Pathways to Bliss: Joseph Campbell on Why Perfectionism Kills Love and How to Save Your Relationship
“Where the myth fails, human love begins,” Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in 1941. “Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws.” Indeed, just like perfectionism kills creativity, it also kills love — the more we mythologize and idealize the person we love, the more disillusioned and disheartened we grow as we come to know their imperfect humanity which, if untainted by these blinding ideals, is the very wellspring of true love. That is what playwright Tom Stoppard captured in what is perhaps the greatest definition of love, in his notion of “the mask slipped from the face,” the stripping of the idealized projection, the surrender to the beautiful imperfection of a human being. His focus on marriage is especially timely and poignant today, when the institution of marriage is being reimagined to be more inclusive and more just, which also means it’s being challenged to rise to higher standards of integrity. Campbell writes: Two people meet and fall in love.
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