"Monogamy is a form of dyadic relationship in which an individual has only one partner during their lifetime", Wikipedia. While the term is mostly used in the context of relationships, people are further expected to remain loyal to one in many aspects of their life: a best friend, a job position, a political party, etc... Let's consider monogamy and the ways that it affects us outside of our marital relationships since this concept has trickled into other aspects of our lives, limiting and suppressing our many desires beyond marriage.
Have you ever considered the ways we are inundated with messages that lead us to believe we must be loyal to one concept forever? Isn't it possible to love something (or someone) deeply and yet seek to love more as we, ourselves, evolve in our life journey? How has your own life been limited through the sacrifices you have made in the name of loyalty?
As human beings, we are wrongly conditioned to believe that if we truly love something, we must stick with it, forever. A deviation of any kind expresses disloyalty of sorts. I strongly disagree with this theory. I hope that we all strive to change and evolve throughout our life even if those changes require us to make major shifts in our lifetimes. I firmly hold the position that a fulfilling life is one full of risks, challenges, and a willingness to face the discomforts of the unknown. More importantly, seeds towards happiness bloom when we expose ourselves to as many people and experiences as possible. Part of our journey is to reshape ourselves during the different stages of our lives but it is truly impossible to transform if we are expected to stay the same while comfortably holding onto what makes us feel safest. An unchanged person living an unchanged life, in my opinion, is a slow and torturous death.
Let me share an example. I genuinely love New York City which has been a wonderful place to call home for the past twenty-three years. I practically grew up here. I established my career and social network here. I raised our three children here. This beautiful city has granted us so many wonderful memories and opportunities. Choosing to leave NYC does not in any way challenge my love or loyalty to it (although many have wrongly made the association in their minds that we must have fallen out of love with the city if we are leaving it). It is absolutely possible to keep this vibrant city in a warm and special place in my heart while allowing myself to grow and experience other places I might equally love as well. If we only permit ourselves to deeply love one thing at a time, does that enhance our lives via a rich connection towards that something/someone or does it hinder our possibilities to fully fall in love with the many other places, people, and opportunities that life brings us?
Those of you who know me personally know that I have never been one to have a "best" or "favorite" of anything. As an example, I don't think I have ever used the words "best friend" in my vocabulary. I have many wonderful friends and although I may say someone is "one of my best friends" I have never limited myself to holding just one person in this category. Similarly, I always taught my children to have several really close friends and avoid the "best friend" pressure that other parents impose on their kids. I literally used to cringe when other moms would talk about their four-year-old's best friend. I mean, really, does a young child instinctively choose one best friend, or is this expectation planted by the grownups in their lives that tend to limit themselves? Many of my readers have asked me, "what was your favorite road trip stop?" How can I have one favorite in the multitude of incredible discoveries we made on the road? I'm sure I annoy those asking by responding with a neverending list of favorites broken down by categories. A simple question finds itself listening to a complex and longwinded answer. As you may know, I am an avid reader. Naturally, people ask me what my favorite book is. I am repeatedly stumped when I encounter these inquiries. Not having a favorite genre sure doesn't help. You will never find me easily answering any question that requires me to pick just one of anything. This way of living trickles into everything in my life- even politics. I'm not a democrat or a republican. Each term I'll choose based on who is running and who I think will be the best President for our country at the time. I have never been one to pin myself into any kind of pre-formulated box that is developed to deliver precise and calculated results. I implore you to also keep yourself untethered to any predetermined expectations. Allow yourself to vacillate at your will. Love the many people who touch you and make room for them in your life rather than finding you have too little time to get to know them because you are always with your best friend. Flow in and out of the many places where you will find inspiration and rejuvenation.
You heard it from me, you no longer need to deeply love just one person, one book, one city, one food... go crazy loving as much as your heart can handle. Betray the confining system that may keep you in an unhappy relationship, an unfulfilling job, an uneventful life that passes too quickly. Instead, have a deep love affair with everything, everyone, and every place that your heart desires. The beauty of living this way is that once you open that door, you will inevitably discover so much more to life that you never even dreamed was accessible to you. Just because so many people around you are loyal to their unhappiness doesn't mean you need to be as well.