To truly be in relationship is a difficult thing. Our greatest desire is to be connected and intimate with someone and so, consequently, our greatest fear is that will not happen. This fear plays out in the many ways we throw up defenses that prevent intimacy from occurring. Why do we do that? Because we are afraid of rejection, abandonment, not getting the relationship we desire. Even when we have what seems like opportunity for intimacy, we protect ourselves from it to avoid risk. The risk is requisite to trust. Even in what we would call close relationships with trusted people, we activate defenses which prevent us from connecting.
In order to love and accept our life and those around us as they are, we must learn to grieve what we thought they would be. Without doing that, we will always love our ideals more than we love the actual thing. This does not mean we have to stop wishing for things, for hope is a good thing. In fact, if we do not do this sort of grieving, we will not be able to hope. We will only have depression – the kind that follows when we do not get what we thought we should have. Everyone goes through this kind of disillusionment – mostly in our adulthood (there is a normal developmental idealism that carries us through our youth). Our marriages, our careers and our lives in general undergo this disillusionment and it is totally normal! Maturity is the consistent “surrendering” of our ideals to attempt to love what is, rather than what we hoped would be. Again, the hope is good. Our demands for what we hope are what are dangerous.