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Newtonian Principles of the Heart

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"Pain: give yourself a name! Call yourself contrition, avarice, or blame." (Switchfoot, "Daisy," Nothing Is Sound)

Or, call yourself Love. Interesting, isn't it? That the one thing in this world that is supposed to be "magical," "beautiful," "pure," etc., is also one of the most painful emotions humans experience? Maybe that's irony. Or, maybe that's poetic justice. I really don't know; all I know is, that's the way it is.

As I think of this topic, I can't help but let my mind wander to Newtonian principles: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." We know this is true in physics, but I think it's also true in love. Once you fall in love with a person, they have the power to make you extraordinarily happy. By definition, therefore, they also have the ability to make you extraordinarily sad, or sick, or broken. Indeed, the more you fall in love, the greater the potential that you will be hurt. It's not even potential pain; it's definite pain: because every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

However, I also think that this principle is one that makes love so great -- that there is one person who you have let so far into your life, they could honestly hurt you, and hurt you deeply. But, you trust them not to do that. You give them your heart, and you not only hope that they won't break it, but you trust that they won't.

And yet, your lover will always fail you, someway or somehow, because humans aren't infallible. We continue to approach love with optimism; as a whole, humanity wants to be in love. We crave the company of another person; we deeply desire it from the depths of our being. I think that's why we are often ready to make the gamble on love and accept the terms of Newton: that, factually, the person to whom you give yourself will hurt you directly in proportion to the amount of love you have for them. This is scary, but this is love.

It's hard for me to understand this as it applies to my life. I can't even imagine that, since the beginning of time, people have felt this -- yet the world goes on. To me, love is earth-shattering; but the world has not shattered, even though it has borne the weight of much love, and therefore, much pain. I think that this is so difficult for me to understand because it is very closely a paradox: that love and pain are so undeniably intertwined with one another; that love does not exist without pain.

This doesn't mean that love is a waste, at all. The point is that life and love aren't easy and they require sacrifice, and sacrifice hurts. But, maybe, that's alright. It's okay to hurt for someone else. Perhaps part of the human experience is learning who is worth hurting for, and deciding that love outweighs pain, even if they are disbursed in equal amounts.

So, this is the way it is; this is the way it has always been. We fall into love, and we inevitably fall into pain. The world has not fallen apart, but I just might.