Want a book that will challenge your very notions of love? One that will help you to see why and how so many of us have been getting ourselves into a pickle when it comes to love, relationships and dating?
Then grab yourself a copy of The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.
It will blow your mind.
And what’s even more surprising is that it was written in the 1950s.
Written by Eric Fromm, it’s considered a seminal piece in love and relationships and remains just as relevant today as it was when it was written 60 years ago.
Why do we love it so much?
Well one of the most powerful messages in the book is that there is an art of loving and we can all learn how to be really good at it.
Rather than running around trying to ‘win’ love from people, Fromm sees it as a skill that we all need to learn.
He challenges the notion that love should be something that happens naturally and spontaneously. As if we should just instinctively know how to do it. Many of us don't! But even though we may agree with him, there is still such a stigma in seeking help in this area. And he says it is this that has us focusing more on how to be 'loveable' by acting in ways that we think will make us more attractive. When instead what we need to be doing is learning how to increase our capacity to give and receive love (both to ourselves and other people).
He takes a fascinating look at how our capitalist society has us approaching dating like we would shopping (and this was him writing 60 years before Tinder came on the scene!) and how that gets us even more stuck.
And he gives a nod to that stark contrast between the initial experience of ‘falling’ in love, and the permanent state of being in love, or as we might better say, of ‘standing in love’.
And that was one of those 'aha' moments for us.
STANDING IN LOVE.
We’re so used to the language in love being passive, things like 'I was swept of my feet', or 'I completely fell for him' so hearing this really stopped us in our tracks.
That initial experience of falling in love is so dreamy, we feel high on love, it’s the stuff Beyoncé sings about. We do indeed feel “Crazy in Love”. But the 'falling in love' moment is fleeting by it’s very nature and whilst we lose that lusty 'falling-in-love' feeling as our relationships develop, we gain so much more when we are firmly standing in love.
This book taught us that we all have a capacity to love, which means that we can become skilled in love. If we just get over the stigma of asking for help, we can become love pros!
How much richer would our relationships be if we were less consumed with how loveable we were and instead learnt how to cultivate love with all those important people around us. And rather than spending energy on finding someone to love us, we shifted that energy into learning about what makes a good relationship. And isn’t the view much better when you’re standing in love?
X Vicki and Selina