The Two Main Sources Of Pain
Most of the emotional pain and suffering people experience is down to two causes.
Feeling a lack of money and a lack of love.
The reality is that there isn’t a lack of either, but not understanding how either of them work can make us feel a lack, which causes us our pain.
Our life, however complicated it may seem, is only about achieving two things.
Finding a way to use your talents to survive and if possible thrive in a meaningful way.
And finding a way to love and be loved.
That is all we have to do in life to feel content and happy. Though of course this is much more complicated than it might seem. Complicated enough to occupy any of us for our lifetime with its various twists and turns.
Survival is our primary aim. And as our main focus throughout the history of humanity, there is a great deal of information and support in how to make money. We even have schools and Careers Advisers to guide us.
Love however, is an entirely different story.
The Fairy Tale Myth Of Love
Since our parents read us stories as we fell asleep, we’ve grown up with a cultural model of relationships.
We’ve watched Disney films and other romance films since infancy. The drama of the story almost always ends with the happy couple living happily ever after.
The basic way we understand language and concepts was laid down in our childhood.
So while we have added on some more adult insight onto our childish notions of how relationships work, they’re still based on the same ‘happy ever after’ idea.
This is important because many women are subconsciously disappointed when men don’t match up to Prince Charming.
They might consciously know what is realistic, but feel a pang of disappointment without recognising it comes from a fairy tale idea.
So we have this deeply ingrained story of love. But our real life experience doesn’t match up to this and so there’s often a disappointment sooner or later in our relationships.
We have been told that love shouldn’t be something you work for.
The dashing Prince will come along and see something in you that no-one else saw and then you’ll live happily ever after.
And so we’ll spend hours in the gym, in the hairdressers and the beauty salon to create the look that will make that Prince stop in his tracks.
And it makes plenty of guys stop and gawp. And some come over and talk.
Some even make us feel like the Princess who’s met her Prince.
But the spell always wears off. And so it’s more like ‘happy for a few years’, than ever after.
All because the cultural myth tells us that we should work for money, but not for love.
The reality is that love is hard work. There are a lot of moving parts to love. And it takes a lot of understanding and nurturing to maintain it.
Think about it.
Who loves you more than anyone else? More unconditionally than anyone else?
For most people it’s your family, especially your parents.
a species In Search of adoration
Most us are born into a jacuzzi of love. Adored by parents and grandparents.
Yet as we grow into the disagreeable and moody teenager that love dips in its intensity.
As we become our own person our relationship with our parents adjusts, as they cope with our rejection of their ideas and values.
And so we are never quite able to return to that level of adoration because a baby is loved because we can project onto it whatever we want to see.
An adult displays and expresses his values. Some of them will be rejections of yours and so this will affect how you feel about him.
Our yearning for love is about returning to that unquestioning adoration we felt as an infant.
That is why pets are so popular. A dog will love you unquestioningly almost whatever you do.
The search for romantic love is an attempt to recapture that unquestioning admiration.
It is so exciting because the infatuation stage mimics that adoration. However, the adoration wears off when he gets to know you.
Because adoration is a wish.
A goal is something that we work to achieve.
A wish is something we hope we’ll get.
A goal is to make £100,000 a year. A wish is to win the lottery.
A goal is to find someone to have a happy and healthy relationship with. A wish is that you’ll meet ‘The One’ and live happily ever after.
The world is filled with people dreaming that their wishes will come true because they don’t want to face their fears and make the effort and sacrifices to make their goals come true.
A large part of the pain of the world comes because we wish without goals. We seek the get rich quick shortcut. We want the diet that lets us eat as much rubbish as we can and still look good. We want the magic bullet.
It’s a natural desire, but it’s one of immaturity.
Emotional maturity is about taking responsibility for everything.
When we apply this to our desire to love and be loved we have to recognise that as Mignon Mignolet said
Instead of wishing for a love that is like winning the lottery instead we have to understand that our desire for pure adoration is a wish. It’s a wish that clashes with the spirit of life.
You see, we crave that adulation, because it means we get what we want, without ever having to change. Because change is scary and involves hard work. And we might fail at it.
Yet in the game of life, we are always chasing new desires. Everything we want is really just a carrot for us to chase. In order to reach the carrot we have to change in some way.
So for example, in this context, we want to love and be loved. The carrot is a happy, secure relationship. And the change we need is to upgrade our relationship skills, whether that is choosing more suitable partners, communicating differently or managing our emotions or conflict better.
And if we follow that trail to the end, what we really want is to be ourselves. A large part of that we get by overcoming the false conditioning that’s been ingrained into us.
The path to love is a journey. It’s a journey with twists and turns. With hurts, disappointments and betrayals. With healing, excitement and highs. It is the journey of life and love.
Read the second mindset shift: The Truth About Relationships