January 22, 2020

Should we be aiming to live on a love island?

Kate Tough, 47

This visual poem could join the inspirational quotes on Instagram. Wanting to be loved is one letter away from something ‘healthier’; wanting to be love. It’s a familiar idea, ‘You need to love yourself before anyone else can’. However, the title line (an aphorism too) highlights the tension in wanting emotional self-sufficiency as well as IRL connections. Do the solutions lie within these problems, or do the solutions reveal lies?

Disguised as a contribution to consumable wisdom, the title questions what the sentences represent. Practicing a connection to the feeling of love probably is beneficial, but humans are social animals. Maybe wanting love from others is okay, and more beneficial for survival and wellbeing than buying into a pop-philosophy which aligns with post-industrial lifestyle trends (one adult per household). Emphasising that love is an inside job could imply that people are failing twice over (at loving themselves and, therefore, at finding someone to love them). And nuances are overlooked: perhaps being loved by another helps us increase our capacity to understand, feel and recognise how to love, generally.

The piece critiques, plays with and reinforces simplistic psycho-emotional advice. Enlightening, or a stick to beat ourselves with? You decide.

The Solution Always Lies Within The Problem, 2020