Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Questions about love, lust and trust...

Maybe it's not about finding the person who is right for us?
Maybe it’s about finding the person who we are right for?
Because you can never truly know about another person, but you can know about their effect upon you.
Instead of looking for someone who ticks our boxes, maybe we should just be looking out for someone who elicits a reaction in us? A reaction of confidence maybe?

Confidence that we can be loyal to them, that we can laugh with them, that we want to share the different aspects of our lives with them. Confidence that we want their input. Confidence that we seem to be organically influenced by them in positive ways and that we are inspired by them. Confidence that we can handle negativity from them in a healthy way.

If we have confidence in our ability to be healthy and happy in that person's company, what else do we need? We don't need to depend on them, because we should be able to depend on ourselves at our best, and if we are confident that we're a positive version of ourselves when they're around, they've already made us feel secure, just by being themselves, and without trying.

Why does it have to be more complicated than that?
Why can’t people just decide that if they’re confident that the reactions in themselves are so good, then they should probably continue to feed them?

It seems to me that looking inward for genuine love (not admiration, or infatuation) of another person within ourselves, and getting good at recognising it when it’s there makes much more sense than attempting to recognise anything in other people. We’re not mind readers after all. Or maybe we were once, but as we evolve as a species, we seem to be becoming less so.

Can we change another person? No. Can we influence another person without meaning to? Certainly. We do it all day long. So surely basing relationships on whether a person’s subconscious influences on you are positive or not makes much more sense than having a preconceived idea of what will make us happy and looking for someone who meets that idea. 

If you spend your life looking for someone who matches your romantic ideal, you’ll probably just convince yourself you love someone who meets 80% of the criteria and spend the next decade or so focussing on the 20% of them you’re not so into.

“First you’ll roll your eyes to heaven
Say you’ve never had love so divine
But it will go from more than ever
To not enough in no time.”  - Ani Difranco, 78% water

The point Ani is making in this song is that we are 78% water, “even our pumping hearts” and as she mentions in another song “love is loose, it shifts each time you move”. Trying to find someone who fits your fairytale is impossible when you look at love as fluid, inconstant and ever-changing. As everything else in the world is each of these three things (the only constant is change and all that) then why should love be any different? Especially when you take into account all the variables which affect a human. Then there's the notion that romantic love is a social phenomenon (note I don’t call romantic love a natural phenomenon) which is therefore affected by all of these human variables x 2, as we’re talking about a relationship with 2 humans in it.  

As an alternative to romantic love and ‘finding the one’, is it worth thinking about the idea that we’re all just chemicals reacting? And that once two chemicals have reacted, that is how they will always react? It is, literally, chemistry. At the end of the day, we’re all just sniffing each other’s pheromones and chasing the people who smell good to us. 

So if you find that your chemical reaction with someone is a good one, then that’s something to go on. And really, that’s just lust, and until you’ve spent extended periods of time in that person’s company that’s all you’ve got to go on. A person can talk a great talk, and even believe their own hype, but it’s their actions, reactions, routines and relationships with others which will help you decide whether you want to trust them or not. 

And even then, studies show that you’d best wait at least 6 months before you start thinking you can even see a clear picture of who they are. Before then, our brains are too full of phenylethylamine, dopamine and adrenaline for us to think straight about the person triggering these pleasurable hormonal reactions. This can go on for up to 3 years in some people, so take your time deciding whether you really trust that person you lust after so passionately.

However, if you meet someone who smells good to you and who after a reasonable period of time elicits a reaction of loyalty and positivity in you, then you might just be in what I like to call natural love, and it’s probably advisable to throw your romantic love fairytale tick list out of the window. Because as a wise man at the pub told me the other night, “Love is just lust plus trust.”

Sunday, 5 June 2011

When love is just a verb

When love is just a verb
And lust is just hormones
Then all that’s left to contend with
Is pride
And that’s easily managed if you keep your ego
Healthy and strong
By surrounding yourself with good people
And giving love freely
And never letting fear
Stop you from speaking up
And making your needs known
Because we all deserve to have our questions answered
And our egos stroked
And our foreheads kissed
And we all deserve to look in the mirror
And like what we see
And if we don’t
It’s never the parents’ fault
We must stop and ask
“How can I become someone I like?”
And then we must dream and dare and act
Because when love is a doing word
You have to practice it
Because it is a skill
Just as an athlete trains her body so it can run fast
A good woman must educate her heart so it can love well
So she can be open
And brave
And loyal
And vulnerable
And just as one feels the pain and runs hard anyway
The good woman feels the fear and loves hard anyway
Because her own heart is her haven
And a bruised ego heals fast
When lust is just hormones
When love is just a verb.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Liviing the dream

Our generation seem focused on ‘living the dream’ whatever that is. Quite a few people seem to think it’s x-factor or glamour modelling or marrying a footballer…for others it’s being a musician or graphic designer or something else creative, fun and inspiring but which ultimately only benefits the self. I suppose ‘the dream’ is different for everybody. But one thing it doesn’t seem to be is being a catalyst for societal change. What a difference a generation makes.