by Ricky Hornblass, Ph.D.
As I was watching yet another season of the Bachelorette last night, I found myself wondering, why am I watching this again? It’s the ninth season of the Bachelorette, not to mention all of the seasons of the Bachelor, and I still keep tuning in. Do I actually believe that this contestant is going to find love? I am not that naïve. But there is something strangely appealing about voyeuristically being a part of someone else’s romantic drama that I and many others can’t seem to turn away.
Most people have a desire to know about and understand other people’s lives. We are certain that they somehow have the answer to all of our problems, that they have figured out how to do things better. I have often heard clients express feelings of sadness after attending a wedding or a party, believing that everyone else appeared happy while they are not. When we convince ourselves that there is only one road to “happiness” and that everyone else has found it, we set ourselves up for failure. As I often tell my clients, appearances are misleading and we can never be sure as to what someone else is experiencing. Rather, by focusing on ourselves, and achieving unconditional self acceptance, we can truly work on achieving our goals and attaining our own personal form of happiness.
So maybe watching the Bachelorette is our own attempt at getting an inside look at someone else’s life or maybe we are a nation of hopeless romantics. What’s important is that when the two hours of mindless fun are over, we stay focused on our lives and our own personal experiences. Then, we can examine why our irrational beliefs about whether she will meet her “one true love on her incredible journey” keep us tuning in week after week.