LET’S BE FRANK HERE.
Most people want love. The craving for approval and affection from others is embedded into our DNA. There’s probably nothing else on earth (other than the survival instinct) that is as strong and primal as the longing for love.
We need to belong. We NEED to feel loved. This is all normal. It’s a wonderfully exciting and ecstatic quest that we all walk sooner or later.
But what happens when our search for love becomes tainted with unconscious motives? What happens when our search for love comes from a place of avoidance and fear?
The answer: we suffer. But we don’t just experience garden-variety-type-suffering, we go through cyclical suffering, meaning that we repeat the same toxic patterns over and over again. In other words, when the love we have obtained doesn’t distract us from ourselves enough, we jump ship. We break up. We divorce. We try to find someone new who will fill that hole inside of us. We get bored or scared. We leave. Then the cycle starts again.
WHY WE USE THE SEARCH FOR LOVE TO ESCAPE OURSELVES
One of the simplest reasons why we use the search for love to escape ourselves is simply because that’s how we were programmed as children.
Growing up, we were conditioned to believe that romantic love was the greatest pursuit of life. From the tender age of two or three, we were read fairy tales that depicted princess and princesses falling in love and eventually getting married. How many times do you remember the sentence, “…and they lived happily ever after”? These beliefs surrounding romantic love were deeply ingrained in our fragile young minds. (Hell, I even have drawings from the age of 5 of kings and queens getting married.)
As we grew up, the idea that the search for love is the Purpose of Life was reinforced by Hollywood films, books, magazines, pop songs, and even self-improvement workshops – and every day it continues to be bolstered by social media, Hollywood, and the people around us.
Can you see why so many of us fall into the trap of using love as a form of escapism? We were virtually brainwashed as children to see it as the only path to happiness and fulfilment.
The second reason why we use love as a drug to numb and avoid our pain is that the high of falling in love is incomparable. It is pure ecstasy – and much better + long lasting than the drug variety. Life suddenly feels magical and awe-inspiring again. Anything feels possible. Tidal waves of joy wash over you. You feel warm, tingly, elevated, and drunk all at once. Optimism replaces your negative outlook on life – you feel like a new person!
Falling in love is an amazingly transcendental adventure. It is a great blessing to experience something so pure and sacred. So how can such an experience become corrupted? The answer is that our motivations sully the experience. And remember that we aren’t always conscious of our motivations.
When finding love is used as a way of escaping ourselves, it becomes more like a drug to numb our pain, rather than a spiritual journey. The experience is cheapened as conditions are placed upon the relationship in order for it to work. The dominant unspoken condition is: “You must make me happy and distract me enough from my pain and emptiness in order for this to work.” When this condition isn’t met consistently, the relationship begins to sour, decompose, and break apart.