A Modest Love.
This is the last in a series or articles from Dear Chereen’s contributors in honor of International Women’s Day. With the hashtag #beboldforchange, we are highlighting bold women, embracing the power of femininity, and celebrating women all over the world.
Written by: Nadrah
Sometimes we set our expectations too high, not just for ourselves, but for other people. What’s worse, we place these high expectations on the people we love most, which sometimes pushes them further away from us rather than making them feel emotionally closer.
We aim for perfection and an ideal state of love, forgetting that perfection is a concept we can’t fully attain.
We believe that “Happily Ever After” is something real in relationships–or so we delude ourselves into thinking.
The unrealistic expectations we enforce on our loved ones unfortunately leave little space for us to appreciate what’s really in front of us.
This ideal concept of love most of the time is unrealistic. We are more in love with the idea of being in love than with actually being in love.
We hope for extreme romantic gestures and endless positive emotional experiences, forgetting that sometimes we do need some drawbacks to allow for growth. We allow our emotional reactions to get intertwined with our beloved’s speech and movement.
We become infatuated with the star-crossed lovers of Verona or that cute couple we just scrolled by on our Facebook feed.
For a person who experiences an ocean of emotions, I sometimes feel too much for my own good. This hinders me from just being in the moment, as I am always yearning for something more, something bigger.
But what exactly is more?
We are so focused on finding our “Happily Ever After” that we forget our pursuit of being content.
We forget that just being alive is enough.
We forget that being happy is a continuous journey, not a destination. We don’t finally arrive at happiness.
And there’s a step further than just wanting to be happy.
It was a long journey for me to understand that to feel love does not entails me to be extreme–to shower my beloved with the finest things and profess undying affection. It is okay to feel love, but not be able to express it precisely.
Love is not only written in beautiful sounding poetry embedded throughout time (or lengthy captioned Instagram posts), but through simple everyday gestures, like lending a helping hand and taking turns washing your toddler’s baby bottles and dirty diapers.
When I experienced a recent loss, my lack of tears was not a sign that I was not devastated, but a sign that I have learned to express myself in moderation.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, said:
لا يَكُنْ حُبُّكَ كَلَفًا وَلا بُغْضُكَ تَلَفًا
“Let not your love be infatuation and let not your hatred be destruction.” 
And that’s okay.
 Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1322, Grade: Sahih