Life's a bitch and she's got me pussy whipped.
Regardless of whether its reachable, is the ideal of pure, selfless love even preferable? There's nothing wrong with fulfilling ourselves and our own desires. If everyone was totally selfless, our acts of selflessness wouldn't have any significance -- doing things for other people is fulfilling becaue those people aren't purely selfless. Besides, if you are constantly concerned with being selfless, aren't you really just fulfilling your own need to think of yourself as a certain kind of person and to live up to a certain ideal?
Love is so complex; you're right, it's both selfless and selfish, but it's also neither selfless nor selfish. It's a constant current of attraction and repulsion, togetherness and separation fighting each other. At a certain point, I think you just gotta get out of your head and go with what feels right because love is irrational. Unfortunately, this is the only solid principle I can find when it comes to love.
Sometimes we're selfish and self-gratifying and possessive, and sometimes we're giving, and unselfish and loving. Sometimes we're a little crazy, and sometimes wise and discerning. It's a dynamic mixture, and there is no one single moment that can be captured, frozen, and held onto as an ideal love. Passion, pursuit and desire, and kindness, patience and understanding, support and quiet, conflict, pushing each other, competition, rest; each of these things comes and goes and comes again. To try to grab one little part, and say "this is love" and hold onto it blinds you to all the rest that is important to the process too.
Friendships aren't stagnant. They go through ups and downs, conflicts, understanding and so on, and usually there's growth there, for both people, they both get better through knowing each other (if they allow themselves to learn and grow.) Love relationships are the same, but that friendship has a chance to be deeper and more involved, and more expressed and you both learn about yourselves, and about each other, and it's good. But you can't hold on to a certain moment, or certain way of relating, or certain feeling, putting that one thing on a pedestal, and trying to capture, or recapture that ideal, or you'll fail to appreciate all the others, and you'll stop the process and begin stagnating.
Anyway, yeah, it's good to keep a handle on your own intentions and wants, and try to understand them, and yourself. It's not hard to get carried away in pushing for something without taking stock of what you're doing, and reflecting with some honesty is a good idea. But, just because you might be selfish and self-serving sometimes, doesn't mean you're not loving other times, and that you can't grow with someone in a balance that is good for both of you. All of those aspects are just human, and it's definitely not a bad thing to have someone navigating them with you.
What is often felt as "love" can in fact have nothing to do with actual love. I found this particularly profound:
The pretense of love. The variety of feelings and strivings that can be covered by the term love or that are subjectively felt as such is astonishing. It may cover parasitic expectations on the part of a person who feels too weak or too empty to live his own life. In a more aggressive form it may cover a desire to exploit the partner, to gain through him success, prestige, and power. It may express a need to conquer someone and to triumph over him, or to merge with a partner and live through him, perhaps in a sadistic way. It may mean a need to be admired, and so secure affirmation for one's idealized image. For the very reason that love in our civilization is so rarely a genuine affection, maltreatment and betrayal abound. We are left with the impression, then, that love turns into contempt, hate, or indifference. But love does not swing around so easily. The fact is that the feelings and strivings prompting pseudo love eventually come to the surface. Needless to say, this pretense operates in the parent-child relation and in friendship as well as in sexual relationships.
That's been actually a question that has been on my mind a lot of late - how do I know that I actually love him?
I have now come to the conclusion that love for another human being is wanting the best for that other person. If you do not love them, you love yourself more then them. But, if you care more about what is best for them then what is best for you, that is what love really is.
For the longest time the guy I cared about I did not love as much as myself. I wanted him around as a friend, but I wanted him to act "in a certain way" because, it was the "right thing to do". Now, I have come to care for him more then I care for myself. I may grimace slightly when he does something that I'm not too keen on, but I would never hurt him by telling him that he was wrong - that he needed to change his personality in a certain way to become more "acceptable to my friends - and to me."
I used to consider him a man with a lot of walls, that didn't care for others. That had a plastic heart completely void of emotion. [To be honest, I was rather jealous of him for that. :wink:] Now I see him as a man easily hurt, that cares deeply for others but just doesn't know how to say it. It's almost as though I pity him, for he's so clueless in the social realm and so paranoid of others. But at the same time I admire him, because he's such a sweetie pie in the core of his heart. Honestly, he has a lot of love in him he just doesn't know how to say it. . .
Now, when he does things that hurt me, I may be upset, but in the end I forgive him readily. Before, I would be rather upset and confront him on it because "he should have know better."
Now, I can honestly say that I would still want to be friends if he turned me down as a potential lover. Before, I would have made his life miserable if he had ever dared to not love me back.
I think it's an ESFj/ESE thing. . . . we feel like we need to manipulate every situation to our own advantage. When we don't feel this need, it generally means that a) we don't care about you whatsoever, or, b) we love you genuinely. [And that I find, is a very rare occurrence in my life and probably a lot of ESFj's. . . ]
Those who have experienced this societal representation can tell you that it's not anything they say it is. If you want a different take, I see it as blown out of proportion by all types of media and it is this idealization that convinces many that they must pursue it, namely because these people lack something to pursue in the first place. It is a filler of the empty space in their lives and minds.
You can see for yourself that love cannot be had due to its inhuman and excessive demands and strains it places on the 'couple'. With that said, I will answer your questions.Your life can be more rich, full and happy without this thing. I think if you throw the concept to the ground and embrace instead a love for yourself, for humanity and what you want to see in the world, you will instill a feeling in your head akin to the 'happy feelings' for all individuals so many wish to attribute to a single 'love' and the supposed monopoly on happiness this single person would create for you.