Finding true love is one of the most common journeys we go through. At first, we might think that finding love should be easy. However, many people struggle with it and seem unable to find true love. So what’s the problem? And more importantly, how can we fix it?
The consumerist culture
With all the dating websites and apps we have today, finding a lover became similar to buying a car: you make a list of what you like and what you don’t, then you start browsing until you find a match. We started treating love just like buying any object, thinking that if we look long enough in the stores we’ll find the perfect match we want. In other words, we started thinking that true love happens when two people feel they have found the best object available in the market.
Because of this mentality, many people feel obligated to make themselves desirable objects in the market by stockpiling money, boosting their status in the community, and enhancing their looks. Our entire culture became based on consumerism, to the point that it spread beyond the material objects. Instead of understanding the true essence of love, we became too focused on finding easy, fast and consumable relationships.
The problem with finding your other half
There’s an ancient myth mentioned by Plato in the book Symposium. It states that once upon a time, humans used to be perfectly happy beings with 8 limbs, two faces and two sets of genitals. But one day, they made the gods angry so Zeus (the Father of Gods and men) cut them in half. Humans became separated from their other halves and are always looking for them to get back to their perfect happiness. This idea is also emphasized in fairy tales where a happy ending usually involves finding that perfect match and falling in love with them.
Here’s the hard truth: there’s no perfect half waiting for you to find them. This idea is like an artist refusing to learn how to paint because they believe that when the right object shows up, they’ll be able to paint beautifully. Without learning how to be loving, you can’t experience the power of true love. That’s why you should master the skill of loving before even looking for the right person. Instead of a quest to find your other half, you should embark on a journey to find love within yourself.
When does the quest of finding true love begin?
As we mentioned before, loving is a skill. While mastering the art of loving, you should stop looking for someone to love. That’s why sometimes love seems paradoxical. In his book “The Art of Loving“, Erich Fromm states that love comes from an intense awareness of loneliness, yet the ability to be alone is the prerequisite for the ability to love. Fromm suggests stopping to look for “Mr or Mrs right” until you realize that you no longer need someone. Only after embracing yourself and the fact that you’re fine on your own, you become ready to love someone. That’s how the immature “I love you because I need you” turns into mature love: “I love you because I’m loving”.
Final thoughts and advice
- Stop looking for love to consume, and start giving it instead. People who give love don’t see it as a sacrifice: it’s how they experience their strength and power.
- Always treat the person you love with care and respect. Love them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Help them grow in their own way.
- Know the person you love at the deepest level. That’s how when you see their anger, you can also see that they’re anxious and worried. It’s what allows you to see their suffering rather than react to simply them being “angry”.
Once you learn how to give love, finding a person to love becomes easier. Maybe the next time you have a crush on someone and tell them about it, they’ll end up being the one you spend your life with. Not because they were the perfect person sitting around and waiting for you, but because you’ll give them love and nurture your relationship with them.
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