The prevailing image of love today is one of raw, unadulterated desire. One of unconditional irreverence and worship. Passion that dazes you and leaves you short of breath. A love comprised of indestructible energy and the unfailing laws of attraction. Heaven.
We are constantly bombarded with this image —on television, in movies, in art and in music. But this image also carries a more insidious undertone: that our quest for intimacy should come before all else, and that we must fight for it even at the toll of ourselves. From this idea comes the common belief that relationships are nasty. That we are meant to feel bad or even feel unsafe in relationships and that we should hold on to them at the expense of our own emotions.
I am not advocating for collectively throwing ourselves off of a cliff like lemmings and ending all relationships that we feel challenged in. I am challenging the idea that relationships cannot be fulfilling, that we can’t co-exist without tearing each other down. I am saying that a loving relationship, where you both support each other’s goals — and help each other achieve them — is a perfectly real thing and that we can all get there.
How can we get to the point where our significant others respect us and make us feel safe? We need to love ourselves first and not settle for less.
That sounds selfish, but it is only when we are good with ourselves and know ourselves that we can then know what we want out of a relationship. Many of us have these thoughts floating around in our heads of what we want and who we want to be with. But often we choose the first person that comes by who only remotely fits into that mould, jumping headfirst into the opportunity and discarding our other desires and needs that are in those moments seemingly unimportant.
Those issues come up more often as time rolls by — and as the honeymoon goggles come off, the boxing gloves come out. Instead of compromising on certain things, we start to sacrifice them.
There’s a saying where I’m from, regularly touted as something between a universal truth and a religious piece of advice — “heaven helps those who help themselves.”
Help yourself. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Never play yourself.
And someday, maybe someone will love you too.
Olamide Olaniyan is a fourth-year economics and politics major and The Ubyssey's sports editor. He once got his head stuck in a stairwell banister, and once wrote a love poem about bacon cheeseburgers. If you've fallen in love, his number is 778-927-5073.