The July issue of GQ features an interview with the rapper Drake in which he mentions having lunch with box office mega-star Will Smith, whom Drake apparently sees as somewhat of a mentor. The most important thing he learned from Smith? Here's Drake's own words:
"I had lunch with Will Smith and listening to him talk, it made me think I don't know what love is. He said something profound. He said love is when you become one and you need that person. It's not about wanting anymore; you need that person. Hearing that, I don't know if I've ever felt that way. I've held women in very high regard almost to the point where I felt like I needed them for a very long time, but I don't know if I comprehend it yet, and I'm OK with that."
I'm sorry Will (and Drake) but...no. Just no. This is most certainly not what love is. Needing another person isn't love, it's codependence. This is a very damaging myth that we take turns perpetuating in our culture.
This understanding of love implies that we are incomplete in and of ourselves, that we all have a giant, unfillable hole inside us and that only another being -- and usually just one very specific person, not many people, and certainly not humanity in general -- can fill it.
This means happiness and fulfillment lies outside ourselves, that we are dependent on some external person (and the circumstances in which we meet and stay with that person) for our happiness. I can't think of a faster way to make ourselves miserable.
It's such an important issue that I spend a whole chapter discussing this in The Bliss Experiment, complete with a bunch of scientific studies that prove this isn't really true.
For now, let me just suggest this: real love is open, unconditional, and comes from the very source of our being, radiating outward. It's not something "out there" that we must find and capture, rather it's something we tap into within ourselves.
At their best, relationships, then become vehicles through which we can learn to tap into our own inner reservoir of unconditional love. Our partners don't complete us, they walk the path of unconditional love along side us.