I was tired and sweaty from my volleyball practice. It was already 10pm on a normal Tuesday. I showered and devoured my dinner. It almost looked like I hadn’t eaten in a week. The truth is I just wanted to be on time for the broadcasting of this drama series I was terribly hooked to.
“Mum, this is so unfair!” I yelled, “I have done everything I had to do today, and I’m old enough to stay up until it finishes. 1am is not that late. You’re just being dramatic!!” Obviously my mum wasn’t listening.
Looking back in time, I have to recognise my mum was right. The series was terrible. I realise now that her concern wasn’t my bedtime. It was what those shows (this particular one among others) were putting into my head. A strong, very muscly guy, fuming toxic masculinity. A poor defenceless girl who needed to be rescued. How cute, right? Actually, not cute at all.
Most of the insecurities and toxic behaviours we develop come from how much we normalise what we see on a screen. There’s no filter to it, it goes right into our brain. Especially a teenager’s brain. We don’t question it.
Years later I realised love was not the never-ending omnipotent feeling that I had seen on TV. It is not overwhelming beyond reason. It doesn’t paint everything around you with a pink brush. It’s not a constant draining feeling that should always be your priority no matter what it puts you through.
Love to me now is the feeling that I can share my happy path, (or rather my path towards being happy,) with someone else. Erich Fromm in “The art of love” defines love as an art. As something that should always have a foundation in the love you feel for yourself, above any other. I have come to learn that love is not an overwhelming feeling that falls on you and drowns you in happiness. The happiness has to come from within you, and only then you will be able to share it.
My question then is: why are we still teaching our teenagers toxic and destructive behaviours? Should we not fight for a healthier idea of love, so they can avoid the painful deconstructing process? Should we not teach our young ones to love themselves before they start loving anyone else? Should we not teach ourselves to love ourselves a little bit more? To me, that is the only way to achieve a healthy relationship, of any kind.