The idea of a person searching for their soul mate is a relatively new idea. Sixty years ago, people married because it was the social norm. When looking for a partner, people often approached it from a social and economic perspective. Will this person be able to give me children to work my farm? Will they be able to be the breadwinner and support a family?
People didn’t necessarily need to fall madly in love and have a laundry list of things they needed checked off in order to find a suitable partner. Many people started off with a partner they felt lukewarm about and worked hard to cultivate love in their marriage. It wasn’t totally shocking to see a couple married for 30-40 years like it is today.
Now everyone wants a storybook romance that would sell out every movie theater in the country. We have impossibly high standards that few of us could ever live up to. We don’t necessarily want to be perfect ourselves, but we certainly want the people we date to be.
I’m part of this problem. I’m one of the assholes out their in the world straight fucking up how people view relationships for generations to come. The thought of settling for anything less than perfect person seems intolerable.
Thinking about the concept of finding a soul mate and the “perfect person” made me curious. Did people always look for this deep-level of fulfillment, meaning and purpose in other aspects of their lives? What about in their careers? Is the idea of “do what you love and you will find your purpose in life” a new thing?
Where did all this searching for purpose in life come from? Is it something brought about by motivational speakers and bad movies? Do we search for deeper meaning because it’s what society tells us has value? Or is it something that transcends time and is worth spending our life trying to figure out?
We’re flooded with ideas of how life it supposed to be and when we compare that to our reality, we become dissatisfied and feel less than. We have access to so much knowledge, and even more so, the opinion of others who we think know what the fuck they’re talking about, that we get confused and aren’t sure how to process it all.
We’ve become lost in emotions and fluffy bullshit, so we create stories to make life match up with our fantasies. We want the fairy tale and the Ferrari to match. We don’t want to work 60 hours a week, make 50 grand a year and take our kids to eat at fucking Applebee’s. (more…)