In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in my series we’ve been looking at obstacles on the way to true love by focusing on the triangular nature of desire – that we learn what to desire by imitating the desires of others. You might be wondering how we choose who to imitate. All of us in our daily lives encounter many, many people to imitate. Family and friends are obvious choices and so are celebrities and even popular fictional characters like Katniss Everdeen or Harry Potter. If we do begin to imitate them, however unconsciously, we call these people our models of desire. Naturally we tend to imitate people with qualities we’d like to possess. Why some of us want to be Katniss and others Madame Curie is a bit of a mystery, but that’s what makes us all unique. We all learn what to desire by imitating the desires of others, but we are not all drawn to imitate the same models.
One way the triangle of desire works is that when we admire someone and want to be just like them, we begin to desire the things our model has. We want to wear the same clothes, style our hair the same way, or cast spells like them or maybe wield a bow and arrow. One common mistake in our very materialistic culture is that we often think that by possessing the objects our models possess we can possess the qualities that we admire. If I wear Harry Potter glasses, for example, I feel gifted with special powers. Or if I wear my hair in a Katniss braid, I am a strong and natural leader. This is more than play acting or a game children play. Look at yourself and the things you own – can you tell who your models of desire are by your clothes, your hairstyle or your material possessions? We all can! All desire for things passes through a model, whether those models are real, fictitious or abstract like a cultural value for beauty.
Of course, no one wants to be thought of as an imitator! What we all really want is to be the one and only original, the one that everyone else wants to imitate! I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the object of some else’s admiration? We all want others to love us, to call us friends, to value us as colleagues and just want to hang out with us. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. It’s what makes us seek out the company of others rather than live in isolation. In other words, it’s what makes us human – we are the most social animal in the animal kingdom.
But if we get drawn into wishful thinking that a more fashionable hairstyle or a fancier car will get us the love we crave, we may fall into the Rock Star tangle. If you think of a real (stereotypical) Rock Star and you will see why I called this tangle after him. A Rock Star can fall into the trap of accumulating things as evidence of how much they are worth. Gold records, gold jewelry, expensive cars, mansions equipped with recording studios and bowling alleys and movie theaters – these become the outward signs of the Rock Star’s inner worth.
Unfortunately, if you get caught in the Rock Star tangle you may find yourself treating your lover as just another prized possession. You tend to fall in love with people who will do wonders for your image, as if they are just another fancy thing you own. The more perfectly beautiful, smart or talented their lover, the more the Rock Star’s self-esteem soars. But if they find a flaw in their lover, the Rock Star can become quickly disenchanted. Rock Stars tend to toss out lovers the way they’d discard a broken mirror.
If you fall into the Rock Star pattern, your path to true love will open up when you recognize that your inner worth cannot be diminished or increased by outward signs and that you must not use others as objects to enhance your reputation. Then you will be able to choose a lover for their inner worth who will lovingly recognize your own.
Editor’s Note: Is the Rock Star pattern not your type? Find out your own romantic pattern with The Wicked Truth About Love Questionnaire and stay tuned between now and Valentine’s Day to learn more about the six patterns of desire and which one leads to true love! Then join Suzanne Ross and Adam Ericksen as they discuss the book on February 14 at 10 am Central on the Raven Foundation Facebook page!
The Wicked Truth About Love: The Tangles of Desire contains a full discussion of the triangular nature of desire and all the tangles, including advice on how to get untangled and back on the path to love. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Image: Susan Drawaugh