What makes us worthy of receiving love when we are crippled by our anxieties. Overwhelmed by our fears, living routinely within mistakes, and our doubts prevent the blossoming of our ambition. Because we have so little love for ourselves we continue chasing people that offer unrequited love. Hoping forever that this angel will provide us with everything that can heal us internally. However, with much anticipation and pain, there comes a time when love has enters into our lives. We are, however, unable to reciprocate the strange mix of ingredients that produce love. Alain De Botton On Acceptance provides us the tools to develop, sustain, and nurture love.
If we are unable to love the reflection in our mirrors every love will be corrupted. Because we know the secrets we hide, the shame we conceal, and everything that makes us question our lovability. Allowing ourselves to accept someone loves us is always terrifying. Our lovers are reflections of our beauty, and our insecurity. One must be able to receive love in order to embrace love. Alain De Botton, throughout On Love, dives into our desire to receive the love we’ve always craved. But articulates our inability to reciprocate saying:
When we look at someone (an angel) from a position of unrequited love and imagine the pleasures that being in heaven with them might bring us, we are prone to overlook a significant danger: how soon their attractions might pale if they began to love us back. We fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as ideal as we are corrupt. But what if such a being were one day to turn around and love us back? How could they be divine as we had hoped to approve of someone like us? If in order to love, we must believe that the beloved surpasses us in some way. Does not a cruel paradox emerge when we witness this love returned? ‘Ifs/he really is so wonderful, how could s/he could love someone like me?
Receiving and reciprocating love is no easy task. There are many fairy tales, fables, and assumptions around the responsibility of love. He is unable to fight for his sanity. Forgetting that our ability to receive love reflects the way we treat ourselves. There may be nothing more difficult, nothing more simplified, nothing more romanticized than the journey towards self love.
Without being ready to receive and reciprocate love, we will never enjoy the hands, gentleness, and silence of another person. The acceptance of love is dependent upon our ability to accept our own lovability. Alains main character questions his own lovability. A fault of our species that makes us question our beauty, our potential, our capability, and ignore our desire to reflect this love saying:
In the course of a supremely mushy breakfast, I realized something that might perhaps have seemed obvious, but that struck me as both unexpected and complicated: that Chloe had begun to feel for me a little of what I had for many weeks felt for her.
It was this difficulty of receiving that struck me over breakfast, for though the croissants could not have been more buttery and the coffee more aromatic, something about the attention and affection they symbolized disturbed me. Chloe had opened her body to me the night before, in the morning she had opened her kitchen, but I could not now prevent a sense of uneasiness, that bordered on irritation, and amounted to the muffled thought: ‘What have I done to deserve this?
We all share the same desire to be loved, and this is felt when Alain’s character goes into our fear of being loved back:
Perhaps because the origins of a certain kind of love lie in an impulse to escape ourselves and our weaknesses by an alliance with the beautiful and noble. Albert Camus suggested that we fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally ‘together’ when subjectively, we feel dispersed and confused. Expecting to find the answer, we find only the duplicate of our own problem.
Some people have the power to liven our sacral chakra, and encourage a level of authenticity only matched by lovers of 66 years; others spark a desire to create a imagined self–a self manipulated to gain the desire of the lover. When that love is discovered, it must be cherished, nurtured, and allowed to blossom within our authentic selves. Love comes under the philosophical microscope. An entire chapter is devoted to the nuances and subtexts of an initial date. Another chapter mulls over the question of how and when to say ‘I love you’. There’s an essay on how uncomfortable it can be to disagree with a lover’s taste in shoes and a lengthy discussion about the role of guilt in love. Continue reading Alain De Botton On healing while in love.