Relationships

What is authentic, imperfect love?

Authentic love is the ability to attune to someone else’s inner world, hold them in your heart and mind, and allow them to be who they are. The experience of loving and being loved is messy, yet it is the most vital part of our human experience—it shapes, supports and inspires our body, mind and soul.

Romantic love is complicated and paradoxical; it is a basic need yet each of us is wired for love in unique, often mystifying ways. What happened to Jay Z and Beyoncé’s modern love story? What is Beyonce’s album truly about?

Beyoncé knows, as we all do, that love and connection make us feel alive and make life meaningful. Therefore, betrayal of trust, knowing that we were not in our partner’s heart and mind when they cheated, leads to devastating heartbreak. The genius of Beyoncé’s last album was inspired by the sorrow caused by the flawed, tangled web of love relationships. Paradoxically, the pain of romantic love failing to meet our vision can unleash the energy required for us to reclaim our own extraordinary gifts, power and unique potentialities.  The wrenching, painful force of heartbreak sucks us down into the underworld. It is here that we can unearth the brilliant aspects of our selves buried deep in our unconscious. In this way, when vows and promises of romantic love are broken, it is important to realize that within the deep suffering lies the opportunity to forge a path back to self.

The pain and betrayal of love can in effect kick start a healthier relational cycle, where lovers show their vulnerabilities and core wounds. Owning and being responsible for the betrayal can create a deeper feeling of love, beyond infatuation. I believe  Beyoncé’s latest album and video are examples of channeling great pain into personal transformation and growth, both for herself and for her relationship. Her vulnerability in expressing her pain now becomes a healing, inspiring reminder that even the most terrible shocks are not without value. This perspective can shift us out of the me/victim stance and inspire deep self-reflection, which can propel us to the I/empowered stance.

Beyoncé’s creative expression provides a road map for love and its treasures, which, paradoxically lie not in its ecstasy but in its ambiguity and pain. There are jewels on the path back from heartbreak. I learned this the hard way when I left my ex-husband. I could have blamed him, yet I looked at my part, what role I played, and I gained discernment about what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to release.  My love for him and the loss of it was one of my greatest teachers and inspired me to do the work that I love, psychotherapy. Beyoncé is sharing her very personal lessons: this is the work of a true healer and artist. I am not a musician but I am wounded healer who can hold in her heart the paradox of love. As an ambassador of love and connection, I thank you, Beyoncé, for giving the world a meaningful, honest heartfelt expression of the transcendent quality of LOVE through your reflective, mindful creativity.

Dr. Nay