Self validation and joint narratives

The lovers validate the uniqueness and worth in mutual love. There is a chance for the lovers to be fully known in love, accepted without judgment, and loved despite all shortcomings. One desires to know and be known by the beloved. For some, love is the first occasion for a deep interest in the inwardness of another. Not just milestones in the Other’s life, but the most insignificant idiosyncrasies take on meaning and importance. What kind of food the beloved likes matter as much as who the beloved’s other lovers have been. Both are part of what makes the beloved who they are, their essence. The otherwise insignificant in oneself and ones beloved is treasured and assumes importance. There is a validation in love because all ones attributes are noticed and are of concern to the beloved. Our insecurities are healed, our importance guaranteed, only when we become the object of love.

Many people make instrumental use of us, just as we do of them. We reduce them to objects. We are not truly interested in the waiter; if we are the waiter,  we know that we are perceived principally as the instrument by which a glass of water may make its way to the table. We do not feel ourselves validated for our central and unique value until we are central  to someone else’s narrative.

Lovers must tell the truth about who they are for mutual validation to occur. Validation cannot be complete without full disclosure. People who are afraid to disclose the truth of who they are erect a barrier to falling in love, staying in love and in being redeemed through love.

Obsession and Possession

The lovers have an urgent, ceaseless need to make each other feel and confirm the fullness of their love in mutual love. They search each other’s faces for the effect of  each word, each thought, each idea, and  each glance when they are together. They can think nothing but of one another when they are apart. They wish to know all the time what the other is doing. The lover’s ruminating about everything feels almost like the lover is possessed. It’s as though thinking about the beloved is the same thing as embracing the beloved.

The ruminating in romantic love makes outsiders judgmental of love. However, the ruminating is at the very heart of love. It is what enables love to change a life. The working and reworking thoughts about the beloved begins to write the beloved into every experience and dream. The ruminating is a sign that a major change is occurring in the mind. There are changes occurring in allegiances, values, perceptions, goals and the sense of self. Identification with the beloved occurs as a result this working over process and a life is changed because of this. Now a picture of the beloved exists within the personality of the lover and enriches it.


So, a second way in which love can change a life is that the lover incorporates features of the beloved into themselves. A characteristic of romantic love is that the beloved’s feelings are as important as one’s own. The lover is always alternating between looking at the world through the perspective of the beloved and looking at the world from the lover’s own perspective. Eventually, the lover comes to identify with the beloved. Namely, the lover molds a part of the personality after the beloved. A change occurs in the lover’s personality because of this. For example, suppose the beloved strongly values kindness and tolerance. The lover may, in time, become like the beloved; a kind and tolerant person toward other people. This second way in which love changes a life may be reflected in the lover’s expanded interests that now include those of the beloved. The lover may develop an interest in old movies, a greater facility in intimacy, a passion for skiing, and an ability to trust and to open up. The lover may give such gifts in return to the beloved.


La Traviata

I would like to return to La Traviata. Verdi must have intuited this second way in which romantic love can change a life, because he conveyed this musically. Alfredo discloses his love for Violetta.



And since that happy day

You flashed lightly into my life;

And since then I’ve lived

In tremulous possession

Of that unspoken love,

“The pulse of the whole world,

Mysterious and unattainable,

The torment and delight of my heart”


Listen to the melody

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Alfredo’s confession inflames Violetta and as she muses about him she sings.



This man so watchful yet retiring,

Who haunted my sick bed

And turned my fever

Into the burning flame of love.

That love

“The pulse of the whole world,

Mysterious, unattainable,

The torment and delight of my heart”

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Violetta sings the same melody as Alfredo, she sings his song, indicating that she is beginning to mold her own personality after him and expand her sense of self.

 See Romantic love can change a life #1

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