What we’ve (wrongly) been taught about love

What we’ve (wrongly) been taught about love

There isn’t any other topic that has been portrayed in films, music and books more than love.

This is because, in my opinion, the one single thing that we all crave the most is love. When we feel loved, we are safe. When we don’t, we feel uncertain. Humans like safety and hate uncertainty – this is how we’re wired. ⠀

The concept of love and relationships themselves are complex. Since love is what we want the most, its loss or just the idea of losing it brings to the surface all our insecurities and past wounds. ⠀

On top of that, the way love has been romanticised in our culture, creating an idealistic, picture-perfect expectation triggers our shame and our sense of inadequacy when we’re single (whether by choice or not) or when we’re in a relationship that doesn’t tick certain boxes (these boxes are not consciously ours, but what we’ve been told our relationship should look, feel like and be). ⠀

Below are only some of the shame-based beliefs we’ve been taught by our culture about love and relationships:

  • Our relationship status determines our self-worth & the respect we receive from others
  • Everyone’s destiny and purpose in life (especially women’s) is to get married & have children. If someone decides not to, they will regret it
  • Abandoning our own needs and dreams shows that we truly love someone
  • Finding the ‘one’ will fix all our problems
  • Until we enter a relationship, we are incomplete
  • Being single is never a desired relationship status and we should avoid it
  • Love is only found in relationships with others
  • A single woman is inadequate on her own but a single man simply knows how to enjoy life
  • Women are hysterical and oversensitive in relationships
  • Men shouldn’t show their vulnerabilities in relationships
  • Having arguments in a relationship isn’t healthy
  • Romantic intimacy should always look like a scene from a Hollywood movie, otherwise the relationship is failing
  • Sometimes it’s better to lie to our partner if our truth makes them uncomfortable

All these beliefs are social and cultural constructs and like all social constructs, they are made-up. Fiction. However, we’ve been served these by society as universal truths. The result is that the presence or absence of a relationship in our lives and, also the ‘image’ of this relationship affects the way we see ourselves and can have a real impact on our self-esteem.

One truth we haven’t been taught enough though is that self-love also counts as love and it’s the most nourishing and healing love of all. ⠀

In theory, this sounds easy but it isn’t. Learning to love ourselves, no matter what, is a life-long journey. I still struggle at times and I’m not the only one. It’s a path that never ends. ⠀

One day we take a step forward and we’re pleased with our progress, only to take a fall the very next day. We believe that these falls aren’t part of our itinerary and this is where most of us get it wrong.

These falls ARE the itinerary. No falls, no journey. No journey, no pain. No pain, no learning. No learning, no love.

Let’s keep falling, so that we keep loving.

Love & grace,

Effie ⠀


You want more of my stuff?

Follow me on Instagram and like my Facebook page, to join my community of #ShameBreakers. We’re exposing shame culture and helping create one for all.

Or read

How body image affects our self-esteem 

Your emotions are valid, even when they make others uncomfortable 

Heal your shame, heal your life 

Effie writes about and coaches people on Inner & Cultural Awakening helping them understand the connection between culture and our well-being, and build better lives based on a new self-awareness, while getting rid of biases that create separation between ourselves and others. She’s passionate about exposing the shame culture we live in and helping create one where everyone is and feels accepted, and the whole spectrum of human experience is normalised.

Photo by: Fabrizio Verrecchia