Updated: May 12
If you haven’t watched the latest Netflix documentary on the 90s icon Pamela Anderson, it offers wonderful insights into romantic love.
The document illustrates why so many of us fail to find inner peace, connection and fulfilment in our relationships.
And before you raise your eyebrows, it’s not what you think!
The documentary is a touching recount of her story, and shows her wit, humility and resilience in the face of abuse and adversity. It also offers some valuable insights about love. If approached with the right mindset, it offers gold.
Towards the end of the documentary, Pamela quotes Robert A. Johnson, one of the most famous Jungian authors of our time.
She mentions how disheartened she felt when she read that romantic love, from his perspective, is not sustainable.
This is gold, because Pamela teaches us a very valuable lesson here. That is, so many of us, especially in the west, are conditioned to think about love as this outside external force.
Even if we’re not conscious of it, we are programmed to look for our ‘other’ half, our ‘better’ half. We expect this other, to make us feel complete, alive inside and at peace with oneself.
These beliefs around romantic love are imprinted in our unconscious minds and I would go as far to say as they are damaging.
Romantic love is in essence a projection.
We fall in love with someone who possesses qualities we see as desirable and that we don’t necessarily recognise within ourselves.
These qualities can change depending on our age, the stage of life we find ourselves in, and of course, our personal experiences.
Romantic love happens when the other person also projects those qualities onto you. To give you an example, Pamela represented the fragility, feminine qualities in the eyes of Tommy Lee. Tommy Lee in return represented masculinity, strength, wildness to Pamela. This is what we call ‘falling in love’.
What Robert A. Johnson means by romantic love is not sustainable, is not that it does not exist. But romantic love is not enough or a necessary condition for a happy, loving, and fulfilling relationship.
Once the falling in love phase is over, the following happens.
We start seeing our partner, not for the projections they carry for us, but for who they really are (which may or may not include those qualities).
This is what we call the ‘falling out of love’ phase and if we’re not aware of it, for some, a sufficient reason to end a relationship or marriage.
Really in practice, this means that we no longer project those qualities onto this person, and we have a choice here:
We can decide to try to keep the projection alive either with the same partner (by ‘keeping the flame alive’). Or we can choose to do that, but with a different partner. This explains why so many relationships or marriages end at this stage. That is because we unconsciously choose to move from one person who holds the projection for us to another.
This is what Pamela illustrates for us. If we choose this way, we end up disheartened, several relationships down the line, and yet not any happier or fulfilled in love. Instead we chase that next partner or relationship that will make us feel alive again. Until it no longer does. And the cycle continues.
Or, there is another way. One Pamela doesn’t mention but one that is implied in Robert A. Johnson’s work.
The other way is to look for those qualities we attribute to others through projections in ourselves. So that we can find wholeness and love from within. We are born whole but we adapt in an attempt to survive or as a response to conditioning. But our wholeness is our birthright.
And only from this place can we understand that we are free to choose to love another, and be in a relationship with another human being. This relationship is not out of need, but out of choice.
This involves being willing to explore what’s going on internally for us that is being reflected through our romantic life and relationship challenges. It also involves doing the work to reclaim our wholeness. And then be free to choose to love another.
If you’re single, tired of being disappointed in love and ready to take the step to create a healthy, loving and fulfilling relationship you want, on 28th February at 5pm GMT/12pm EST/9am PST I am running a 90mins workshop to help you do exactly that.
The workshop, from Single to Happily Coupled, will help you understand the psychology of love, and what is holding you back from finding a well-matched loving partner. You will also get laser coaching as part of a small and intimate group of like-minded individuals.
The first 2 to sign up will receive a complimentary 30mins 1:1 coaching call with me following the workshop.
Early bird price of £69 available until Friday 24 February. After that pricing increases to £89.
Click here to sign up and see workshop details.
Spots are limited to 8 participants to ensure opportunities for hot seat coaching.
And if you’re already in a relationship, but struggle with commitment or relationship anxiety, I've got another workshop coming up for you! You can register your interest by emailing me so you'll be the first to know when dates are announced!