Is chocolate the best thing in life?
I started wondering about this recently after reading a message on a Dove dark chocolate, which did assert that, “The best things in life are chocolate.” While whoever wrote it may not have meant it literally, it made me sad, because some people may believe this is true.
When I was younger, I would have been inclined to agree with this statement. Chocolate was always there for me, never gave me funny looks or asked anything of me, and unfailingly gave me something to savor. What could be better than that?
Sarah McLachlan has one answer in her song “Ice Cream”: “Your love is better than chocolate, better than anything else that I’ve tried.”
I doubt many people would argue that love is truly one of the greatest things in life. (Though according to Miracle Max in The Princess Bride, a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is pretty close.) But if we don’t feel that we are the recipient of such love, it is easy to turn to chocolate instead.
After all, according to Fun Valentine Candy Facts, “As an elixir for love, chocolate has been believed throughout history to bring smiles to the broken-hearted and to prompt amorous feelings in both men and women.” And particularly, “[in] the 1800’s physicians commonly advised their lovelorn patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining.”
The other reason chocolate is an obvious substitute is because we use it so often to express love and affection, particularly around Valentine’s Day. If we have chocolate, perhaps we can trick ourselves into feeling that we have love.
But what if we didn’t have to trick ourselves? While not everyone may have the romantic love they would hope, we can focus on our love for ourselves. If you’re feeling a bit down, perhaps you can write yourself a love letter, expounding on everything about you that is wonderful. This isn’t something we’re used to doing, but it can be a powerful experience. It may even reduce your cravings.
Which isn’t to say that chocolate isn’t a wonderful thing, because it certainly is. Nor am I advising anyone to go without chocolate. I simply suggest that perhaps it is not the absolute best thing in life, and that instead of automatically turning to candy, looking at those other areas first may be even sweeter.