Illustrated by Emily Kowzan.
You've probably noticed by now that, in addition to being adorable, Zooey Deschanel is also really, really funny. So, it only makes sense that when she founded HelloGiggles, she enlisted the help of Sophia Rossi and Molly McAleer to create a hub for hilarity. Trust, the musings of HG — like this one from Alice Grist — will have you laughing out loud. This article was originally published on October 21.
Love is perfect. Human beings are not. You are human, so immediately, we have problems! No matter how soulful you may become in this lifetime, you are utterly prone to humanity’s weaknesses.
As far as our media-obsessed society is concerned, relationships fall into one of two categories: the sublime (desert island, sand, beautiful people) and the crazy (drunk, staggering, fights, drug addiction). We are very confused. We have no real say in what constitutes a perfect relationship for us, because we are focused on what makes a perfect relationship for that writhing couple on the billboard we pass twice a day. As a result, many of us chop and change partners, desperately seeking the right person for us, whilst not really recognizing that we are not yet the right person ourselves.
The sexual revolution was a great thing, but in so many respects, it has knocked our love-o-meters right off track. We are often found thinking with our genitalia, and so our chances of finding a "perfect" love are diminished considerably. The view of love we are sold is very much a sexual one. Just as our diet drinks are sexy, and our cars are sexy, everything has to be sexy. It is ridiculous. If things are not sexy, we reject them. The same goes for handbags, shoes, lipstick, and yes, love. Gosh I’m going to sound old fashioned, but whatever happened to friendship, partnership and companionship? Yes, sex is important, too — of course it is — but it is not the only thing we should be looking at. Tolerance, forgiveness, awareness of another person’s innate humanity and their flaws is an equally good place to start, though what we are willing to tolerate and forgive rests rather importantly on how much we love ourselves.
A perfect lover is a rather mythical beast. It is the stuff of fairy tales alone. I believe that love should be a little bit difficult. Realistically speaking, life is difficult, so why would we expect a lover to save us from that? Cushion the blows, yes — but love should not always be roses, romance, and complete unquestioning adoration. That way, a stalking obsession lies! I do not believe that anything in life is supposed to be perfect, seamless and fault-free. That is simply not the way of this human world. Relationships and love are supposed to get our blood pumping in more ways than just the one! As little sparks of soul, we are here to learn from each other and give to each other, not only through our perfections, but also through our faults. Relationships of all sorts are building blocks upon which to cement our understanding of the world. Our soulful know-how of the world is empowered by our interactions with others. So, please, let’s put down the stereotypes of how a perfect relationship looks, and instead focus on how to feel a perfect love.
A perfect love is one without conditions. It is a love that is powerful, strong, and true. No. Matter. What. That might seem beyond you, but it's not. You can love someone in spite of cruelties they inflict on you, even if that means leaving them. You can love someone and forgive them and walk away at the same time, if need be. You might also love someone and take on board his or her faults, and, slowly, over time, sort them out. Love is a perfect thing, people are imperfect: That is important to recognize. The best place to practice this perfect love thang is by practicing on ourselves.
So whether you're single or in a relationship, you can begin to experience perfect love by first acknowledging that you are imperfect, as are all other people. Then you just gotta love yourself despite this shocking revelation. Once you learn to love yourself for everything that you are (good and bad), then you are going to feel much more at home in your own life. When you know what you want out of life, you are less likely to follow the wrong path and trip up over a dozen inappropriate love interests. Love, when applied to yourself, unconditionally, can transform your life and provide a great little starting platform for finding another half or improving on an existing relationship. When you love yourself, you are the perfect lover, you are easy to love, you are happy, you are a joy to know, and you feel joy whether you are in a relationship or not! Being your own perfect lover allows you to free up a whole lot of head space (usually taken up by anxiety) to be a great friend, a wonderful mom, a caring sister, and a perfect lover — ohhh la la!
When you are enough for yourself, then anyone else is a bonus. When you love yourself, you can enjoy the company of a lover without a billion doubts plaguing your mind, causing anxiety, and leading to soap-opera-style relationship drama. Whilst you may love your soap operas, perfect love is not to be found in them. Their example is bleak. Real life perfect love is quieter than that, it is subtler; it is viable only when you can close the door and feel happy in your own skin.
Forget the media’s vision of writhing bodies, red roses and proposals atop the Eiffel Tower. It’s not real, it can’t be sustained. Perfect love is warts and all. It is cheap Chinese takeout, rows about directions, bickering over dinner and cuddles to make up. Perfect love is knowing yourself and choosing a partner based on that knowledge. Perfect love is not sex or appearance or coolness or beaches in Barbados. Perfect love is not frolicking in oceans. Perfect love will not be found because you own a certain item or wear a particular perfume. Perfect love is real love, and real love knows itself first. Real love involves work, it cannot be substituted for sex, romance, or fancy dinners. Real love thrives on imperfections, and it laughs at smelly farts. It goes on even after your first fall out, your third argument and your fiftieth bickering about the domestics.
Love can be a challenging task — a fun one — but also a mission of endurance, patience, and forgiveness. Only after all those things have been implemented can love become something close to perfect. If you wish to get involved with another human being, I suggest you get yourself ready for the journey! Spend some time alone, because perfect love starts with you. Enjoy your own company, laugh at your own jokes, practice self love in whatever format you find appropriate. Spend time treating yourself to whatever you want to be treated to, make yourself happy. You are a special little soul machine and it is important that you keep yourself blissed out before you can turn that bliss onto any other person. Love yourself. Lap up your own attention, get to know yourself, fall in love with your special self. Go on, do it now: Wrap yourself up in your own arms, and have a great big one-person hug. Kiss your hands and smile. This way, and only this way, perfect love may just lie…
This post was authored by Alice Grist.