By: Nick C
The Battle of Separating Love vs Lust
Love and lust are about want. We all want to be in love at some points in our lives, but is lust confusing us from seeing real love? Why is the love our grandparents had so elusive? Is it our upbringing? Are we victims of our environment? What is keeping our generation from realizing our full love potential is explored in this piece.
Lust is the want for self. It is the desire to obtain. It may not only be on a purely physical level. People lust after many things. Most often, it is the attraction to another that is fueled by passion and excitement and the unknown. Sometimes it’s the physical aspect. A man’s height, nice smile, wavy hair. A woman’s hair, backside, bust, etc. This initial attraction often takes a front seat to people’s decision making. I remember being a potential blind date once. The first thing the woman asked our mutual friend, was “how does he look?’” There was no mention of “is he a good man” or what does he want from a woman? I understand the common argument is “well isn’t attraction the first step?”
This may be true to a certain degree, however, it is also where our generation has erred in making love decisions. The attraction that flutters in ones heart is now generated by the outward appearance. But these things will fade over time and that Morris Chestnut/Halle Berry look alike will not look that way in 30 years.
This mentality was on display when I had a conversation with a friend. When the topic of a potential mate came up, I was floored to hear the expectations. Instead of a man with strong character, or an unwavering conviction, it was highly material. “I want a man that’s at least 6’3, built, and with all his hair.”
“Fair enough” I responded, “But what about his character and career aspirations?“
“Well I would prefer a man who is an executive, like an attorney or something,” she stated. I explained to her that this man she seeks is likely 5% of all men.
But this physical obsession is not unique to my friend; there are many women with a similar mentality. And it crosses over to the men as well. So on both side’s heavy percentages of us are chasing after the same small percent of us. Basically, 95% of women are lusting over 5% of the men and vice versa.
Lust is sometimes mistaken for love, because it fulfills a desire. Many mistake that feeling for love, because they experience the “high” from the orgasm or physical gratification and believe they are satisfied. By itself, it is only temporary, and cannot last. Lust is an illusion.
It is no secret that the black family is decreasing in numbers, and at alarming rates. The start of the decline can be almost pinpointed to the era of our grandparents (depending on your age), which is from about 1950 to 1970. From speaking to many elders, including my own, there was one common theme- survival. Trying to survive in times of discrimination, Jim Crow laws, and economic hardship forced the black community to rely on each other.
In their time, they didn’t have the luxury to turn someone away because they weren’t 6’2 and athletic. The main factors included how grounded they were, and if they could take care of a family. In today’s world that might sound somewhat shallow, or suggest that a man had to financially support a woman to win her hand in marriage.
They had to rely on each other for a sense of a community in all aspects. When a man was laid off from a job, he was able to turn to those in the community for help. There are many factors of what changed this community landscape. These factors vary from drugs, economics, to pop culture.
So What is Love?
Love is the want for another. It is the desire to truly give and share, on all levels. The desire to bond and share is greater than the desire to obtain, conquer, and/or posses. There can be great lust without love, it can fill many needs, but it is incomplete. Initial attraction is full of lust, but where true love begins to grow, lust becomes tempered by knowledge. Knowledge of the other person without regard to self, it’s the need and desire to know more. This brings a deeper level of commitment to the relationship. This is where “I” disappears in a marriage and it becomes “us”. Illusions are stripped away truth becomes the common goal.
So where do we go from here?
Our generation can reclaim love in this form; it will take an understanding about how good we have it in comparison to our elders who came up. In order to take out place and rebuild the black community, it’s important that we start talking to each other. We have to do more to try and understand where each other come from. What are challenges are, our fears, our hopes. We have to share that with each other and be willing to support each other in these times. In these tough times we can pull together, and rebuilding the black family doesn’t stop at romantic relationships.
Love and fear cannot exist in the same realm. True love replaces fear with understanding and compassion. Love truly blossoms when what was once a desire to possess for personal gain, is replaced with a mutual nurturing and peace. That initial attraction will somewhat stabilize, and you will be left with what to do next. The mutual concern and nurturing is where the peace carries the couple. Love continues to grow when the two people remember their common goal of truth, understanding, and a compassionate acceptance of each other. Once our generation gets a grip of this understanding and let go of the materialistic trappings of lust, perhaps the black family will reemerge and thrive.
It’s important to rebuild the strength in out immediate families. Come from behind the walls of Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging and visit your grandparents. They are a wealth of information and inspiration. Try calling (not texting) each other for a change, and not just on holidays. Have get-togethers, a weekly lunch with your girlfriends, weekly bowling nights with the fellas, and whatever else to stay connected.
You can email me at email@example.com