Genuine love is, arguably, nature’s most powerful force. It has the power to grow us and to heal us. Yet its true nature eludes many of us. A character-impaired culture has a lot to do with that. The attitudes and values that dominate our social climate make it harder than ever to understand what true love really is. (See: Chapter 10, Essentials for the Journey.)
Human beings naturally crave love. And in the shallowness of today’s culture, many find themselves virtually starving for it. Languishing in relationships they once believed seemed a passport to unending joy, too many find themselves depressed, hurting, questioning, …. spiritually dying! And a major reason for this involves misunderstanding from the outset what genuine love is all about. This is no one’s, fault, really. In our times, rare is the person whose environment provided them deep awareness of love’s true nature.
So many things can seem like love that aren’t. And sadly, most folks these days experience the truth of this the hard and painful way. But there is hope. And love is still the answer. That’s as true now as it’s always been. But to put it into action and allow its power to work, you have to cast some erroneous notions aside and embrace what it really is.
More than Attraction
Genuine love is much more than attraction. You can be attracted to someone for a variety of reasons. And, sadly, some of those reasons can be pretty unhealthy. You might think you have found a hero or a rescuer. Perhaps a physical attraction seems overwhelming. But neither the attraction you feel nor the strength of it tells you whether love is present or how authentic it might be. The hold someone has on you or the degree to which you desire them can be quite powerful. But neither of those things is a true barometer of love.
Some narcissists have incredible impression management skills. And their manner of relating can be powerfully seductive. (See, for example: Narcissistic Charm Can Easily Blindside.) (See, also: Emotional Romeos Are Masters of Seduction.) You don’t learn what little genuine love they have for you until much later, often when it’s too late.
We often come to relationships with many needs, desires, and hopes. And sometimes it seems like the other person fulfills these things. When that happens, we can fall, and fall hard. It takes time and experience within the relationship to appreciate what manner of love is truly present and a partner’s true capacity to display it and remain committed.
This week’s Character Matters podcast wraps up the series on genuine love. A new series begins next week.