslie Mann), Ira and George are driving back to LA. Ira angrily tells George he’ll never be happy and in love because he’d always still have to be around himself and he’s miserable. He’d lost himself somewhere along the way – and going back to try to resurrect an old love wasn’t going to help him find the love that had been displaced by fear all those years ago. Until he got over himself, and dealt with his fears, he’d emotionally repel anyone he wanted to get close to.
So, raise up the love in your platonic friendship and balance the love in your romantic relationships. And remember, love exists inside you. It’s just covered by fear. So, you don’t need to search, grasp and pray for it. It’s already there. Just clear the gunk. And find it.