We’re all looking for love — but casual dating, Tinder and Co. are numbing our feelings. Why don’t we take more risks for love?
Love: an integral part of us
It strikes deep inside, this feeling. When it hits, it’s as if everything else ceases to matter. Everything inside you set alight with sparks; the feeling that there’s one person who completes you. That feeling. “Doubt truth to be a liar; but never doubt I love,” Shakespeare wrote. Love: it’s an integral part of being human. To be with someone, centered around them, lost without them; the feeling of having your hand on their cheek and letting everything else around you go. Caressing every moment, taking it all in with every breath.
Every great strength comes with a weakness, and love brings both at the same time. It is misfortune, says calculation; it is nothing but pain, says fear; it is hopeless, says insight; it is laughable, says pride, frivolous, says caution; it is impossible; says experience. But in the end it is what it is, says love and Erich Fried. Most people are so afraid and have lived for so long with the utopian ideal of their faraway fantasy prince or princess — their wants shaped by the daily influences of a consumerist society, yet they’re not willing to offer an open side of their heart. Like Rilke’s panther in the Jardin des Plantes we walk in circles, never breaking out from our well-worn path.
Love begins with a smile
A spark sets something alight and the heart begins to bloom. It’s invisible to the naked eye, your falling in love — the heart is your only guide. Emotions spin faster and faster, and sometimes, for just a moment, time stands still. When words become superfluous and nothing can fill that space but a kiss, that lovely trick of nature. There will come the time, though, sooner or later, to return to everyday reality, putting your nose to the grindstone in order to make it all work. It’s tough. Love begins with an ethereal flicker in the heart, with emotional, intellectual, and sexual connection. With the honeymoon phase over, now comes the need for courage, integrity, loyalty, being a true partner, becoming stronger as a unit — and this is where couples often don’t succeed.
“I thought they were the one when we first met” — that’s what people say when they look back. Relationships are hard work on a daily basis and you need to want it, need to accept and love each other in spite of — or even because of — your quirks; bring energy, support one another. You will fail, you will fall, stumble into traps, crawl, get dragged down and cry, and in the end you need to know why you’re doing it, and what for.
What matters is your love
Does love always mean compromise? It’s about accepting others as they are. Society’s guidelines are useless. What matters is your love, that magical bubble with only room for two. It’s about no one else other than the both of you — you have to take the chance and let yourself fall if you want to end up together. And it’s worth it.
Your heart got broken, really broken? You can let it go — the brain is made to forget long-term pain. You will remember the good — it just takes time, a lot of time. But whatever it takes, true love is worth overcoming every challenge and hurdle. Love takes root where it will, and you have to take it as it comes.
These days, in this generation, nobody wants to take risks for love anymore. Cheating just to have an ace up your sleeve in case you get cheated on yourself — so great is people’s fear of getting hurt. If you don’t take the risk of letting go, you’ll never feel what it means to love fully.
So how to find this full-fledged love?
Girls: Widen your circle. You think that’s all that matters, but there is so much more. Every second marriage ends in divorce — we all end up getting hurt somehow, sometime. Chasing social capital on Snapchat and Instagram is not going to make this neurotic, love-seeking Electra complex any better. You’re not seeking real love, what you are seeking is attention, hoping to fill the need to be loved in any way. If you’re one of those types who lives to post proof of your enviable life on social media and collect likes, if what you’re searching for is someone that will affirm this amazing fantasy, this is not how it works. You’re looking for a charming, intelligent, funny guy who will treat you well? No rich, good-looking model with a six pack is waiting to make this fantasy come true. Don’t end up being in your 30s not having learned that it’s the decent, nice guys who might be the better ones for you.
Boys: Enough with all that Tinder shit. It will numb every real emotion in you. So you’ve gotten in shape, you’re chasing status, and racking up your conquests. Stop preening in front of the mirror, feeding the ego by telling your reflection how great you are, doing MDMA just so you don’t get fat. You don’t have to look like Johnny Depp. One day, you might run into the right girl in the supermarket, and if you act like an asshole and treat everything like a game, she won’t even want to say hello. Even if you’re lucky enough to make it to her place, you won’t be able to realize she’s the one if you aren’t open to it.
If you have to fake love — let it go
Both: So many couples pretend to be something they aren’t, keeping up the lie even to themselves. To the outside world they look perfect, but underneath the facade, the truth is that their relationship is an ongoing power struggle over who can retain the upper hand. Harmony comes from being generous with your energy and being yourself, fully yourself. If this isn’t the case in your relationship, if you have to fake it, it doesn’t matter how strong your feelings are — it’s time to let go.