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Love is probably one of the most frequently used words in modern world media. In almost every song of a popular singer and many romantic movies, the topic of love and romantic relationships is paramount. It is relevant and understandable for people from different parts of the world, with diverse backgrounds, genders, or ages. Despite such ubiquity of love in contemporary societies, the notion of this feeling seems to be misperceived and even idealized without any regard to reality. As Sam Keen (1997) states in his book To Love and Be Loved, “I can offer no final explanations for why we idealize love so much and practice it so little” (p. 7). In this essay, the opposition between love as an idealized concept and its real manifestations is examined with attention to the reasons why people fail to practice sincere love.
Trying to explain the different forms of love in people’s lives, the author of To Love and Be Loved elaborates on how they should be experienced and how meaningful each of them is. Keen (1997) perceives love, not as a miracle that is portrayed as perfection in movies but as hard work that requires patience, skills, and time. However diverse the forms of love are, from simple signs of attention to a friend to sexual appeal and desire to a spouse, the author emphasizes that modern society idealizes love (Keen, 1997). Probably, such idealization leads to the situation when the majority of media-dependent people cannot live up to the imposed standard of love and fail to experience the true feeling in reality. The most disturbing fact about it all is that even the person who shows a great level of expertise in this field finds it inexplicable why people prefer imaginary feelings to a real one.
Throughout the history of humanity, there have been millions of love stories created and written down in poems, novels, screenplays, theatrical scenarios, cartoons, and other works of art. People in the twenty-first century have an opportunity to use the rich experience the societies have collected to understand what love is and how to live a life full of love. However, it seems that such a great scope of exemplary cases related to love portrayal in old and new media caused an opposite effect. Indeed, the words of Keen (1997) find their proofs in the fact that people have too much to follow and imitate instead of simply freely experiencing the feeling. The imposition of artificially created traditional images of partners in love is accepted as an example to follow. And if one’s relationship does not comply with the ideal, a person engages in insincere behavior to imitate the imposed image.
As a conclusion of the discussion, people in the modern world are overloaded with perfect images and media portrayals of ideal love and immaculate relationships. However, they only idealize this feeling not actually practicing it in their everyday lives. People know so much about love, and that is why they try to experience it rationally rather than spiritually. However, it is impossible to live someone else’s life, as well as it is impossible to experience someone else’s love story because every relationship is unique and has to be treated accordingly. When people not only know that but also understand and accept, they will be able to love and be loved.
Keen, S. (1997). To love and be loved. New York, NY: Bantam Books.