I can get my head turned by a good-looking guy as much as the next girl. But sexy doesn’t impress me. Smart impresses me, strength of character impresses me. But most of all, I am impressed by kindness. Kindness, I think, comes from learning hard lessons well, from falling and picking yourself up. It comes from surviving failure and loss. It implies an understanding of the human condition, forgives its many flaws and quirks. When I see that in someone, it fills me with admiration.
Lisa Unger, Beautiful Lies
It’s the only way I know how to show love.
We live in a society where romantic love is idealized: if we search long enough, we will find “the one,” the soulmate who is perfect for us, who will grow and change at the exact same rate we do, who loves us exactly as we are and never expects us to change, who always wants us sexually, never has bad breath or gets grouchy, and is perfectly desirable in every way. We expect our partner to fully meet us on an intellectual, physical, sexual, and spiritual basis; to be our lover, best friend, a companion, confidante, confessor, therapist, and family, all rolled into one. This sets up monumental expectations which all of us invariably fall short of.
We have all heard the maxim “If you do not love yourself, you will be unable to love anyone else.” It sounds good. Yet more often than not we feel some degree of confusion when we hear this statement. The confusion arises because most people who think they are not lovable have this perception because at some point in their lives they were socialized to see themselves as unlovable by forces outside their control. We are not born knowing how to love anyone, either ourselves or somebody else. However, we are born able to respond to care. As we grow we can give and receive attention, affection, and joy. Whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment.
bell hooks, All About Love