Cinderella taught us that men should chase after us. Ariel led us to believe that you should change who you are to be with someone. Belle made us believe that goodness can always be found even in the darkest of people. We grow up reading and watching these fairytales just knowing that one day our prince will find us, sweep us off our feet, and we will magically fall in love.
We will get married, we will have children, we will live this picturesque life in which we follow all of the traditional steps and have the seemingly storybook ending. We grow older and say ‘of course we don’t believe in fairytales’ –but there is still some small semblance of hope in all of us. The idea that this Disney version of soulmates are real, that love conquers all, that the romantic stories throughout the course of literary history are all true. All we have to do is be at the right place at the right time for this enchanting, poetic meeting.
I have lived with this idea of love for most of my life. This unsaid expectation that whoever I am supposed to end up with will be the love of my life from day one –that the stars will align and we will walk off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
This way of thinking prevents us from developing real and lasting love. Finding love in this generation is nearly impossible. We often focus solely on pheromones, appearance, and our individual goals. We are afraid of missing out on better prospects so we stay detached and develop these fo-relationships to stay ‘available’ if someone better comes along.
Real love is finding someone who balances your dysfunction (yes, I said dysfunction) and you, theirs. We all face some sort of fear in our lives, whether it’s abandonment, commitment, co-dependency, anxiety, intimacy, and so forth. This is what we should be searching for, the person who quiets our inner struggles. The person who helps us be the best possible version of ourselves we can be.
Real love is growing to appreciate everything that someone is –their being, their soul. There is this idea that the person you meet will be perfect for you, that they will fit the mental checklist you’ve had since you were in high school playing MASH on the afternoon bus. What would happen if you threw out your checklist? What if you just appreciated each person that you meet without trying to mold them into the checked boxes you so desperately want them to fill? Would we all be just a little bit happier in our relationships, in our lives?
It’s time we aspire to a different kind of love story, one that isn’t scripted, isn’t predictable, and isn’t always easy. An honest mind, body, and soul connection –the real kind of love that makes life worth living.