“You have to figure out what you want for yourself before you can lock anyone else into your dreams.” —from the memoir How to Love An American Man by Kristine Gasbarre
Each year as the holidays approach and families gather, coupledom seems to be the norm around the table, or at least there is pressure for everyone to be paired up in some capacity. Now to be fair, not all families apply the same pressure or constant barrage of questions to anyone who either doesn’t arrive with a significant other in tow to the annual family holiday dinners or simply states that they are single, but there are still many who either feel it is within their right to let fly the questions (some so personal, you wouldn’t share with your best friend) that cross personal boundaries.
In defense of all those who are owning their singleness or for those who may still be uncomfortable with it, I want to emphasis the above quote.
Each one of us has our own personal journey that consists of figuring out what we want out of this gift called life. The answer is not something that we are given when the diploma is handed out or when we turn a certain age, it is a arduous process that is necessary to continue traveling until we discover what makes us tick, what stirs our passions and what can’t be lived without.
Once we figure out where we want to place our energies, for our own individual sakes, then we can be a partner to someone committed in a healthy relationship. For it is a mistake to enter into a relationship believing ignorantly that the relationship will fulfill us. We must come to the relationship already fulfilled and content because we know which direction we want to go in life and can communicate that honestly to our partner; thereby, building the foundation that is strong because it is honest and based on wisdom that was derived from our individual discovery of who we are as individuals.
This is not to say that the relationship won’t provide its own fulfillment – it absolutely will. In fact, it will transcend the fulfillment each person has created in their independent life, but in order to have a healthy, lasting relationship, both persons must know how to fulfill themselves independently so that they can come to the partnership knowing what it will take acquire that fulfillment. Otherwise the flailing of searching blindly may not bode well for the duration of the relationship.
And while there is no guarantee for any relationship to go the distance, why not put the odds in your favor and lift the burden of feeling you must be in a relationship and instead discover what fills you up. Because the funny, serendipitous reality is that by pursuing what you love, you light up without knowing it, you gain confidence and your energy is a magnet, thus drawing to you people who are also fulfilled in their own lives and are seeking the same in others.
“Could it be that contentment makes us more attractive?”
Speaking from experience, I look back now on my younger self and realize with even more certainty that since I wasn’t clear about where I was going and what I wanted, how could I possibly have thought I could build a lasting relationship on such a shaky foundation?
The beautiful aha moment is that I couldn’t have known that then, but I do now because I am very clear about what fulfills me, and I am comfortable talking about what I would and wouldn’t want my future to look like.