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  • It's easy to be pessimistic about many things:

  • the state of the planet,

  • the economy,

  • the future of humanity,

  • ,and yet there's one area where many of us retain a curious sense of optimism.

  • We have faith that, from among the millions of our fellow human beings out there,

  • we will one day be able to locate a very special person,

  • a being uniquely well suited to our temperaments, tastes and aspirations;

  • someone who will feel like the missing bit of the complicated jigsaw of our deep selves - someone who can make us whole.

  • We know it won't be easy to find them. So many people seem nice, at first,

  • and then the problems emerge:

  • it turns out they have a very annoying sister

  • or they are far too nervous about things; always insisting on arriving at the airport three hours too early

  • or they have appalling taste in music

  • or their conversation after a long day at work leaves a lot to be desired.

  • That's why we keep searching: calling for more space, taking a break, getting divorced,

  • scrolling through future possibilities online

  • And though it seems like we must be very romantic to put such effort to finding the right person,

  • in truth, our perpetual search is really a refusal of love.

  • It is a guarantee that we can never succeed at relationships,

  • because in the end, the deep secret to love is that there is no right person.

  • There are perfect beings, we can imagine them very clearly,

  • but - tragically, they exist only in the upper atmosphere,

  • and never down here on Earth

  • It's the insistence on people being "right" that's at the root of rage and intolerance,

  • for we are never more furious than when we believe we had signed up to perfection.

  • And given what the human animal is like,

  • we can be guaranteed always to find something that isn't entirely right.

  • To be really romantic, truly committed to what love requires, we need a vital and rarely mentioned quality:

  • a healthy dose of PESSIMISM.

  • Pessimism about what even the most perfect-seeming person will really be like once one gets to know them

  • and with that pessimism comes forgiveness for the inevitably very long range of flaws that we'll discover in them, and they will - of course - discover in us.

  • An optimistic search for the perfect person commits us eventually to throwing away everyone we are ever likely to meet

  • Yet in truth, the person who is really best suited to us is NOT the person who shares all our tastes,

  • but the person who negotiates differences in taste intelligently and wisely.

  • Compatibility is an achievement of love; it can't be its precondition.

  • To be able to love properly, we have to attend a funeral first: we have to bury a lot of our hopes deep in the ground

  • That funeral is the most romantic thing we could ever do.

  • It will liberate us to go back out into the world and have proper human relationships that can endure, and flourish.

It's easy to be pessimistic about many things:

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How to Save Love with Pessimism

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    林彥廷 posted on 2015/07/30
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