Independence and Individuality
Back in the day when I thought I would be a psychologist, I took a class called “Love and intimacy”. One of the very few things I remember was the theory of Eric Fromm, “The art of loving”. The basic concept is that true love maintains independence and individuality. Basically, when we truly love, the person loved adds to and enhances our life. They add to who we already are. Their absence does not remove or take away from us because we were this person before they came into our lives, therefore, we should remain at least that, no less. We cannot “die” without them because we should remain who we were before.
That theory almost makes the person sound like an accessory.
I understand the principle and it is a good one. Love who you will but remain who you are.
How difficult that is.
I hopefully know what he is referring to. The people who stop being who they are, cease doing the activities they did before, can only talk about the one they are involved with, cannot enjoy themselves in their absence, drive you crazy talking about them, yeah a little too much dependency.
But I have not felt a true love where I have been able to keep that independence and individuality to a 100%. In their absence – not a temporary but a definite break up – I have felt that a part of me was removed. I have felt incomplete, empty.
It took a hell of a long time to resume my normal activities without missing what “we” used to do. The places, the songs, the foods, the drinks, the moments, all felt different and inferior for a long time. I was who I was before…but I missed the hell out of them. Maybe who I was before was not as happy as I was with them. Maybe what Fromm referred to was not the kind of love that I felt. Maybe he never felt that kind of love.
Or maybe that is something to strive for, the legacy that a true love leaves behind, to remain as happy now that the bar was raised as I learned to be.