Haven't we all heard that the heart is the doorway to the soul? When in tune with our hearts, we are connected with the wise, visceral, and instinctual energy of intuition. But our hearts can also become contracted through life circumstances. Pain, trauma, heartbreak, toxic core beliefs all contribute to the heart becoming closed, even shut off from life.
So what do most people want? Well, seemingly most people want love. The craving for approval and affection from others is embedded in our DNA. There’s probably nothing else on earth (other than the survival instinct) that is as strong and primal as the longing to be loved. We need to belong. We need to feel loved. It’s a wonderfully exciting and ecstatic quest that we all walk, some sooner, some later. So what happens when our search for love becomes tainted with unconscious motives? What happens when our search for love comes from a place of avoidance and fear?
The answer is simple enough: we suffer. But we don’t just experience garden-variety-type-suffering, we go through cyclical suffering, meaning that we repeat the same toxic patterns over and over again. When the love we have obtained doesn’t distract us from ourselves enough, we jump ship. We break up. We divorce. We try to find someone new who will fill that hole inside of us. We get bored even scared. We leave. Then the cycle starts again.
One of the simplest reasons why we use the search for love to escape ourselves is simply because that’s how we were programmed as children. Growing up, we were conditioned to believe that romantic love was the greatest pursuit of life. These beliefs surrounding romantic love were deeply ingrained in our fragile young minds. As we grew up, the idea that the search for love is the Purpose of Life was reinforced by films, books, magazines, songs, and even self-improvement workshops – and every day it continues to be bolstered by social media and the people that surround us. Can you see why so many of us fall into the trap of using love as a form of escapism? We were virtually brainwashed as children to see it as the only path to happiness and fulfillment.
You see, the high of falling in love is incomparable. It is pure ecstasy – and much better + longer lasting than the drug variety. Life suddenly feels magical and awe-inspiring, everything becomes possible. You feel warm, tingly, elevated, and drunk all at once. Optimism replaces your negative outlook on life – you feel like anew!
Falling in love is an amazingly transcendental adventure. It is a great blessing to experience something so pure, sacred. So how can such an experience become corrupted? Our motivations sully the experience. And remember that we aren’t always conscious of our motivations. Love has also been used as a way to escaping ourselves. We, humans, are quite resourceful when it comes to escaping our inner sorrow, rage, loneliness, and emptiness. Virtually anything – so long as it keeps us distracted – can be used to bypassing facing and overcoming this suffering. Food, TV, gossip, drama, sex, partying, work a holism, social entanglements, and of course, drugs and alcohol, all play a part in our escapism plan, but perhaps most dazzling of all remains the pursuit of love.
What better way to distract yourself and fill the void inside of you than chasing after your soulmate? It is a quest that promises to give you a “happily ever after” – not to mention it’s so damn exciting and a million times better than a TV hit series. Oh, and there’s no stigma attached to using love as your form of escapism, unlike drugs. So you get the social approval as well. How convenient.
I’m a person who values truth. I hope you do too. The thing about truth is that it can cut deep. Love is a touchy subject, with many people preferring to live in fantasy land rather than reality – which I can relate to. But love doesn’t need to be used as a form of escapism for it to be intoxicating and profoundly life-changing.
By using the search for love as an escape you will be driven by romantic idealism and the belief that your One True Love will complete you. This is a fallacy because it makes your self-esteem, self-worth, happiness dependent on another person. You will feel a sense of constant underlying anxiety and endangerment. A sense of wholeness can and must be found only within oneself, not within another. Love, in a way, can become an addiction. Yes, it is a socially approved addiction, but it is an addiction nonetheless. And we all know what addictions do to your life: they can quickly turn it into a living hell.
So stop chasing love. Understand that chasing love only creates more frustration and hopelessness. Chasing happiness ultimately creates suffering.
LVX - Patrick Gaffiero