“When I’m in my studio and I’m creating something cool, I’m blond, tall and I look like Cameron Diaz. As soon as I get out, I become a dull, insipid woman with sinusitis.”(Sara Bini)
How do you fall in love? Who do you fall in love with?
I sometimes pause and think about this curious phenomenon - and I may marvel at our even more curious way to deal and live with it. For instance, one thing that has always fascinated me is the process of identification with the beloved. This becomes especially evident in those teenagers who get a crush on ‘impossible people’ such as movie or music stars. We usually smile when she see an adolescent behaving exactly like his favorite actor or singer. Yet, from another point of view, the situation isn’t so trivial or superficial.
To start with, impossible love reflects the feeling back to the sender, who is called to face the frustration of his desire and find alternative ways to deal with such a powerful energy flow. Emulating the loved one becomes thus an indirect method to take over him/her. If the object of desire is chosen because it represents something good, falling in love with it could actually enrich and empower the lover’s personality.
Here is where also the idealization mechanism comes into play. Most of us have clearly experienced idealization as mechanism that can’t be simply confined to teenagers’ infatuations. Otherwise there would be no disastrous disappointments and disillusionments about romantic or friendly relationship between adults. Idealizing means smothering the loved one with qualities he/she doesn’t possess; plus, we more or less intentionally neglect his limitations and dark sides.
Who or what do we see in our partner? If we really cherish his/her virtues - whether they are strength, tenderness, courage, self-confidence, intelligence or culture - what don’t we try to develop them in ourselves? In this way they’ll never leave us, in spite of all the inevitable delusions we’ll have to face in human relations and which we will unwillingly inflict on other people.
Generally speaking, we are not accustomed to learn for ourselves the qualities we love in our partners: we are not even trained or educated to envisage this possibility. It doesn’t barely come into our minds that if we are capable of conceiving such qualities, they are not so alien to us and we might already possess them inside of us, even if just potentially.
Of course beginning to work on ourselves in order to evoke and cultivate certain potentials sounds much less appealing than to benefit from someone else’s ones. In my opinion, every true marriage is an internal business: it comes from a genuine integration and self-realization process which slowly takes place in the individual. Our partner or our friends can be an extraordinary starting point to get glimpses of the possibilities we haven’t ever really thought of.
Let me say that here I’m describing pretty healthy relationships, not the ones where we get more attracted by the negatives than by the positives in our partner. I don’t even mention those relationships which are only based on sex or money issues such as financial security, social approval or prestige. Whether we are dealing with love requited or ‘un’, we can anyway explore the motives of our ‘fatal attractions’ and maybe discover something interesting about ourselves . Eventually, we might also gain more and more independence from other people’s approval or opinion.
Ph. Chiara Benelli e Leon
To have a Counseling Session, also online please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the site www.sarabini.com