♦ LAST UPDATED ON January 30, 2021 ♦
In the past, we — as singles — may have been battered and bruised by others, but hopefully, we did not get injured. Love is fraught with perils. Not that we haven’t taken our revenge on others. Minds and hearts are frail, we are not aware of the subliminal, and sometimes we therefore simply cannot help it.
None of us are complete, wholesome persons. That is, other singles are most likely not perfect, either. We all got weaknesses, shortcomings, hangups, flaws, and blind spots. And the meaning of true love seems to be elusive.
Weaknesses, shortcomings, hangups, and blind spots — now don’t give up before even starting. Don’t try to run from your Shadow, or try to hide it from others. We all got the Shadow! And the older you get, the murkier the may Shadow become.
A friend of mine is religious, or better perhaps “spiritual.” She always tells me that God gave humans the great light of consciousness or the capacity for faith and goodness. And I add that God did not bother to take away the raw emotions and instincts of our evolutionary heritage, those originating in the “mammalian brain” as some would characterize it.
So, I do not feel bad when the Shadow calls. Success in love and life, in a sense, seems to be a matter of balanced management of self!
Life is not a straight line.
And most of us dislike the uncertainty inherent in life and love, and understandably loathe the possibility of being rejected by an other.
At the same time, the existential question we might be all asking ourselves at some point is: “What can I get away with?” No luck at all? A fast car? A steady husband? Amorous love, romantic love, or real love? Even true love?
Would you believe that it is important for two lovers to be on the same page (or at least in the same chapter or book) in the understanding of what it means to “be in love,” what it means “to act lovingly?” That is, to truly resonate with each other for and in a successful and lasting relationship?
“Love and marriage are like horse and carriage,” they say. Love and marriage are two different things. Most of us know what marriage is. But love, erotic, romantic or conjugal love? The love that makes the world go ’round? Isn’t love a dangerous thing? That love is a good thing is what we are trying to raise awareness of.
Hollywood is not the authority on love
In recent decades there has been a dramatic rise in the popularity of romance stories in popular music and films. These romantic stories are so appealing because they grab our attention not on the conscious level of awareness, but on the subconscious level of desire.
However, Hollywood only baits by perpetuating the myth of romance and the illusion that it can last forever.
One of the highest-grossing films of all time, “Titanic,” is the story of a passionate and illicit affair between an engaged upper-class young woman (played by Kate Winslet) and a working-class young artist (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). The film is a tragedy that ends with Jack’s death and the elderly Rose reminiscing about the passionate twenty-four hours that she “held onto forever”.
“Pretty Woman” is a Cinderella story of two supposed opposites (played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts) who fall passionately in love, learn from each other what is missing from their lives, and drive off into the sunset without a worry in the world. While the film is a comedy, there appear to be no plans at any Hollywood studio for “Pretty Woman II” starring Julia Roberts as the mother and housewife and Richard Gere as the doting husband.
Again, Hollywood constantly baits its audience by perpetuating the myth of romance and the illusion that it can last forever. It won’t. But I argue that romantic love is able to transform, to grow into real love. Many others feel suspicious about romantic love’s fateful power over our unbound emotions. And young people are often too young to go steady. Yet, we all must give love a deliberate chance, and not “flee” into a dull life. What is worse, regretting a dull life or risking a broken heart?
Without love, even the kind that starts off unstable and frail — like romantic love, life is unbelievable and inconceivable to me.
Friends do not just rubber stamp attitudes
Hopefully, you’ve got some good friends. Friends are there to not just agree with you and rubber stamp your behavior and actions, but to tell you honestly about yourself — even unsolicited. So, probe them a little here and there for their raw insights about you, if you dare.
They definitely will not tell you everything they see in you all at once; be prepared to have to almost pry it out of them with a few little favors or bribes. ‘Why is that?’ you may ask. Well, blame it on Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), the German philosopher and one of the heavies of Enlightenment thinkers. Kant had a few things to say about friendship, and that may have influenced culture and subsequently people’s approach to intimate relationships as we know it.
In his Lectures on Ethics, he speaks of friendship as ‘a man’s refuge in this world from his disgust of his fellows,’ and cautions in taking such refuge.
But Kant also notes that ‘to have a friend whom we know to be frank and loving, neither false nor spiteful, is to have one who will help us correct our judgments when it is mistaken.’
So, value whatever friends may eventually say, even if it hurts a bit.
And recruit and cultivate a circle of friends to be on your courtship team. Listen to them, fix yourself up a bit (easy to say) and then take the leap of faith — into love.