Lies The Media Tells us – Part II: Love

Curse all of the romantic movies in existence, for giving us all a false of hope about what love is supposed to be like and for intentionally failing to tell us what love isn’t. Especially you Disney, for nearly 100 years you have been planting false truths in the minds of billions of young, naive, gullible, extremely susceptible children all around the world.

We have all watched the classics like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog,  Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty etc etc. And while I do not want to take anything away from these brilliant stories and the life lessons that they attempted to capture and distill to the public, I do want to stress that when I was first exposed to these movies as a young child, I had no idea (not even the slightest) that my entire concept and understanding of love, life and relationships would be fundamentally based on these stories for decades and decades to come. Leading me to live a life chasing bright blue, rapidly flowing, non-existent waterfalls – based on dreams marketed and sold to me by movies/shows/books that I was introduced to very early in my youth.

Thanks to the media, there have been decades of cliche stories about romance, love and emotion that have repeatedly and tactfully tricked our mind into adopting extremely dangerous and self-sabotaging views on life, relationships and love, leading us to live our life either:

A) Eternally waiting for prince charming to magically appear at our front door, holding a red bouquet of roses.

or

B) Repeatedly trying to turn creepy, slimy frogs into handsome princes by the supposed magic power of our kisses, with no success.

<begins mini rant >

21st-century women are out here complaining about “fuck boys” all day every day on social media like it’s a recent phenomenon – yet fuck boys were strategically introduced to you years ago in these same cartoons and movies that you watched – you just were too young to see them for what they really were. (see link at end of article)

<ends mini rant>

Thankfully I have been able to undergo a lot of introspection and self-observation over recent months into how my actions and thoughts have been severely affected by the many lies I have been subjected to and I have put together a short list of the most damaging lies that I have been led to believe over the years:

1. The perfect person for you exists and they are out there just waiting for you to find them.

First of all, even if this was true, out of the 7.5 billion people that exist in +-195 countries around the world today – what are the chances that you would even find this person? I mean come on guys – wake up. The love of your life is not someone who is uniquely formed, specific to your needs, who lives his/her life patiently waiting to miraculously bump into you, your life is not Pokemon Go people. This is real life. I’ll be the first to confess that I am guilty as charged here. For the longest of times, I had this belief that I will bump into the woman of my dreams at a bookstore or coffee shop one day. She’d be holding a medium sized, highly rated, non-fiction book, written by an author that I absolutely adore, then she’d slowly raise her head and we’d suddenly stare deeply into each others’ eyes and then bam! Done deal, wedding bells, 2 grand-kids for Mom and a 10-year mortgage bond soon after. – Why did I think this way? Because movies 😦 . Curse you Hollywood!

The reality of the situation is that finding this “perfect” person is really just trial and error for the most part. And please note that before you decide to commit your life to finding this “perfect” partner, you need to intimately know yourself and what you personally like/dislike before you can ever find the one who is “perfect” for you. And you need to understand that you can’t undergo this process alone. The only way to comprehensively learn more about yourself is through interactions with other people. Yes, some people get lucky by falling helplessly in mutual love with the first person they date and they somehow manage to grow with each other and explore the rest of their lives together (well-done guys, we are jealous yes, but really happy for you 🙂 ), and others, like me, have to experiment few more times to get there. C’est la vie, deal with it.

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2. Love at first sight.

Please, if it has to be anything at first sight then it is physical attraction at first sight. When you first see someone, you build a mental projection of them in your mind, based on what you see. So if there is any love at all involved at this stage then it can only be with that projection that you’ve built of them. And then, if he/she is kind enough to give you the light of day, it’s only during the subsequent “let’s get to know each other process” that the discrepancies between who you thought they were and who they actually are, come to light. So it’s clear to see that the mental/emotional attraction takes a while to form – but the physical attraction is definitely there from day 1, and hopefully, remains in contact when you wake up next to them on the morning of day 2 😛

With this said, we need to understand that we really romanticise love, interactions and relationships. In my opinion, humans are simply animals, and thus when it comes to the opposite sex, our first instinctive priority is naturally to propagate our species, not to Netflix and Chill, or go for long walks on the beach. So for the most part, when you are initially attracted to someone, it’s not solely because they look mentally and emotionally stimulating leading, you to want to stare in their eyes and whisper sweet nothings into their ears each and every day. Yes while this may be a factor, majority of the time, the underlying reason is that you want to make babies with them and you see them as an ideal candidate to father/mother your hypothetical kids. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but we’re all grown-ups here, so let’s accept this for what it is.

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3. Living happily ever after

We are lead to believe that when we do finally find this perfect person who was intentionally custom made, incubated and birthed to be only with us, that we shall then live happily ever after, and things will be magical, there will be smiles, laughs and giggles right up until the day we part from this Earthly dimension as we crossover to the other side, peacefully in our sleep, holding hands lying next to each other, deep deep deep into our old age of ever afterlyness.

Please, spare me the nonsense – we all need to understand that love/relationships are heavily romanticised, inter-human relationships are no stroll in the park. You will argue, you will fight, you will possibly detest the sight of each other, you might break up, you might make up, the list goes on and on. We need to deeply internalise this before we concede to living the majority of our lives unnecessarily making personal compromises for the sake of maintaining a happy, perfect relationship. I honestly believe that if you are in a long term relationship and have never ever argued/disagreed, then something’s wrong fam.

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And last but certainly not least:

4. Love conquers all:

Uhm no, it doesn’t. While we are here I’d like to make a special mention to Justin Bieber’s song : As Long as You Love me. Please let’s spare a few seconds to analyse some of the bogus dream-selling lyrics in the chorus:

As long as you love me

We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke

As long as you love me

I’ll be your platinum, I’ll be your silver, and I’ll be your gold

Yeah, I mean the song is catchy, and all and the guy has a great voice but you want to tell me that “love” an abstract noun, can conquer hunger, shelter and financial security? Like really? These items are on the first two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the foundation of the pyramid!! So please – let’s not lie to each other here.

We really need to understand that a feeling of “like”, “love”, “understanding”, whatever you want to call it, that you have towards your partner is only the beginning. But over and above that, when it comes to thriving in an intimate, long-term relationship there is a lot more aspects to consider than just cuddles, hugs and kisses and we need to be fully aware of this.

To further prove my point I have included the below list of the top 10 reasons for divorce in South Africa (check link below for more details):

10. Difference in priorities
9. Religious Differences
8. Parental Responsibilities
7. Finances (please take note Justin Bieber)
6. Sexual incompatibility
5. Addiction
4. Social Networks – Facebook, Twitter etc
3. Marriage Infidelity (the usual suspect)
2. Physical, psychological, financial or emotional abuse
1. Lack of communication

Please note that these 10 issues listed above are not just targetted at intimate relationships alone, as they apply to relationships in general, whether it be intimate, platonic or business. Personally, from being in business for the past 3-4 years, I have witnessed how numbers 10, 7 and 1 can have a significantly negative impact on professional relationships – whether it be with employees, co-founders or clients alike, but yes those are stories for another day.

Again, the above four points are by no means an exhaustive list of how the media has negatively impacted our lives, I could honestly go on forever. However, I do believe that it is a good summary of some of the most prevalent misconceptions that we have about love, life and relationships.

In my next post in the series, I’ll be writing about work, careers, ‘passion’, money and the many lies we are told regarding what do do with our valuable time here on Earth.

Interesting links

  1. Top 10 Disney Fuck boys (article)
  2. The history of marriage (video)
  3. Top 10 reasons for divorce in South Africa (article)
  4. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (article, with a video)

#T4aM

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