Do you believe in love at first sight? Romantic fool. Many people think they will fall in love, be smitten, with just a short gaze on that special person they were meant for. In fact, topdatingtips.com’s online survey reports that 71% of those polled believe in this, like the song says, “The first time ever I saw your face.”
Oh sure, it’s fine for poetry or movies, but let’s make sure we know fact from fiction. Now I’m not made of stone; I too have had my heartstrings pulled by seeing a member of the opposite sex for the first time. I was immediately attracted to my wife the first time I saw her. Attraction and infatuation, though, are not love. How many men think they’re “in love” with Britney Spears or Hillary Duff, and would pay top dollar for their used chewing gum on EBay? That’s why these women hire bodyguards. Do you think your soul mate will hire a bodyguard to keep you away?
Love is a deep appreciation you have for someone. It takes time. It builds. You need to spend time with the person and notice subtleties about their personality. It can’t happen instantaneously. An attraction can be immediate, but that’s not yet love. You’ll love your spouse more over time; the more you explore his/her mind and heart.
“Why,” you may ask, “do you want to burst my bubble? Let me have my fantasy.”
Because some serious problems affect our society due to so many people who equate infatuation with love. For instance, if you fall in love in an instant, you can fall out of love in an instant as well. Hello divorce rate. If you deeply appreciate your spouse’s character, you won’t soon want to leave, or even hurt her feelings, for that matter.
Another problem this wrong equation causes is that infatuation is dependent on physical looks, which change with time, circumstances, etc. If your feelings are dependent on physicality, you’re not in love with the person. As the sages say, “Any love that is dependent on something – remove that something, the love is removed.” The real person is the soul, that ephemeral somethingness that permeates the body. The body is merely your soul’s clothing while here on Earth, as the kabbalists attest.
Science advances our society in many ways. We have online dating, IVF, and ultrasound equipment, all things that certainly aid technical aspects of our relationships. But after millions of years, society has not progressed an inch in our ability to have successful relationships. In many ways, we seem to be worse.
It’s crucial that we, and the rest of humanity, find some ideas that will help us have more love between people. Email and breast augmentation aren’t going to do it.
Focus on someone you know and ask yourself what character traits you value in him/her. (From a mystical perspective what you are doing is recognizing the Godliness in the person.) This act increases your appreciation for the person, which increases your love. You and the other person both gain, whether or not it’s a romantic relationship. In a romantic relationship the benefit is multiplied.
The world could sure use more real love and less infatuation or superficial attraction going around. So hurry up and get started. And if you’re not sure just who to start with…well, you might just start with yourself.
Indeed, many say that to truly appreciate others, you must first learn to appreciate yourself, as the Torah states, “Love your fellow man as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18 It also seems that those who hate themselves tend to hurt others. We could eliminate an awful lot of hurt out there if we could somehow encourage more people to feel good about themselves.
Every society has the potential for terrorism from within. The U.S. had its own Oklahoma bombing. But doesn’t it seem that terrorism is much more prevalent amongst a society that is in the pits? Does someone who is really happy with himself want to destroy others? As one Afghani put it, “Americans can’t deal with terror. They’re not used to seeing people being killed. We see people dying every day.”
You can wage your own private war on terror, by appreciating yourself and appreciating others.
Heck, maybe it will just catch on.