Why Falling In Love Should Be The Most Selfish Act Of Your Life

by Paul Hudson

I’d like to say that every person in the world who isn’t already with someone is surely looking for someone. Of course, there are those who have lost someone, who refuse to look for someone new or those who have given up on the search altogether. However, deep down I believe that, fundamentally even, we all want to share our lives with another person.

There is something about finding that one individual to love that gives life a special meaning. The compassion, the intimacy, the understanding that comes with finding the right person to spend your life with is unique – there really is no substitute for it. There is one misconception that I do need to address. While the experience of love is unique from all other experiences, the person whom we love isn’t.

Not in the sense that this person isn’t a unique individual, but in the sense that he or she is the only person whom you could possibly love. The concept of romantic love is usually intertwined with this belief that we have a single soul mate in the world who can fill the hole we know we have – our other, better half.

Mathematically speaking, this isn’t sound. The world’s population has increased dramatically over the last few centuries, so if you are keen on the belief that soul mates do exist, then these souls are either cloned or divided amongst those who are living. If you believe in soul mates then you have to believe in there being multiple soul mates out there waiting for you.

But avoiding this conversation and the conversation that would follow were we to consider the possibility of the creation of new souls, let’s consider what it physically takes to love someone.

Here’s something that will surely upset some of you: Loving is not a completely selfless act. Many of you will argue the opposite – but I’m not surprised; romantic love, the way we know it, is an invention. It’s an unrealistic creation depicting perfection. The problem is that we aren’t perfect and neither is love.

The idea that to love means to be utterly selfless is a joke. Human beings are never completely selfless because it goes against our nature. We have evolved, as animals, to survive, which necessitates us looking out for ourselves first and foremost. How do you know you love someone? When you want him or her.

To love is to want to own. Of course we can never actually own someone, and for this reason, love is very complicated. We want someone whom we can never fully have, so we have him or her in every way that we possibly can. We want to spend time with this person.

We want to be intimate with him and her and engage in coitus. We want to know his or her thoughts, history, beliefs, the way he or she sees the world. We want to become a part of this person and we want this person to be a part of us.

We want to give the people in our lives things because by giving them something we are becoming a part of their lives and therefore owning a piece of their history in the only way one can own such a thing. To love is to crave to the extreme – it’s a hunger that we hope we can never fully satisfy.

As you may have noticed, all that I have mentioned thus far revolves around you as the lover. The fact is that you are all that really matters in the equation. You perceive a person’s actions and allow your imagination to fill in the information that isn’t allotted to you.

You decide (for the most part) what things about an individual you like and what things repulse you, deter you from loving him or her. Your mind is filled with thoughts, beliefs and lots of opinions. We have opinions about everything and anything that we come into contact with that we deem as important. What those opinions are is what not only decides whom you will love, but also for how long you will love him or her.

Do you really love a person or do you simply love things about that person – traits and characteristics? A better question would be: Is there really any distinction between the two? People are to us what they show us. We know people for what they do and say, for what they tell us and share with us, for how they treat us and treat others.

There isn’t some sort of human essence that we see that we fall in love with – we fall in love with the only things that we can fall in love with: the things that affect our senses. Is there some sixth sense that no one has yet been able to uncover? Maybe. But until it is discovered it’s best that you work with the knowledge that you know to be true.

We know that we love people for the way they look and act. Why is that not enough? What more do we want or expect that would make love any more beautiful than it already is? You love a person because the way that you interpret that person, you find to be beautiful. You find him or her to be beautiful people and, because you are an egocentric being, you want that beauty for yourself.

You want to take part in that beauty in the only way that you can: by making that person a part of your life. I find that to be beautiful. What this does mean, however, is that our interpretations may not always be correct. We may interpret incorrectly. Our interpretations may and often do change over time.

We call this falling out of love. While falling in love may not entirely depend on you and the way you perceive people, it mostly does. Our minds can interpret things in countless ways.

If you can learn to have better control of those interpretations then all you need to hope is that the person you meet or the person whom you have been loving doesn’t stray too far from the outline that you’ve created of him or her. If that does turn out to be the case then you can happily try to own them until the day you die.

Photo via We Heart It

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