To say that I’m sick of politics is like a chemo patient saying he feels under the weather. I’m dying here. I’ve pondered wearing earplugs to muffle the pundits. I’ve considered using Google glasses to program “Trump” and “Democrats” and “Republicans” out of my visual spectrum.
Because there’s one issue that must come before politics…
Our romantic relationships are the basic unit of civilization. Men and women have children and build families, which make up neighbourhoods, communities, cities, states, and nations. Basic logic, right?
And it takes civilized people to make a civilization. So how can we expect to have peaceful nations when our most basic relationships are downright crude? We have missions to Mars and particle colliders that are rumoured to open portals to new dimensions. But, when it comes to love… we’re dragging our knuckles on a flat Earth.
Our version of love is a cycle of insecurity
We can’t stand to be alone. But rather than learning to love our lives and find meaning alone, we place impossible standards for fulfillment on our lovers. We get a little security, and a lot of pleasure. But when the chemicals wear off, we’re left with the truth: We don’t know anything about our lovers.
And when we do get to know each other, we hate what we find. Then we split. But each split tears a thread in the fabric of our society, because family is our foundation.
We can thrust ourselves into heady political conversations, and pretend that our red (or blue) rage is going to build a better world. But those political solutions aren’t addressing the root cause of our pain. We just need to fix how we love first.
Foundations of love
Foundations are, well, foundational to success. So we pave them for our houses, we practice scales before learning a difficult piece of music, and we learn the fundamentals of math before going on to algebra and calculus. We know that we need a strong foundation for successful relationships, too. But who actually takes the time to build one?
Loving responsibly is hard. It seems outdated or religiously nonsensical by today’s standards (getting to know someone inside and out before you take them to bed?), but if you don’t have a strong foundation, you’ve got a house of cards. Just like every one of my previous relationships.
From age 12 I trained myself to objectify women by watching porn. And until my early twenties, I was more concerned about my next sexual fix than my career. I hooked up with girlfriends not because I wanted to love them with all my heart, but because they were my key to security and satisfaction — which I got, for a time. But the net result was an increasingly lonely, unfulfilled, and depressed version of me.
By the end of my last relationship, I seriously considered taking my own life. What was I doing wrong? After picking up reflective habits like journaling and meditation, I figured it out.
I wasn’t fulfilled alone. I was bored alone. And I was unsuccessful alone. But in my mind, relationships were magical things that would wash all the bad stuff away and make me happy — kind of like a drug. In reality, for each desire that I lacked on my own, like joy, or security, I was strangling my relationships with conditions.
I’d “love” a girl until I was no longer joyful with her, or until she bored me. Then, for each condition that she failed to meet — no one can be perfect 100% of the time — I withdrew my love from her, bit by bit. The withdrawals happened on her side, too.
By the end of my relationships, whether they were six-month flings or two-year engagements, the end was predictably uncivil. We abused each other with our language. We cheated on each other, and betrayed each other’s trust. We blamed each other on and on for what the other had failed to do. Almost sounds like our relationships with other countries…
But the real failure was in choosing each other as romantic partners. It was in pursuing love without getting to know each other’s values and character traits first — before we built a foundation. We gambled on placing our faith in each other. And, like most people, we lost. Big time.
Rather than castrating myself, or settling for an endless string of heartaches — somebody shoot me — I worked on the foundation of my next relationship. I worked on me.
I learned to lean into my insecurity
Instead of running for another girl when I got lonely, I leaned into my insecurity and learned more about me. I developed a prayer life and a relationship with God. And I stuck to my new habits of journaling and meditation.
Through mindfulness, I channeled my sexual desire into my goals and self improvement. I felt the urge to ogle gorgeous women, of course, and at 27, their beauty moves me now more than ever. But I trained myself to move in a positive direction, to express healthy emotions at a woman’s beauty — like gratitude, inspiration, and awe — instead of imagining how she could please me.
Then I took it a step further.
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I disciplined myself to think of a woman’s future husband. Would he respect me for the way I was thinking about her? And then I’d think of my future wife. If I couldn’t expect myself to view other wives with dignity and respect, how could I expect that of other men in looking at mine?
In my new way of thinking, I shed my selfish ways and became a man — and a neighbour, and a lover. A year into the habit I became independent for the first time in my life. I discovered my writing career and found success in it. And I became a role model for other people.
My dramatic life change happened because I figured out how to harness my sexual desire in an uplifting way. And in learning how to love civilly, I became a functioning part of civilization. *But people still call me out for not voting…
How you can love civilly
The way we think about each other determines how we act: civil, or uncivil. So you’ve got to train yourself to think respectful and positive thoughts — especially when it comes to beautiful men and women.
No matter how much we hope, the magical love chemicals can’t erase reality: We either love each other with respect, or we don’t. And if we don’t, our relationships will degrade, and our families will degrade. And as our broken relationships pick up steam down the social gradient, our communities degrade, and our cities degrade. And if the cycle of uncivil romance continues, states and nations will degrade as well. It’s basic logic.
So, you can talk about what these morons in office are doing to feel important and keep you occupied… or you can do something that actually makes a difference. You can learn to love like a human-fucking-being. Pardon my crude language.
Learn to love for the long term. Build faith in yourself. Quit porn and casual sex. Become so joyful and inspired by your own life that you couldn’t imagine expecting anyone else to be responsible for your happiness. Channel your sexual desire into your highest self. Use those urges to remind yourself of the things you haven’t done yet to become the person you want to be. Direct that energy into a future you would admire, and a person you’d be proud of.
And when you’ve changed the way you live and think, you’ll change the way you love. You’ll love civilly.
By your example, you’ll inspire others to take the harder path and to love civilly themselves. And when enough people do that… I won’t ever have to hear another political pundit for as long as I shall live. And I’ll thank you.
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