Too often, we fall in love with a person who does not love us back. It may be because they are already in love with someone else. Sometimes it is because they are not emotionally available. Some other times this is simply due to the fact that they are not at all attracted to us. Whatever the reason for the unrequited love, however deep and strong our desire, yearning and passion for the beloved, we must not let these feelings overpower us. We must not allow ourselves to fall prey to obsession.
While we cannot control who we fall in love with, our humanity is stronger than any feeling we may experience. The Akomdo (the life philosophy of the Beti, a Bantu subgroup) teaches us that as human beings, we have supreme control over feelings because we have the power of thought and the power of mind. However much we love somebody, we can and should understand that there is absolutely no obligation on their part to desire or love us back. Instead of harbouring negative feelings such as jealousy against the partner of our beloved, or hatred because we think that we have been scorned, or uncontrollable obsession, we can channel our thoughts and mind towards more positive feelings.
To achieve this, we must understand that though our passion, desire or yearning for the beloved are circumstances beyond our control, we can always control how we react to them. Furthermore, they are, like most circumstances, temporary states or, as the Beti call them, “belot zene” (passers-by) that will either fizzle out or morph into something else; unlike our humanity, which is everlasting and far more precious. Therefore, we must not allow our humanity to be demeaned by the negative feelings triggered by an unrequited love. The essence of our humanity is to be and remain kind, loving and compassionate towards other human beings, and committed to their welfare, regardless of our circumstances.
By Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell