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Me, Myself & I

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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies. How about you?
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A Lot Like Purple is my personal blog.
I'm the only person responsible for its content and the views and opinions expressed here are solely mines.
What I write doesn't represent my clients or any other group, organization or agency.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

A ton of not so romantic and yet pivotal questions about attraction & falling in love, or just yet another blog post about the classic plot "Boy meets girl"

Boy meets girl... a classic and even archetypal plot that can describe in just three words the main idea of thousands of movies, books, songs, theatrical plays, comics and other kinds of storytelling. 

We could also say "Boy meets boy" or "Girl meets girl", if diversity, political correctness, and inclusion are as important to you as they are for me, and yet the sexual orientation of the individuals that are falling in love would not make such a great difference.

The mind I love must have wild places.
Katherine Mansfield  [1888-1923]

The most important thing is that two people, previously two strangers to each other, at some point get to know each other and fall in love.

[Boy Meets Girl by Brandon Kallmes,
© 2011-2013
Image source: dribbbe]

What exactly do we love, when we are in love? What do we find interesting and attractive in another person? Is this something that can change over time, or do we tend to fall in love over and over again in the same way? What kind of role do elements like specific locations, cultures, type of education, social status and a certain historical moment play?

[Funny movie poster of the classic comedy
Boy Meets Girl (USA, 1938) by Lloyd Bacon...
that has nothing in common with the movies
by Leos Carax (France, 1984) 
and Eric Schaeffer (USA, 2014), but the title]

One could think that these questions are not so relevant while dealing with such a big "thing" like falling in love. One could consider these questions too pragmatic, too rational, too unromantic.
Falling in love just happens, right? It makes click, and one doesn't know how and why, one just knows it and it feels so natural, right?
It may be, and yet I believe that those are very important questions, exactly because love is such a pivotal thing in everyone's life.
(Well, in the life of almost everyone, but we will spare that topic for another blog post, I promise)

Is falling in love - and even more keeping loving someone - something that is related to us as individuals, to us as a couple while we are together with our partners, or mostly related to them and their qualities only?

We are who we are, be­cause of those we choose to love and be­cause of those who love us. 
Kate Mosse

Do we love who they are, how they behave, what they do, what they say?
Do we love who we are, how we behave, what we do, what we say while spending time with them?

Do we love how they make us feel?
Do we love how we make them feel?

Do we love how our life together with them actually is right now or how we imagine that would and could be, at some point?
Do we love what we are capable of achieving and overcoming together, or thanks to our partners?

[Non so romantic, and yet incredibly interesting:
The science of falling in love as explained in this clear infographic]

Falling in love is not rocket science and most people could say that they just fall in love and that's all, folks!
So... end of the story, good night and good luck, sayonara and bye bye then? Not really. Finding answers to the questions above can be really tricky and overwhelming. It can cause emotional stress, bewilderment, frustration, fear, disappointment. It can force someone to think way too much about how one lives and how one would love to live instead, which kind of dreams and expectations one has, how one perceives herself and the others, what one considers possible to obtain in life, how worthy and lovable one thinks to be.

Do each of us have an answer already for all these questions?
I don't think so, and I know for sure that I didn't for a very long time. In fact, over one year ago someone asked me a very difficult question about love and attraction. A question that somehow generated all the questions I listed in this blog post.
I was not able to reply, back then. To put it better, I was able to reply in a very logical and factual way, but this would not be the right kind of answer for such question. I was able to reply about the "what", but I had no clue about how to explain the "how" and even fewer ideas about the "why".

Without being afraid of exaggerating, I could easily say that I spent many of the ensuing months while searching a good answer for that question. I thought about that while talking to different kinds of people about different kinds of topics, observing the fascinating human behavior patterns while spending time on plenty of dance floors, working out at the gym, taking classes, reading books and articles about different topics, networking, writing, meeting new people in different settings and so on.

[Attraction is not always as easy to explain 
as most romantic comedies would suggest:
Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore in
Laws of Attraction (Ireland/UK/Germany, 2004) by Peter Howitt]

The question was always there. Sometimes in the spotlight, sometimes behind the scenes.
And yet, the question was always there. Together with my frustration for not being able to find the answer. Together with some eureka moments, when someone said or did something that suddenly helped me out to get a little bit closer to the answer I was so desperately looking for.

At yet, like it's usually the case with a lot of stuff in life, human relationships, love and other catastrophes, I got what I was looking for so madly thanks to a moment of pure serendipity. I got what I was looking for while actually getting something else I didn't ask or look for. Like, at all.

Did the answer make me happier? Nope.
Did the answer help me to deal with love in a different way? Not really.
Did the answer change something, when I fell in love again, in the most unforeseen way ever? No way.

I could even say that getting that answer made it even more complicated for me to fall in love and to enjoy being in love, in the short run, because I spent a lot of time while ignoring everything not related to what - on paper only - would have perfectly fulfilled the conditions related to my answer.

On the other hand, in the long run, it helped me to perfectly understand which person I want to be while being single and while being in love. Which person I want to share my time, my projects and my life goals with.
Which aspects are absolutely mandatory and which ones are nice to have.
What I am not afraid to sacrifice during the journey and for what I am willing to fight like a tigress.
And to accept and acknowledge that all this can also not really look like my ideal scenario as such; on the contrary, it can look very much like a painful and disorienting learning experience that can reveal its magic over time.

Am I now able to reply to all these questions? Yes, sir.
Is this fact shaping my life day after day, in very surprising and stimulating ways? Yes, sir.
Is it now easy falling in love? Nope. And yet, totally worth it. For me.

How about you?
Did you ever ask yourself some of these questions? How did that change or influence your life, if at all?

Tags: Love, Falling in love, Self-awareness, Attraction, Relationships, Emotions, Boy meet Girl, Infographic, People, Quotes