Why is love so hard to find?


By David Joel Miller.

Everyone looks for love but not many find it.

LoveOf all the topics to write about why love? Nothing comes up more in therapy that the subject of love. Despite all the books on love, all the love songs and the poems about love, few of us seem to be able to find the love we are looking for. Why?

Love is big business. There are dating sites devoted to finding your one true love and books on how to attract that love into your life, but still so many people are starved for love.

The 1960’s were full of expressions about love, love generation, summer of love, love child. One quote from long ago seemed to sum up the problem with a shortage of love.

“How come half the world is crying when the other half is crying too? Why can’t we get it together?” I remember hearing that, something close to that, from Janis Joplin shortly before she died.

One of the Jefferson Airplanes most remembered hits – Somebody to love. Despite all the looking for love there still seems to be a shortage.

There are several reasons we can’t seem to find enough love is this life.

If you don’t know what you are looking for how will you know it when you find it? Many of the things we say we want out of life are in short supply for just that reason. In psychology they have a term for this phenomenon – The expert effect. Sometimes we don’t recognize we have something until it is gone.

Possible if we all worked harder on loving others, not the lusting kind but the real caring for other people sort of love, we might be less hungry for love.

Where do you find love?

The greater problem, the reason love may be so elusive is that we have been misled about where love could be found. When we are young we think love comes from someone else. Parents love, caretakers love and the love of friends and associates these things seem to make us “feel loved.”

For many out there that “love” was contingent on doing or saying what that other person wanted from us. We began a lifelong search for someone who could love us enough for us to feel lovable.

The problem is confounded for those who learned to substitute sex for love. If you just had the right kind of sexual partner then you might feel loved. So we look for lovers and friends that can make us feel loved.

Humans are social creatures; there is no denying we need other people. But finding someone who can love us so completely that we will never feel unloved and unlovable again, that is a futile search.

The place we need to look for that fullness of love is the last place most people would ever think to search. If you are to ever feel really loved, you need to begin by loving yourself. For if you are not able to love yourself no other person will ever be able to fill you with love.

What if you are so far down that you can’t even love yourself?

That is the time we need to look for that higher power, that thing beyond ourselves and those other failed human relationships. Look for someone greater than yourself and by that I do not mean some earthly person.

Some find that unconditional love in a religious institution or in a recovery or 12 step group.

A saying around those tables is that other recovering people will love you until you are able to love yourself.

You can’t fill up that love shaped hole in your being by rushing around looking for the right person to love you. First you need to learn to love yourself and feel worthy of love and then you will be able to accept others love into your life.

Just my thoughts. What have you found out about solving this love shortage?

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog there is also a Facebook authors page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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