‘If so much of what we know as love is ‘fish love’, can we change it into real love?’ – That’s the premise behind Oman’s celebrated model, Kamil Al Hinai’s story on love
February…a month that has that one special day called Valentine’s Day. A day where some of our loved ones will receive gifts; some romantic letters, others flowers, and some even a wedding proposal. Love has been a topic of many discussions throughout centuries.
When I first moved to London, I had plenty of time in between modelling and my first year of doing my degree. I decided to take up practical philosophy at the school of economic science during the summer, and one of the subjects we would focus on for the next twelve weeks would be about love. Looking at love in all the different forms it enters our lives.
I remember, in one of the classes we were told a story by Dr. Abraham Twerski, who introduced the concept of fish love. It went like this: ‘Young man. Why are you eating that fish?’ The young man says, ‘Because I love fish.’ He says, ‘Oh. You love the fish. That’s why you took it out of the water, killed it and boiled it.’ He says, ‘Don’t tell me you love the fish. You love yourself, and because the fish tastes good to you; therefore, you took it out of the water and killed it and boiled it.’
‘So much of what is love is fish love… Young couple falls in love. Young man and young woman fall in love. What does that mean? That means that he saw in this woman someone who he felt could provide him with all of his physical and emotional needs, and she felt in this man somebody that she can wed, that was love, but each one is looking out for their own needs. It’s not love for the other. The other person becomes a vehicle for the others gratification.
‘An external love is not on what I’m going to get, but I’m going to give. People make a serious mistake in thinking that you give to those whom you love, and the real answer is you love those to whom you give. His point is, if I give something to you, I’ve invested myself in you. Since self-love is a given – everybody loves themselves – now that part of me is becoming you, there’s part of me in you that I love.
‘True love is a love of giving, not a love of receiving.’
On my way home from class that day, I pondered on the story…
A lot of us have idealistic views of love, which aren’t realistic. For example, during the honeymoon phase, we see all of the great things about our partner and the various ways that they make us happy. But this kind of love can’t last. Why? Because, eventually, our significant other won’t live up to our expectations. They will leave us unfulfilled, because they aren’t giving us what we need 100 percent of the time. They can’t. It’s impossible.
So, how do we make love last? How can you change that fish love into real love?
I’ll admit that the idea that giving to your partner can make you love them more seemed strange at first, but it makes sense if you really think about it. When we give, we are investing a part of ourselves in another person. The time and effort we spend makes us care more.
Of course, love is not just about giving selflessly, there is more to love than that. But the story of ‘Fish Love’ is something I carry with me because it reminds me that everything I choose to do, I should do with love.
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Another form of showing Love is by Volunteering. Read about it here