To Complement, Not Complete
Monday June 27, 2011

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“I do mine thing, and you do your thing.

I am not in this world

to live up to your expectations,

And you are not in this world

to live up to mine.

You are you and I am I,

And if by chance we find each other,

it’s beautiful.”

-Frederick S. Perls

Hollywood screenwriters would have us believe beginning as young as little children that the only thing each person needs in their lives to attain utter bliss and happiness is the other piece of the puzzle – a partner for life – our prince charming (or charming Cinderella for men).  In fact, so much so that without this piece, we are justified in feeling unhappy if we haven’t found this elusive puzzle piece, and it’s permissible for others to have pity towards us.

First of all, hogwash to each mentioned! And second of all, the story needs to change that is being drilled into our heads at such an early age that it becomes impressionable and hard to lift without true self-awareness.

I am of the belief that each one of us is enough all by ourselves. Period. Each one of us has the opportunity in the lifetime that we are given to explore the world, ourselves and the riches and pitfalls that life holds.

Sticking to the topic of relationships, every person’s journey is different, but the goal shouldn’t be to find someone who makes you happy.  In fact, I argue that it shouldn’t be to find someone at all, but instead we must allow it to happen organically.

I made the mistake through much of my twenties of having the attitude that I needed to design my life so that I might “find” someone, as if if I didn’t look, I wouldn’t see him.  If I didn’t appear available, or go to the right swanky restaurants and bars on Saturday or Thursday night, I might even miss him.

But see, that is what our culture would have you believe. That is what the dating sites would have you believe. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go out and have a good time. In fact, that is the exact opposite of what I’m trying to say – go out and have a blast, but I am saying I believe that dating sites prey on this fear that sits inside us at times and gets the better of us, resulting in so many people forking over their cash that could have be spent on something we might have truly enjoyed rather than injecting more fear into the problem (okay, I realize that I just lost any opportunity for a dating site to advertise on my blog – so be it.).

I know from experience that each dating adventure, each relationship – good or bad – is something I don’t regret. I also know, and am thankful that I am not the young, fearful, impressionable young woman I was a decade ago because I wouldn’t have been a partner that would have complemented my partner in the way that I would today.

And I think that is the key.

We should not be in search of someone who will complete us.  Completing ourselves is our job, responsibility and in a grand way, a blessing.  Figuring out what makes us tick, what we can and can’t live without, discovering what we are capable of and building the strength within ourselves that it takes to stand up for ourselves, our beliefs and our dreams is something that must be established before we enter into a lifelong commitment.

Many of these things we do figure out in relationships that were not met to last, but the beauty is there is always a lesson, a gem, to take away from each relationship no matter how long, short, successful or hurtful.

By following your path, by being yourself and by listening to that often quiet voice inside, you will meet someone who also is at a place in their lives where they know themselves, are comfortable with themselves and isn’t looking for someone to complete them, but instead someone who can make life all the more sweeter.

A relationship where both people complement the beauty, idiosyncrasies and unique qualities within each other is ultimately what is possible, but stop changing your life to find it. Changing who you are will result in a relationship based on lack of authenticity, and that is not a sound foundation upon which to grow.

Just be who you are, enjoy the journey (which is forever ongoing) of discovering yourself, allow yourself to fall in love, and yes, get your heart broken – it’s a beautiful ride and I have so many amazing memories – not one I would want to erase – not one.

13 thoughts on “To Complement, Not Complete

  1. I am 100% in agreement here! The best advice I ever had was when I was 33, feeling lonely and thinking I should have a man in my life. My friend Sandy told me to get on with my own life, buy a horse and take your mind of looking for Mr. Right. She said that owning a horse was all encompassing so I would not have the time to think about men. Boy, was she right. Within 12 months I was married. We have now been married for 20 years. I stopped looking so I think that made me seem less desperate and more attractive to the opposite sex. Pheremones are wierd things. As Shannon says, go out have a blast and stop looking. It will come to you!
    Happy days 🙂

  2. This is a super breath taking read! Everybody people remind me “why don’t you have a boyfriend” as if I am some weird freak of nature. But you know what? As much as I would like one, I don’t want to compromise my personal integrity in a desperate search for one. I wouldn’t mind having a boyfriend, but I have to say I love my “single-ness” and my own personal freedom to pursue and do whatever I want. I am happy just being, surrounded by wonderful friends and family.

  3. Joy – Thank you for sharing your experience. I truly believe that those who may not understand how it is possible to be comfortable without being attached ask such a question out of ignorance, not necessarily to hurt (at least that’s is what I tell myself, but I do believe it). If nothing else it is that happy single people are perplexing and we pique a curiosity that people can’t help ask about. It really is a shift in understanding, but as long as we handle the answer we give with integrity and not take it personally (as their question reflects their thoughts), we can take it as a compliment.
    Thank you again for your comment.

  4. My dear Shannon, once again you write a post filled with wisdom and great advice. I completely agree with you and have given my own friends the same advice in the past. I truly believe that it is SO important to work on completing yourself and be happy with who you are, and when you do that things fall into place. Before I found my charming prince, I spent a long time on my own and grew immensely. I was happy with who I was all by myself and when I least expected it I found my perfect complement. My favorite quote from your post today: “We should not be in search of someone who will complete us. Completing ourselves is our job, responsibility and in a grand way, a blessing”. Amazing! Thank you for such a great post! 🙂

  5. Wonderfully written and I so agree. I always say the day that I realized I didn’t need my husband to make my life happy was the day our relationship blossomed. We’ve been married for 28 years now and our relationship feels stronger & fresher & smarter than ever before.

  6. Agree 100%. What movies and dating sites are promoting is actually co-dependence which is terribly unhealthy. A partner should be an enhancement to your already full life, not what completes it. In order to attract a great partner, you have to be on your own and understand yourself first and that takes a tremendous amount of work.

  7. Absolutely amazing post. Something that every single person has given thought to at one time, if not much of the time… and the way you address it is with characteristic nuanced sensitivity and loveliness. Very inspiring! I’m sending this to a friend I was just having a conversation with about these very same things today- she will really appreciate seeing it laid out so simply and truly.
    Just beautiful!

  8. I Love this!!! SO True!!! Every word you said i love it!! & for Yonks i so agree with you! im doing the exact thing & glad to hear you found oyur love i know and i have faih my will come when the time is ready. thismoment im ejoyin it with my family & friends. Find someone to complement me not to complete me!!!

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