We all love songs and stories, especially about love affairs. They awaken longings in most of us that make us want to experience these wonderful feelings. Nearly all the stories, plays and songs of this kind end in disaster. Think about Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Wuthering Heights and many others.
Why is it we long for something when all the messages we get from history tell us to beware?
When I was a therapist I met a very few clients who did not understand what falling in love means because it had not happened to them. I am fairly certain that these exceptions were those who had very little imagination. You don’t miss what you don’t know.
C.G. Jung taught us that we all have some of the qualities of the opposite sex. He called them archetypes. It makes sense. Men and women are complementary, not equal. Since our species came into being, males and females have needed each other to ensure the continuation of our offspring. The same is true of those animals who lack the power of speech, only everything is much easier for them because all they have to do is follow their instincts.
Jung called the female component the anima and the male component the animus. We are not aware of them because they live in our unconscious minds. However, people who know us well and like us are used to our ways which they recognise by paying attention to how we speak and behave. In all our lives there are some things that are so important to us that we will in no way give them up. If we wish to make a good relationship with someone of the opposite sex, we need to have an animus or an anima that is harmonious with ours.
No matter how much two people think they love each other, if they disagree strongly about a matter that is vital to both, they will very soon fall out of love. Therefore, before we begin to rush into marriage we should each make a list about ourselves in as much detail as possible.
Since we all have an inner life that only we know, as well as an external life, it occurred to me, as a psychotherapist with a strong sensitivity, that people with that same ability should be trained to help other people to know themselves better. I shall begin with my first list shortly.