The common-sense explanation for long-termsinglehood directs the blame firmly outwards,
it isolates the problem to one of mechanics:
one is still single because one hasn ’ t,
perhaps on account of having moved to a vast and anonymous new city,
been invited to enough parties,
or because the constant requirement to
fly to the Singapore office leaves no time
for the right sort of socializing,
or because one is holed up in a remote village high in
the mountains connected to the more
densely populated lowlands only by an irregular bus service.
These may be solid enough reasons,
but when the problems persist over an extended period,
their power to explain our situationweakens.
Without anything remotely persecutory
or unkind being intended by this,
one is forced to cast around for psychological rather than
procedural explanations. The problem must lie in our minds rather
than in the world.
Andin the recesses of these minds, two issues
– diametrical yet complimentary – canoften be identified: one is suffering from
an excess of self-hatred.
Or from an excessof self-love.
Self-hatred is the more poignant
of the pair.
On being approached by someone,however initially attractive and competent
they might be, we begin to wonder why they should be so naive,
so desperate, and so weak
as to be drawn to someone like us.
When weare inadequately convinced of our own likeability,
the attentions of another person must forever seem illegitimate and peculiar,
poorly on their donor.
Love feels like a gift we haven ’ t earned,
don ’ t deserve – and
must therefore take care eventually to throwaway.
We might, under the pressure of self-hatred,
accuse our admirer of naivety.
The only possible reason they can
have to approve of us is that
they are poor judges of character.
That iswhy they have missed all the more disturbed
and darker aspects of us.
They like us only
because they are blind – and therefore a
little stupid. However,
because they are bound to spot their error eventually, it is surely
wiser to run away before we are exposed andabandoned.
We end up alone because, despite
our longing for affection,
we don ’ t in essence feel there are any good and lasting reasons
why anyone would properly see us and likeus.
We may also, in the face of the gifts,
text messages or hugs we receive,
start to feel that our admirer is, to a sickening degree, needy.
We feel repulsed
by their need when we don ’ t see ourselves as appropriate targets
of anyone ’ s need;
we reject their nascent dependence because somewhere inside, we are
sure that we are not people to depend upon.
And yet, of course, none of these spectres
need to be real in the world outside our touchingly troubled minds.
The person who is keen on
几乎可以肯定不是天真的 毫无疑问 他们可以看清我们
us is almost certainly not naive. They canno doubt see us for what we are: they have
noticed many of our less admirable sides.
It is just that they don’t consider these fatal,
because they know
that being not quite right is what all of us are and is no barrier
to a mature relationship.
They know we ’ re not
exactly who we think we should be, but
they also grasp that this doesn ’ t place anyone
in the category of the damned.
有点扭曲 愚蠢 我们也许并没有
be a bit perverted, a little silly and not as nice
as we make out – but so is everyone else.
It ’ s not that they are naive about us;
we ’ re ultimately naive about them.
know that every human has shadow sides.
They’vemade peace with theirs (probably as a result
of a fortunate childhood );
they would like us to make peace with ours.
Ahead of us, they
understand that a person can be ordinarily imperfect – and worthy of being cherished. Then,
at the otherend of the spectrum, comes excessive self-love,
which really means a hesitation
around fully acknowledging what a challenging proposition
one is – and therefore how much we
should rightly be grateful for when someone, anyone
with an ordinary share of strengths and weaknesses,looks our way.
Perhaps because of the legacy
of doting and forgivably biased parents,
we are operating with an unhelpful sense of how
lucky someone might be to end up in our arms.
After having been alone for a long time, we
may also have lost the knack
of spotting what peculiar, demanding and compulsive people
we are. With no one to hold up a mirror,
we have forgotten to give due weight to the rage,
the anxiety and the moments of vindictiveness inside us.
At the same time, we are travelling the world
with our imaginations switched off,
imagination defined here as the capacity to look with energy,
compassion and curiosity
into the face and character of another person in order
to search out what might be desirable andgood therein.
What happens when we look without imagination?
好的 我看到一个相当不错的人 但是他的鼻子太大了 不行
Well we meet someone quite nice, but their nose is too big…”erm, no”.
或者看到工程师 工程师不谙世故 不行
Or they are an Engineer, Engineers are unsophisticated.”No”.
看到富人 富人太势利了 不行
Maybe they are rich?”Rich people are snobs, no.”
也许那人的头发稀少 秃顶的人不行 有很重的口音不行
Perhaps the hair is thining,”bald people aren’t our thing. no.” or they have a strong accent?”no”.
Imagination means sensitivity to the less obvious things;
one scans past the surface
and wonders about what might be worthy inside a fellow human,
whom it would – of course
– always be so easy (yet ultimately so unrewarding) to criticise.
What happens when we look with imagination?
We meet someone, they look conventional and
formal but we think they could turn out
to have playfull and wild sides too.
Or they look mousy but also maybe they are very whitty
around people they know well.
Or they do have a slightly wonky nose
but their eyes are very tender and their lips supprisingly sensual.
Or they do have a job that sounds unimpressive but
their interests are very broad and they might be the
ideal person to go around an antiques market with.
To awaken the dormant faculty of the imagination,
we might more regularly – perhaps in the street or
on the train to work – look at
the faces around us,
especially the less distinguished or obviously sculpted ones, and ask ourselves
what there could be to delight in.
There isalways going to be something, for we were
all once love-worthy children and remain asmuch in our depths.
Take an experiment.
if you were forced to love one of these candidates,
choose your favourite gender.
What might there be to fall in love with?
Practising imagination is not a compromise,
it is the key to love, for we all have to
be considered imaginatively
in order to be tolerated and forgiven over the long term
by anyone. By thinking imaginatively,
we ’ re not being disloyal to the true ambition of love;
we ’ re stumbling on the essence
of what love rightly has to involve.
always be practical reasons why it proves hard to find a partner.
But if we have worked
on our levels of self-love and attenuated the ravages of self-hatred,
an absence of
parties or a difficult bus ride to the
next town need never condemn us long-term to a
life devoid of tenderness and connection.
To learn more about Love, try our book on
请看”How to Fine Love “这本书 它解释了我们行为的类型
How to Find Love, which explains why we have the ‘ types
’ we do, and how our early experiences
shape how and whom we love