Lessons from Love Island June 12, 2019 – Posted in: Advice, Confidence, Personal Development, Relationships – Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Love Island

If, like me, you’re new to delights of Love Island you may, on first viewing, have been shocked on several levels:

  • the amount of flesh on show (I realise this comment identifies me as seriously middle-aged but I grew up with Bananarama and Duran Duran and those guys wore their clothes on TV),
  • the forced/heavily controlled environment (like Big Brother on speed) and
  • the painful desperation of the contestants,

all makes for very uncomfortable viewing.

Speed dating

But, more shocking (read terrifying) is the speed and intensity of the relationships these human guinea pigs are getting themselves into.  Within days Joe is obsessed with poor Lucie (who I believe has been ’stolen’ by an incomer but was quite happy with her original coupling with Joe).  Meanwhile, said incomer, Tommy, has professed his undying love for Lucie who is unbelievably stressed out by the whole situation despite (or maybe due to) two gorgeous men being in love/obsessed with her.  And we are just three days in…

Of course, the question on everyone’s minds now is how much all of this intense behaviour and turbo-charged attachment is due to young people living so much of their lives online these days?  Do our young people have the social skills to cope in the real world or are they so accustomed to living their lives online that when they are exposed to a live dating opportunity they lose their heads and hearts quicker than Anton lost his top in episode one?

It needs to be acknowledged that Love Island is not ‘real life’ by any stretch of the imagination and that the contestants can only win the £50K prize if they couple up and stay coupled up.   So, the intensity we are seeing is both manufactured by the production company and the competitive energies of the contestants.

Love Island – it’s not real…

However, I do think online living has played a part in what we are seeing not necessarily because these young people lack social skills but because they are used to peddling false ideals in their persistent hunt for approval.  These Love Islanders grew up in the ‘perfection’ – and if it’s not perfect use a filter – generation, and are habitually seeking online approval from other people on a daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute basis.

Every perfected and preened Instagram post is baited for ‘likes’ and this has set the stage for our young people to a) believe they have to look perfect/be perfect in order to survive and b) hunt daily for approval from other people.  This approval hunt is like a drug; persistent in its demands for a short-lived high before setting the addict up to seek another hit.

Translate this to the Love Island villa and we see the contestants believing in the false ‘perfection’ of their partner, latching onto them like starving babies and then seeking their approval (and that of other possible partners entering the villa) with an intensity that leaves us, the viewers, cringing with embarrassment.

Like me/Approve of me/Want me

These Love Islanders are the poster men and women for a deep sickness in our culture.  This sickness is called “Like me/Approve of me/Want me” and is symptomatic in people who don’t have an ounce of true self love and therefore have to seek it elsewhere.

Hence, we see these poor contestants parading themselves around hoping for approval and love so that a) they might win the money and the fame but b) they can quiet the internal voice that whispers to them that they aren’t good enough.

If I’m honest I felt the same in my twenties – terribly lacking in self worth and very low in self-esteem.  But I was lucky not to swim in the toxic online soup our kids are currently drowning in.

A 1970’s childhood at least equipped me with the knowledge that real love cannot be manufactured and is not about approval seeking or approval giving.  Real love is about acceptance, authenticity and freedom – none of which would make for great TV of course but does make for a very happy life in the real world.

The amended, published version of this article can be found in Metro.

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