For as far back as I can remember, all of my life, I have spent my mental and emotional energies dwelling upon the idea of a utopic, ideal romantic prospect. I’ve treated it as an ultimate end goal, the utmost achievement and proof of my worthiness.
For a period, since it clearly was not happening for me, I took a very extreme opposite position. I tried, and temporarily succeeded in making myself a stoic. I labeled love and all that is associated with it to be a most futile experience. And the search for love, a sad attempt that the weak and unintelligent opt for, instead of living in the real world, with all of its harsh, but true, and existing realities. Love is a diversion, I felt, from seeing, experiencing, and succeeding in this world. An effort that is bound to fail, and lead to disappointment.
While this worked well for me for some time, I could not maintain it. For when, one is an inherent romantic, even the smallest glimmer of hope can be sufficient to reignite its passions. Therefore, I again succumbed to the “sad attempts” that I had found distasteful and repulsive just shortly before.
But my story is a dull one. It repeats itself. Love, is as distant and unreachable, as it always has been. And all of my efforts at attaining it, as futile as they’ve ever been. But now, I realize something completely different. I realize that I have been focusing on the wrong things all along.
I probably need not explain to you the wrongness of this entire premise. Nothing beneficial can come out of viewing romantic love as an end goal, as a kind of achievement. I do not blame myself for thinking this way, for it was embedded in our way of thinking from a very young age. Why were we raised on Cinderella stories where a girl’s happiness lied in finding and uniting with a true love? Why was it driven into our head that the search for romantic love, is an essential and inevitable aspect of life? A solution to all woes? How might we lead our lives differently had it never been so?
And how were we ever led to believe that we deserved to feel “worthy” to the extent that we were desired and loved by another?! If we understand our self-worth to be solely reliant on the affirmations of another person, how are we ever to find true and lasting happiness, in accepting and loving ourselves? And how can we ever believe that an affirmation received once, would be repeated regularly for the rest of our lives?
So let’s say you are in the most ideal situation– you’ve loved, you’re loved back and you get married. How many days, weeks, or at best, months, will it be until your spouse fails to affirm who you are? How long until the moment when you disagree and no longer feel loved? How can anyone accept to base their happiness and self-affirmation on the whimsical thoughts and feelings of another human being? That is, surely, a recipe for disappointment and disaster. That, has never been my idea of love. That’s because my idea of love, and perhaps yours as well, is imaginary. It has no basis in reality. It’s a mirage, a hallucination, a dream, a wish, a fairy tale, is all.
What I’ve failed to recognize in all of this, is how my futile searches for love, how my disappointments and heartbreaks have in fact been helping me to progress in a path towards enlightenment. I am not near enlightenment now, by any means. But the phases of my life where I’ve had enlightened moments, periods of deep introspection and greater understanding of existence, happiness, and God, have directly emerged from disappointment and heartbreak. And I am in one now.
So, no. Love is not the end goal. The search for it, is not the purpose of our lives.
The end goal, has been, and will always be, a return to home. A return to our true selves, and to God. If that will be gained, through love, and heartbreak, so be it. If that will be gained, without love, so be it. For this destination is so fulfilling and sweet, that any struggle and pain one finds in its path, is wholly welcome!