Not Another Puzzle Piece
Monday September 9, 2013

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“We must be our own before we can be another’s.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I will admit there were more than a handful of instances in my teens and twenties when I was ignorantly certain that being someone’s significant other was the key to contentment. Well, for goodness sakes, Hollywood can’t be wrong? Happy endings always involved two, not one, right? But the exciting news is that we are the makers of our own happiness. We can only be certain to experience more happiness and contentment when we are at first genuinely content with our own company and knowledgeable of our true selves.

Sure, when we blindly believed the myth of the magically relationship, it seemed as though it was the reason we were happy, but let’s look a little more closely. We felt accepted. We felt less ostracized.  We felt wanted. I would counter to each of these reasons, why didn’t we accept ourselves? Why didn’t we walk away from people who didn’t accept us for who we were in the first place? And why didn’t we respect the uniqueness within ourselves realizing what a gift we had?

While we certainly can be in a relationship regardless of whether we’ve embraced and come to fully respect who we are, unless we’ve become involved with someone who is comfortable with growth and personal evolution and the uncertainty of where it will lead, often the relationship will last long enough to teach a lesson rather than endure for a lifetime.

And such relationships are absolutely fine. In fact, we often need these relationships to teach us lessons if we avoid them when we’re on our own.

More importantly, the healthiest, most enjoyable and extraordinary relationships involve two people who aren’t looking for a puzzle piece that anyone can fill, thus leaving us feeling replaceable if we don’t act or behave a certain way.

The most extraordinary relationships involve two people who honestly have grown into who they are, taken the time to listen to what they want and what they need and found the strength to respectfully stand up for themselves. Such strength includes being able to walk away before taking things too far when it becomes clear an incapability exists; it also includes the strength to work together when the relationship has shown itself to be more valuable than getting everything we want.

Relationships are not one size fits all, but one fundamental component to a relationship that can go the distance, evolve and grow all the while bringing both partners closer, is knowing ourselves prior to entering into one and trusting that our significant other loves and respects us because of who we are and isn’t merely looking for someone to stand beside them and be their puzzle piece.


~Single or Married: 20 Things to Do

~24 Lessons Learned from Sex and the City

~The Most Important Ingredient for a Healthy Relationship

Images: (1) source | The Simply luxurious Life

7 thoughts on “Not Another Puzzle Piece

  1. Hi Shannon,

    I’m a fan of your blog, and try to follow your articles and inspirations on all of my channels.

    I just wanted to let you know, that yesterday, I finally had the courage to stand up for myself and end a three year marriage to a man that disrespected me, chastised me as a child, all the while I’m the full time care for my elderly Mother who is on Hospice care, and he has never offered one bit of help.

    I finally told him to go home. This article was exactly what I needed, at the exact right time. Thank you, Shannon… Thank you.

    1. Your strength is inspiring. After all, only the two involved in a relationship can every really know what goes on. You, and only you, can know what’s best for yourself, and I admire your strength. I wish you well as you move forward into another stage of life learning from the lessons of the past.

    2. Hello Shannon,

      Thank you for your reply, and for the boost of confidence. It’s funny how we question our actions, even if we know we did the best thing for ourselves, because we keep asking, COULD it have changed? Is there something I could have said or done better? But I’m done with beating myself up. I want to find more than a puzzle piece. I want to find the other piece of my heart.

      Again, thank you for such a wonderful post!

  2. Shannon, I appreciated this post. I agree with Joelle. I married at 25 and now, two years later, my husband and I have weathered severe personal storms and are still uncovering parts of who we are as individuals. I think no matter where you are in life, it’s never too late to rediscover the person you were meant to be. It’s scary when those revelations manifest themselves in a marriage. It was for us. But I find that each day, we grow closer and more deeply in love. Without darkness, there could be no light.

    1. Thanks for sharing and I agree. My husband and I have been married for 37 years. We have journeyed together and grown apart and come back together allowing each of us to explore and discover more of who we are. We now face a new challenge. My husband has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Needless to say, we are starting a whole new journey on an even deeper level as to who we are together and who we are as individuals. I am scared but I am learning patience, compassion, and how to let go of the outcome and just be in the present moment.

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