What if humans are more socially malleable than is commonly thought?
- Is It Better to Have Loved and Lost Than Never to Have Loved at All? | Psychology Today.
- We Three Kings;
You make such an important point. In a way, you are getting at the history of the social sciences: the usual way is taken as the only way, until it is finally challenged. In addition to my above reply, I also just want to say thank you for these posts. When I lived in my native state of Pennsylvania I was never challenged in any way about my single status. As soon as I moved to my current home in Texas, however, all that changed.
Now I am constantly questioned and in some ways rebuked for being 27 and happily single. Your blog really helps me to soldier on with all of my single might. It is really good to hear that you appreciate my blog. By the way, I grew up in Pennsylvania, too Dunmore, outside of Scranton. Dunmore is only a few miles away from my hometown of Wilkes-Barre. I wonder if there are many happy single women from NEPA. Must be something in the water. I live in the suburbs 40 min north of Philly in a mostly conservative area where people are obsessed with marriage.
But my sister lives in the city and people there seem just as obsessed. I was at a party in Harleysville near Lansdale last weekend and two people asked if I had a man in my life. I answered that I have more important goals right now. Why can't more of them ask about my job, which is my real life? I'm just 26 and do not see the point of adding a man to my life. People can't accept that I'm content. It's like my contentedness is a threat to their married status. My sister just started dating someone and even though the guy wanted it to be "casual", he's taking up way too much of her time.
She complained that she rarely has time for herself anymore. I told her to stand up to him and demand time for herself. No one should ever have to demand time for herself, including anyone in a relationship. If someone is not taking enough time for herself, it is her fault and hers alone.
It’s Better to Have Loved Then Lost Than Never Love at All Essay
I am reminded of a study I read on general stress. The study took life events that may happen to people without specifically accounting for marital status. Events such as losing a job, having kids, moving, getting a promotion, ect.. The number one negative stressor by far,was losing a spouse.
I really do think this experience is untouchable by other life stressors that we all deal with. Single people may experience just as profound of a loss when it comes to a significant other not a spouse but that's just a label discrepencey. The personal vestment the "single" person puts in to another person in order to relate to such a loss, makes them no more single than the person who legally declared thier love. Also, for single people, the particular person who is closest to them may vary.
So, for some, they may have a person who is like a spouse only without the marriage certificate; for others, it may be a lifelong friend, a sibling, or another relative. The study you just described is important, but by itself, it could not get at the point I just made. For example, neither sibling nor lifelong friend would come out as the number one stressor across people because for some, it would be the sibling, and for others, it would be the lifelong friend. So maybe the question is, what is the level of stress experienced upon the death of the person you are closest to -- regardless of what category that person belongs in.
I think that you make a extremely important point with regards to diversity. The 'labels' and the constant questioning about whether people have a man or woman in their lives starts to become the bane of single people's social existence as they get older. I happen to be gay.
I have an instant label - but now that sexuality is starting to be accepted by increasingly more people, I think that the 'single' label amongst my friends is becoming more socially unacceptable than the 'gay' label. Society dictates far too much. The requirement to label everyone and everything is just another one it's dictations.
Your final sentence is going into my favourite sayings list; "What we should steer clear of are narrow ways of thinking that leave us all locked in small, stifling ideological boxes. Happiness is a way to travel through life, and not somewhere that can be reached!
Your observation about "single" now becoming a more unacceptable label than "gay" is very insightful. There was a similar trend with regard to divorce -- decades ago, to be a "divorcee" was shameful. Now it is ordinary. Still, people wonder about singles. When I was researching my Singled Out book, I could not find much of anything on singles who are gay.
Of course, there is too little research on just about everything having to do with singles, but still, it was striking. Do you have demogrpahic data for people who have remained single over the long haul? I realize it's a small sample size, but the people I have known over the course of my life who have been remained single were fairly narcisistic I think if one were to look at the data for singles from this slant that the people were simply narcisistic, and thus kept out anything which they didn't feel was favorable to them over the long haul , the numbers make sense.
To me, there also seems as though there is a financial factor involved Women in these areas were able to make a stable, reasonable income over the long-haul and thus chose their relationships or lack of relationships, based less on need and more on desire. In his sense, "better" does not equate merely to "doing better" in terms of quanta of longevity, morbidity, "happiness" etc. My objection is not to the "well-being" stats she wishes - yet again - to invoke, but to the spurious resort to literature to create a pseudo-argument.
Tennyson is talking about the moral, spiritual - and perhaps also social - value of selfless love and irrespective of whether it is platonic, requited, and totally irrespective of any of the protagonists' age, sex or marital status. BP seems to be unaware that the lines she quotes so easily were nspired in this instance by the profound impact of the death of a beloved male student friend many years earlier. I have loved, I have been briefly loved in impossible circumstances, I have been married and unloved, I have been single and unloved, single and loved Above all, I have loved, and I know whereof Tennyson wrote.
I may live no longer, nor "do better" - or worse - as a result of experiencing any of these states but, as Tennyson suggests, my inner life has been enriched by my own capacity to love, and to appreciate the qualities of another, regardless of the outcome. I plan to have "Better to have loved" as my epitaph.
Please don't devalue other dimensions by using literary works so superficially - For some people, poetry is their "thing", and they take it seriously. Do you have your own blog? If so, and you want to write more about Tennyson, including more lines from the poem and more background about it, I'd be happy to link to it. Just send me the link or post it here. I agree that BP is completely wrong.
I lost my daughter. She died. And i will take the love I knew, and felt, and experienced in that brief time, and not trade it for the world. This article is simply wrong. COmpletely, utterly, fantastically wrong. And the fact that someone does better does not equate to depth or meaning. Simple happiness is not the goal in life.
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There is something about wisdom, growth and the ability to help and change others that cannot be measured by these nonsense studies of 'science'. Someone who has an utterly miserable life, living half of it in prison, for example, and then goes out and changes youth and helps others not make the same mistakes will fail the "happiness" test, but that person's life will have more MEANING and more POWER to change other lives, then some happy-go-lucky socialist living in Denmark who has free handouts, free health care, free everything, and helps no one.
People who don't know what love is do not appreciate what this means. If you don't know love you can't appreciate it and love is a spiritual thing not an emotional fanciful thing either. Love is gentle, easily entreated, full of tender mercy, suffereth long , vaunted not itself , is not puffed up and much much more than mere words can say.. God is Love and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. There is no fear in love but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment.
I am 29 years old my late husband and I were together for 10 years before he passed away unexpectedly.
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We have 3 children. In time maybe I'll feel different but now, 5 months after his death, I don't know if its better to have loved and lost. The pain is so deep and so bad. If I had it to do all over again maybe I would have held back. Maybe I wouldn't have had any children.
Alfred Lord Tennyson - 'Tis better to have loved and lost
Maybe I would have made it a point to make sure that even though he was the man in my life we always had distance between us. Maybe I would have been more selfish and not worried if we were living in different places for long periods of time. Maybe that still would not have made a difference and it still would hurt just as bad. Who knows? I wouldn't want him to have gone away being half loved either.
He left here knowing he had all of my love. Maybe anything less would have been selfish. It still hurts to be the one left behind. I want to be optimistic that I will be blessed to feel that same love again one day. To have another best friend in my life to share everything with. If it happens again I will be happy. I can't imagine growing old without it. At the same time I can't except half love myself either. Yeah it's confusing but love like life sucks sometimes and it is complicated. I can't get into the intellectual or literary argument about what Tennyson was writing about not that smart I am selfish, narcissistic, and don't like compromising on many things.
I have family that love me and plenty of friends. We homo sapiens are not a monogamous species nor are we a homogeneous species. Some people are driven to be married, it's in their makeup, they can't think of living without someone, it's their means of fulfillment Is it better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all? The author seems to not realize, or account for, the sizable contingent of people - both single and married - who have fallen in love, but must still live with unrequited love every day, because the one who is loved can't, or won't, return the affection.
And these are the lovers whom I feel this quote was meant for when written by Lord Tennyson. This fails to consider certain aspects.
In Memoriam A.H.H.
For example: divorced people are different creatures than widowed people. Divorced people choose to separate themselves, which means that they had problems and weren't right for each other. Also, this holds true for most single people who have never experienced love, but for those who have, never trying would make them live in a state of "what if," desire without being able to do anything about it, and an overall feeling of sadness.
There is a difference between getting married and having romantic love. If someone never feels romantic love they can still get married. It's called lust, and unexpected pregnancies. I'm sure someone already pointed this out but Alfred, Lord Tennyson was talking about healthy, loving relationships that have ended because one of them has died unexpectedly. My mother often quoted this quote in her 85 years of life. Life is full of pain but her faith kept her loving till the end. She died 4 months ago and I miss her terribly. We had never been close until the last 10 years of her life.
I was thinking if I had stayed distant to Mom and had not gotten close maybe I would not be grieving so. I remembered this quote that says I did the right thing. I took time to mend, to forgive, be forgiven, and enjoy my mom. Maybe wondered if some siblings are not suffering as much because they were not close to mom and dad. I don't think so. It truly is better to have loved and lost. Love this article.
You raise great points and questions about the merits of the single and how they have been neglected in psychology. Its hard to question assumptions, but what follows often leads to greater understanding. Every time I hear that saying, I tend to think of people who loved and then REALLY lost, like the other person draining their bank account, cheating on them, abandoning them after or even without having children with them, or worst case scenario, being physically abused or even murdered by an intimate partner.
In those cases, surely it would have been better have never loved that person at all. Everytime I hear that quoted in some made-for-TV melodrama, I pretend I'm the gilted lead character and reply: "Lord Tennyson was full of crap. I disagree. I believe that LOVE created the universe. Love is the overwhelming force behind everything. When you truly love, when you realize what love really is, then it's the most important aspect of life.
If everyone would understand what love really is, we wouldn't have war. Being in love creates a natural biochemical response to your body. People in love are often pumped full of natural hormones. If it was true love, then when that person parts and if they part you will still feel good. We are talking about the difference between love and lust. Or love and obsession. Love doesn't and never should make someone feel bad on any level. We are ALL connected. Every single one of us. To deny that part is to embrace the Me, Me, Me, ego.
It's not right and it's certainly not normal. I think people who wrote this article are confusing real love with lust. In my counseling people, I have found that most people don't really understand what true love it. They confuse the sexual aspects of love with love that purely comes from the heart chakra. If you haven't been both loved, lost and never loved, which of course is impossible, you don't know which is best for you. I am 62 years old and never been loved outside of family. I feel totally unlovable and worthless as a woman.
It would seem only natural that my choice would be to have loved and lost. However, I can only assume that would be a better choice having never been there. At least I would know someone loved me. The number one reason divorced people are miserable--especially those who have been alienated from their children--is corrupt family law practices. Getting divorced isn't like just breaking up with someone with whom you are casually dating. If only one of the two parties disagree on the terms, it can, and does for many people, become a war zone in which legal and social services parasites jump to drain hundreds to thousands of dollars from the prospective litigants all while justifying the most reprehensible and damaging policies with regard to children under "a best interest of the child" standard.
And it's much worse for men in modern America.
Many loving parents are being kept from their children so a vindictive spouse can continue to abuse and control them through financial and emotional exploitation while state governments receive Federal incentive moneys from social security funds and make backroom deals with privatixed administrators for the job security of bloated bureaucrats and members of the local bar assocaition. The loved described here is Christian love. Love of a spouse, sibling, friend, neighbor Trying to read anything else into it means you are thinking too hard or are trying to put your own ideas into it.
Well first of all the women of today aren't like the old days which most of the women back then were real ladies with very good manners and a great personality which today most of the women now unfortunately are a real disaster altogether. That is why so many of us men are MGTOW because of these type of women that have caused this mess to begin with. I have been married. In writing the poem, Tennyson was influenced by the evolutionary ideas of transmutation of species presented in Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation which had been published in , and had caused a storm of controversy about the theological implications of impersonal nature functioning without direct divine intervention.
An Evangelical focus on unquestioning belief in revealed truth taken from a literal interpretation of the Bible was already coming into conflict with emerging findings of science. Tennyson expressed the difficulties evolutionary ideas raised for faith in "the truths that never can be proved", while still believing the older idea that reason would eventually harmonise science and religion, as there could be no real contradiction. However, at the end of the poem, Tennyson emerges with his Christian faith reaffirmed, progressing from doubt and despair to faith and hope, a dominant theme also seen in his poem " Ulysses ".
This poem was published a decade before Charles Darwin made his theory public. However, the phrase "Nature, red in tooth and claw" in canto 56 quickly was adopted by others as a phrase that evokes the process of natural selection. It was and is used by both those opposed to and in favour of the theory of evolution. The British literary scholar Christopher Ricks relates the following lines to Tennyson's childhood home at Somersby Rectory in Somersby, Lincolnshire , particularly the poet's departure after the death of his father.
Unwatched, the garden bough shall sway, The tender blossom flutter down, Unloved, that beech will gather brown, This maple burn itself away. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Oxford University Press. Landow Victorian Web. Altholz, Professor of History, University of Minnesota The Mind and Art of Victorian England. Retrieved 6 November University of California Press.
The Tragedy of the Korosko. In Memoriam A. Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson. The Foresters play The Window song cycle. Categories : Poetry by Alfred Tennyson British poems poems. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikiquote.