Sartre on Love

“I am mastering my love for you and turning it inwards as a constituent element of myself.”

This declaration (of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir) left me speechless when I first discovered it, a profound statement on the nature of love, as relevant now as it was then.

Love is demanding; it somehow finds all the soft spots (the pleasure and the pain) which, in the case of the latter, sometimes results in doubt despite my underlying sense of certainty in the fact that love is all there is.

It also seems to delight in rubbing my nose in my own vainglorious bullshit where my  ability to love is concerned—the limits to which I play well with others. And yet, I always find myself compelled in the direction of love, despite imperfect execution.

And why not?

Rilke famously pointed out that love is the work, for which all other work is mere preparation, meaning, it seems to me, that playing well together requires a little insight and effort … learning to love being the ability and willingness to hone a skill teaching us as much about personal equanimity, as world peace.

There are no guarantees of course other than the assurance, one way or another, that we will be transformed.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Mastering my love for another such that, turning it inwards, it becomes a constituent element of myself; there is no more beautiful thing in the world than that.