In a society that makes everything about romantic love and relationships, it can be hard to feel valued if we don’t have these things. However, we need to realise that although these things are good, they are given way too much emphasis. We need to keep a proper perspective, otherwise, we will feel too anxious about relationships.
I remember overhearing a conversation between two acquaintances. One was female, and she was asking her male friend which outfit looked better, the one she had on now or the one from yesterday.
The guy, who I thought was being kind, said ‘I think you look good in both’. She snapped back at him ‘That isn’t helpful, I need to find someone, and saying that isn’t going to help.’
It was upsetting that she was talking to him like this, but it was also upsetting because she was so focused on finding someone that nothing else seemed to matter as much.
But can you blame her? If you look at the culture around us, is it really a surprise that people feel like they need to find someone to find meaning?
Being in a relationship is the be all and end all
‘Technology, dating apps, and access to so much content now means we’re searching for romance every second of every day’.
I heard someone say words to this effect the other day, and I was really struck by them. I think they are so true. Add to the fact that movies, media, and social media are constantly telling us that relationships, romance, and finding someone is the meaning of life, it’s no wonder it takes all of our attention.
Romantic love gets so much attention, that being in a relationship is the be all and end all.
The Fall Out
This creates a few problems.
Firstly, we think it’s all about finding love and finding ‘the One’ (Read Why Believing In ‘The One’ Is Very Overrated), that we forget to learn about how to maintain a long-term loving relationship. We focus on how love begins rather than on how it grows, on love starts over love stories.
Secondly, the fundamental question I think many of us as human beings are asking, namely ‘Am I lovable?’ or ‘Can someone love me?’, is only being understood within the romantic context. Our value is then rooted in our relationship status, and not in friends, community, wider family ties, etc.
Yet all of these things can show us that we are loved and can bring fulfilment, no matter what our relationship status is. But our culture focuses so much on romantic love that those without it feel unfulfilled.
Add to all this the message that culture screams at us: ‘Do whatever makes you happy’. People end up thinking about ‘my needs’ and preferences over ‘our needs’, and what they can get over what they can build together.
Being lovable becomes about finding someone who makes ‘me’ happy, rather than something which requires two people coming together, working out issues and building something worth having together. We can also forget that being lovable is also about pursuing wider interests, friendships and family ties.
I think romantic love is such a huge blessing. It’s something that is meant to be fun and enjoyable. It does bring fulfilment, but it’s not the only way to be fulfilled.
One person can never be the sole source of making us feel worthy
It’s so important to remember that finding someone is great, but we’re not defined by our relationship status. One person can never be the sole source of making us feel worthy.
No matter what our relationship status is, we need to start investing more in wider friends and hobbies, and remember that romantic love isn’t the only thing we should be pursuing. (Read 2 Things You Should Always Do To Build Strong Communities)
Imagine if we remember that despite the message our culture tells us, there is more to love than romantic love. While there is nothing wrong with having it, or wanting to find it, or pursuing it, it’s not the only thing that gives us worth and value.
Understanding that romance is great but not the only thing that brings fulfilment can help make us less anxious about it. (Read 5 No-Nonsense Tips For Singleness. Part 1)
Is keeping a new perspective on romance easy? Comment welcomed below.
Originally posted 24/6/2019