Listen to music, watch a TV show or movie, pick up a magazine or book, and nine times out of 10 you will find love. Particularly romantic love. We are obsessed with it. And not just as an idea but as a feeling.
Romeo and Juliet, Rose and Jack, Allie and Noah, Jack and Ennis, Harry and Sally, June (George) and Alice (Childie) all dramatize romantic lovers who see love as heart over head. We delight in watching them struggle with this.
But, just for a moment, forget feelings and states of mind and the West’s obsession with them. If you listen to Rihanna’s song We All Want Love, you will notice that in the chorus she makes three striking observations. All those looking to be loved want to be their lover’s sole beloved; they want warmth in their lives; they want these things because the alternative is to end up alone and afraid.[i] These observations reveal something much deeper than feelings and states of mind
The first is a statement of possession. Exclusive possession. And when it comes to finding warmth, this is about seeking goodness. It is saying you want good in your life, not bad: shared and constant good with the person to whom you give yourself.
Finally, yearning to avoid loneliness and fear means you want somebody who is always there for you. Someone who is not only in attendance but also tending to your needs. But not just anybody. They must have chosen to be with you, and you must have chosen them. These elements together under the umbrella of being loved give you a sense of worth, a sense of value as a person in your own right.
Understanding what Rhianna seeks in a beloved you gain a sense of what a lover should be like.
They will assure you they will stick around and care for you. They will choose to pursue a life of shared goodness with you and value you so much that they always want to hold on to you.
When you look at love like this, you see beyond the West’s fixation on feelings and even the romantic.