LOVE STARVATION. YES, it’s real, and completely present in our society. Most of us don’t know we’re starving because we’ve never been full. Most of our lives we’ve nibbled on whatever forms of love we could get our hands on, so when someone shows up with a buffet full of traits, habits and fixins’ we don’t really like, we still get excited!
“I think Mr. Ramone was going through a love starvation, and when you’re starving you’ll eat anything.” when Ms. Vanzant said these words after the Engaged and Enraged: A Couple in Crisis episode of Fix My Life, I put one hand up in the air in praise. #yesmamavanzant #preach #metoo
In the episode, we met Mr. Ramone and Ms. Jillian, a couple headed towards matrimony. They decided to come on the show to work through some surfacing issues in their connection and hopefully gain tools to strengthen their bond going forward. It quickly went down hill, but I applaud them for making the first step.
For the record, I had empathy and sympathy for this couple. I definitely know how it feels when you finally meet a person that you feel connected with on a level beyond the mundane chatter at the Cheesecake Factory and Netflix and Chill nights.
The moment when you feel all the way inside of love with someone and, WOW!, they actually want you back in the same way.
If you’re anything like the former me (I’m fixing my life too, lol.), you start handling this relationship like Dave Chapelle did his money. (Note the gif.)
Yes. You attempt to hold on to that delicious piece of person for dear life!
So what happens when you notice the first sign of dissension or disconnect? Why, you do what any person in his or her wrong mind would do. You ignore it, explain it away, or cover it up.
Honestly, I feel that the situation that Mr. Ramone and Ms. Jillian have is so recognizable in a world where we are grappling for ‘love’ while afraid to be truly vulnerable and express our wants, desires, hurts and fears.
Most of us are pining over connection, accepting any ole’ thing, with the goal (whether conscious or unconscious) of a wedding not a marriage. Truthfully, we are short term prepared with long term plans. Struggling with even basic acts of kindness, like sitting at the table with another person, fully hearing them, and allowing them to truly hear us, in a way that would resemble the love we claim to share. This, in part, comes from a disconnect with our own be-ingness and truth.
This is not just a romantic epidemic. It’s happening in all relationships.
How mANY RELATIONSHIPS can you truly lean into, and vulnerably share your feelings and desires?.
In 2018, Health Insurer Cigna, gave 20,000 adults an online survey of 20 statements and questions. They ‘graded’ these answers using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, which ranges from 20 to 80. Those scoring 43 and above were considered lonely. The average loneliness score in America is 44, suggesting that “most Americans are considered lonely,” according to the report.
Younger adults born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with respondents ages 72 and older who scored a lower average of 39.
This signaled more questions like, “With so much digital connection, why do we feel so disconnected? What do our elders know about connection that we do not? ”
I have a few working theories.
In the age of social media, we have bred a culture that feeds off attention rather than valuable heart to heart connection. Illusion has become everything, with curated content filling our timelines while the broken reality of our lives is kept private(or again used for likes and not grounded support), or overlaid by filters and fake friends.
We want love without responsibility. We crave instant satisfaction without realizing that romantic love, or any love for that matter, just does not work that way.
I definitely get it, the vulnerability of exposure is scary in the land where judgements are made by people hiding behind screens, afraid to live their own lives and fail as gracefully as you are, in order to be great.
And really, who needs all that grief when your next faux ‘relationship’ is just one swipe away?
I’d argue that you do. You deserve real love, it is your birthright, it is present for you, and inside of you.
All that being said, now we are here, wondering why we feel so alone, but we are so disconnected from ourselves that it makes it nearly impossible to be truly connected to another person. We allow for toxic relationships because something feels better than nothing, ( but not really.) Deep down, wishing that we could be seen, heard, and loved just as we are.
So what do the elders understand that we don’t?
For starters, our parents and grandparents didn’t have all of the access we do. They had to form connections the old fashion way, by using their personalities, building work relationships, joining groups, engaging with family. They built rapport and connection with people and maintained those bonds through actions of trust and communication. There is a natural level of commitment that comes with that level of connection. It seems more challenging to feel alone when you’re so richly known by real people.
Final thought: Right now, many of us are causing our own starvation. There is so much viable connection all around us, if we only dug in with our whole hearts instead of: recounting the false concepts of our unworthiness, believing someone should give us depth and connection while we protect ourselves and our desires, allowing for toxic relationships that don’t serve or feed us, creating toxic relationships so we can feel ‘something’ while controlling the situation, and overall sabatoge of connection due to the fears of shame and rejection that come with the idea of being vulnerable.
We are being supported in tearing down the ideas and constructs of what relationships and connection “should” look like, based on the broken bonds we grew up witnessing and the superficial connections that are currently glorified in our lives and on our screens.
In order to do that, we may have to look at the harsh truth: that love, feast or famine, maybe in our own hands.
This month I challenge myself and YOU to be as vulnerable as we can with ourselves and ask questions like these. After every question I’d like you to sit with yourself and repeat, “I am enough.”:
What would I want to feel like in connection with another person, if I could have it anyway I wanted?
What would my friendships feel like?
I AM ENOUGH.
How would I show up in these relationships so that they could feel the ways that I’ve imagined?
I am enough.
What would it feel like to be FULL of love?
I am enough.
Who would I have to be in order to let that kind of love in?
I am enough.