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Friends, Lovers, lend me your ears. I have something very important to share. I have traveled to you from twelve years in the future to deliver this one very important message:
Everything you think you know about love is wrong.
Multi-media, pop culture, and Walt Disney are only a few of the culprits responsible for society’s warped view of what love should look like and how it should feel. We are choosing our partners based on these warped views instead of choosing people with characteristics that can lead to a long-lasting, loving, and successful relationship.
Our favorite love songs on the radio, romance films in the theaters, and reality dating shows on television have got all of us drinking the kool-aid, turning down eighty and ninety percenters in search of an A+. But I’m here to tell you that your searching is in vain. Because those few extra qualities that can bump a B+ to an A+ will be absolutely worthless during the “for better or for worse” periods of your relationship.
I believe in the importance of setting standards and expectations for your future mate, but the main problem in our society is we have distorted ideals of who our mates should be. This causes some of us to set the bar way too high, completely dismissing those that do not meet every single requirement on our list.
If you are currently single, but desire to eventually have a long-lasting, loving, successful, “til death do you part” kind of marriage, then the most important step in finding a partner is not choosing someone who is perfect, but choosing someone who is perfect for you.
I understand that, for the most part, our initial interest in a potential mate is sparked by physical attractiveness. This prompts us to act on those physical feelings, and keep our fingers and toes crossed that the person will be the total package. Sometimes, even after learning that physical chemistry is the only thing connecting us, we may continue to ride out the relationship until it falls apart, and then refuse to take personal responsibility for why we keep failing in love.
You know I’m your Best Girlfriend, right? And everything I say comes from a genuine place that wants you to be happy and find success in love. Based on the trials and tribulations of my own relationship, I have to let you know that everything you think you want in a partner today will not keep you in love twelve years from now. Every quality that you find perfect today will be flawed twelve years from now. Everything you believe about long-lasting love today will be completely different in twelve years. And most importantly, every red flag you choose to ignore today will come back to bite you in twelve years.
In Why You Are Failing in Love, I stated that if you find you are constantly disappointed in the people you keep falling for, I suggest you take your list of requirements for a potential mate and throw them out of the window. Your list more than likely contains superficial standards that you have been fooled into thinking you need. Looking for “the whole package” is a waste of time because your version of what the whole package contains is tainted.
Forgive me for repeating myself, but the only way you will find the best possible person for you is to, first and foremost, figure out who you are. Not what your hobbies are, what your favorite foods are, what your favorite color is, or anything else that is subject to change as you evolve.
What do you stand for? What is your calling? What are your passions? What motivates you to wake up every morning and live the life you lead? If you cannot answer these questions without hesitation, without conviction and certainty, then you will never figure out what you need in a partner. It is impossible to find the best possible person for you if you have no idea who you are.
So if you are not in a committed relationship right now, do not spend your alone time doing anything and everything to keep yourself from feeling lonely. Use this time to do some deep self-reflection and learn who you are. And if you are happy with who you are, perfect! Please skip to the next paragraph.
On the other hand, if you are not happy with the person you are, even better! Because there is someone out there looking for you, and now is the time to improve and prepare yourself to be the best partner possible!
Lowering the Bar vs. Settling
After being a part of a gymnastics club for four years, I set out on a journey to find a new gym for my daughter that could bring out the best in her. One gym in particular I had written off as soon as we walked through the door because of its appearance. The facility was dark and cold, the equipment was worn and beat up… everything about the place looked old and dingy. But when the coaches started working with my daughter, my outlook completely changed. After only a few minutes of instruction, my daughter was a better gymnast than before she walked through the door. Only a few minutes later, I was declaring that this was exactly where my daughter belonged. These were the coaches that could bring out the best in her. This was the gym that was going to turn my daughter into the best possible gymnast she could be.
Settling is choosing a partner that fits all of your superficial standards, but does not connect with who you are and what you stand for. Settling is choosing someone who fulfills all of your requirements today, but does not have what it takes to hold your hand through the good times and the bad times of tomorrow. Settling is committing to someone because of what they give you or how they make you feel, not because of who they are. Settling is giving up your values, passions, and what you stand for in the name of pleasing someone who does not believe you are good enough as is. Settling is ignoring the fact that someone is not right for you just because they fill a certain void in your life.
Don’t settle, just lower the bar. And by lower the bar, I really mean restructure your standards. Lowering the bar is choosing a partner who may not fit society’s definition of “perfect,” but fits your personality and temperament like a glove. Lowering the bar is choosing a partner who loves and accepts all of who you are, but inspires you to keep improving.
Stop looking for your superficial version of an A+ and start looking for the person that is a beautiful compliment to your character. Look for someone who shares your drives and passions, who believes in what you stand for, and who is also fueled by what motivates you. Look for someone who brings out the best in you.
As you continue on your quest for love, from this moment forward, keep your heart and mind open to the fact that even if your best possible match is not perfect, he or she may still be absolutely perfect for you.
My next post will be a continuation of Before the Beginning, where I hope to discuss the best character traits to look for in the person you hope to have a successful relationship with. Until then…
~Love and Happiness from your Best Girlfriend~