Images are everywhere. We, who are not blind, see portrayals on all kinds of media we interact with. In dramas, there are loving mothers who accept their children, truly engaging with them. In advertisements, there’s that couple who tries to convince you that romantic love is everything. Only once in a while do you get a song whose lyrics go “I found the greatest
love of all inside of me”. And that was in 1985.
Today, Netflix shows and ads (be it videos or digital display advertising) continue to bombard us with conventional love. Pick a random Korean drama. Holidate, anyone? Even though Little Women is rich with colorful themes such as family love and the pursuit of one’s passion, the happy ending of the movie (or book) strictly portrays the passionate love both Amy and Meg indulge themselves in as what could happen when one combines happiness and relationship (even Jo, who’s supposed to represent a different ideal for women, ends up marrying the professor and that becomes the ultimate thing that makes her super happy).
But really, that’s not true. It’s not what could happen when one combines happiness and relationship; it’s what happens when one has an end view of happiness with a function of romantic relationships, like this:
HAPPINESS (romantic LOVE) = Happiness. WHICH IS SO UNHELPFUL AND DANGEROUS because not everyone was put on earth to engage with romantic love or to be energized by motherly warmth and because the equation is basically saying that romantic love is indeed a prerequisite of happiness; that the two aren’t separable.
Now you might insist that it’s absurd that I include only human relations in the formula for happiness above but it’s really not. The point is that we care about our relationships and there are good reasons for that. Just ask Robert Waldinger at Harvard or William Glasser, who came up with Choice Theory and Reality Therapy (and who believed that the most important basic need to us is our need for love and belonging, which without this need fulfilled, other needs will never be truly fulfilled).
The point is that relationships matter to us whether we admit it or not, and the media is out to convince us that only certain relationships count as good ones, and if you were to go even further, only certain ways of interacting count as desirable.
“But there are shows with bigger themes!”, you might insist. With shows like Dark Desire and Amar, it’s obvious that that’s what we’re getting. But REALLY, most shows are like the Friends series, the german Dark series, or the film All the Bright Places: they are clearly about something bigger but in the end, their relationships revolve around the male-female attraction, leading viewers who care about relationships into subconsciously believing that whatever happens in life, such, is the epitome of love.
In the end, the problem is that, as mentioned earlier, not everyone was put on earth to be adored by others. Still, these people do have the need for love and belonging. Love, but in what form? Are there other various kinds of loves out there? Of course, there are, and I won’t be the first to outline this and…I won’t even be outlining the various kinds of loves e.g. animal love, love for community, for the family because anyone can think of it if they choose to.
The second point I’m making is that there are various ways to look for love outside of the male-female and parent-child dynamic and anyone can think of these ways or at least Google them. The interesting thing to me is that whatever it is, all types of love go back to self-appreciation, self-acknowledgment……self-love, etc.
Maybe because you need to understand and commit to yourself before you can commit to the, let’s say, environment, or to a pet. How can you be responsible for a dog if you’re not for yourself? Funny, I just had a side thought: romantic love might be the only love that suggests you don’t have to understand nor commit to yourself yet still be able to attain it.
The Golden Question: How do you look for love in all its forms? Where do you look? What do you do to help yourself feel love in all its forms?
I’m just trying to do you some good by encouraging you to seek love in all its forms, even if you’re a casanova (or a female version of it) or a loving wife or son. So just answer the damn question.
I still believe that the greatest love of all is inside of me. Hence, after making two points and asking you important questions, here’s me concluding this article by sharing with you how I feel love for myself (and thus for everything on earth, as aforementioned):
- I look at childhood pictures of me
- I laugh at something too silly
- I let myself be silly
- I create space for my feelings
- I show affection towards someone
- I help myself process my thoughts and feelings through writing
- I work towards my goals
- I try to be more authentic in how I come across to others
By the way, if you’re somehow involved in the media (movies, ads, books, papers, mags), do consider portraying all kinds of love, just like you should be considering all kinds of faces and looks, because why in the world would you promise happiness to mankind by encouraging people to get into romantic male-female relationships, only to leave them with babies to take care of in years to come?