Selfishness on Valentine's Day
Unfortunately, many of these clichťs, although they sound nice, are potentially destructive, and plant seeds that may bear fruit in unpleasant, unsatisfying relationships.
example, a new song by Jennifer Lopez asserts that "Love Donít
Cost a Thing." It seems that in general, people consider love
to be something that you give without expecting anything else in return.
After all, if you demand something back, youíre just being
selfish, right? And
arenít selfishness and love opposites?
the dominant view. But if
we think about it, love thatís given away for nothing isnít
desirable and isnít really love at all.
If you think about it, everyone is selfish when it comes to love. Do you pursue a potential romantic partner because you want to do them a favor? Of course not. You do it because of the benefits that you think you would receive from such a relationship. And you hope that you have enough to offer (in the way of values and other desirable attributes) that the other person will consider it worth his or her while to become involved with you.
someone claims to love you "unselfishly," he or she is
insulting you. That person
is essentially saying, "Iím not getting anything out of this, but
you need me so badly that, though it pains me and I know I could do
better, Iím selflessly sticking around."
The sort of person who would say that, implicitly or explicitly,
is not the sort of person whose "love" I would want!
it be better if everyone frankly acknowledged that theyíre selfish,
and that each person in a relationship wants the other one around
because he selfishly
wants the things that the other has to offer?
Thatís something each person should feel good about.
So love does cost something: your values. And just as a person who doesnít bring money to the grocery store doesnít deserve to get food, a person who doesnít bring value to a relationship doesnít deserve to get love.
romantic-sounding notion, also perpetuated by pop songs and romantic
comedy movies, is the idea that thereís "one perfect person"
for you out there. But
unless you believe in some mystical being (similar to the tooth fairy)
that magically brings ideal mates together, this is nonsense, too.
Worse, itís dangerous.
you think that the one youíre currently with is the only one for you,
youíre going to be absolutely devastated, and perhaps sent into
serious depression, when your relationship ends as, chances are, it
eventually will. Why put
yourself through that? Why
not just enjoy it for what itís worth, for as long as it lasts (maybe
another week, or maybe the rest of your life), without attaching cosmic,
earth-shattering importance to it, and spare yourself potentially
people are so attached to the "one perfect person" notion that
they canít let go of less-than-ideal relationships. Have you ever
observed a couple going through an extremely unpleasant time (perhaps an
extremely unpleasant lifetime)
because they feel that they need to preserve their relationship at all
people--whether dating, engaged, or married--are often addicted to the
ideas that the other person is "the one" for them, and that,
should the relationship end, theyíll be doomed to a lifetime of
loneliness and regret, because thereís no one else out there for them.
get me wrong--it surely is
possible to find someone who could be a satisfactory (or, we would hope,
excellent) companion for the rest of your life.
In fact, the reality is that, no matter who you are, there are countless
such people out there.
too many people restrict themselves with the idea that there can be only
one such person in the world, and these people often end up unhappily
stuck with someone who wasnít so right for them after all.
So if you find yourself alone this Valentineís Day, take it easy. And if you do have a significant other, tell them without apology that youíre with them because you are selfish. They should be flattered.
© 2001 J. H. Huebert