Love Lessons From Erich Fromm
“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”
We are first attracted to someone because of a chemical compatibility. We want to be with them and can’t get enough of their touch. It is passion and it is an all burning sensation.
As time goes, passion starts to fizzle and either turns into love or the relationship ends. When we decide to be with someone we are also making the decision that as we get into life’s routines we will remember and honor the decision made. That is why a healthy long lasting relationship, requires respect, friendship and commitment. Because without a doubt there will be many occasions we will feel like throwing everything out for the chance to experience the cycle all over again. Deciding to be with someone and loving them should be based on friendship and admiration for the other person’s values, growth and struggles.
“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an ordination of character which determines the relatedness of the person to the whole world as a whole, not toward one object of love”
We all have love within us. It is up to us to connect and embrace this life energy source that is at our disposal. It isn’t true that we can’t feel love unless we are in love with someone else. Feeling love is a state of mind and heart that each one of us can apply to our lives and the world.
“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.”
If we really want to have a healthy and intimate relationship with another person, we must first acknowledge the love already exists and permeates our lives. We must know we don’t need to be in an intimate relationship to be in a state of love. We must know no one outside of our selves can turn us whole. We are whole to begin with.
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”
To be creative, to tap into our most original thinking and dreaming; we must let go of the notion of certainty. Creativity means exploration. It means enjoying the process without demand for a specific outcome.
“It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas and feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing on reason or mental health.”
On our search for well-being we are always confronting ideas that are accepted as “normal” by a majority but go against a truth we are in the process of unveiling. The result can be 1 – feeling outside the norms of society and therefore alone 2 – feeling less than as we are not fighting for the same goals but somehow allow our lives to be measured by those values which we no longer adhere to 3 – feeling like we give more than receive as we become more aware of other people’s needs and rights.
It is important that we continue to remind ourselves that our well-being and mental health is our own journey and the reward is a life well lived. Conforming to a consensual validation goes against finding our own truth.