Who’s Out There Depends on What’s In You
I was forty-eight years old before I found my right partner. It happened only after I stopped focusing on finding someone and started concentrating completely on being someone worth finding.
I am so glad to have learned how important it is for you and me to be the moral, ethical, and spiritual person we want to attract. By knowing ourselves intimately and by being honest with ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses, we know what we are comfortable with in another person.
This took me many years to figure out. I grew up on fairy tales which lead me to believe I’d magically meet the perfect person of my dreams and we’d ride off into the sunset and have the perfect life. What a load of crap.
It was after the hard breakup of my sixth in a series of not good relationships when I started to really wonder what was wrong with me. Yes, at first I was focused on blaming others. I came from a victim, why me perspective. But after some soul searching I realized I was the common denominator.
Those six people were not bad folks. Well one was a thief, liar, and alcoholic. But the other five were not horrible people who abused me and used me.
The truth is I did not know myself so how in the world could I share the real me with other people. If I was not being who I really was, if I was not honest with myself about myself, then how could I know what to look for in a partner? Until that wake-up call, I’d never considered the values, spiritual beliefs, and behaviors that were important to me in relationships. And, I did not realize the importance of needing to actually live these values for myself before I could find someone else with them, too.
To have any chance of creating the fulfilling, positive relationship I wanted, I first had to determine who I was, what I wanted in a partner, and how I needed to behave in a relationship.
Who am I? Taking time to seriously think about all I was, the positive and negative, allowed me to identify areas that needed change. I was kind, loyal, generous, organized, determined, and hard-working, and I loved animals and the natural world. Then I focused on honestly listing negative beliefs or behaviors that limited me.
Being insecure, closed, cautious, and emotionally unavailable permeated my relationships. My low self-esteem disconnected me from my feelings and did not allow me to communicate clearly. Codependent, I sought validation from the outside world. Unresolved issues of abandonment and unworthiness made me fear being alone. Setting healthy boundaries out of love and respect for myself was not part of my skill set.
I rushed from relationship to relationship, yet, once in, I became distant, not wanting to be hurt or used. While projecting my pain, negative thoughts, anger, and suspicions onto others, I also looked to other people to rescue me from a confusing and painful past.
The negative list was revealing, but instead of feeling saddened by the process of candidly identifying my limiting beliefs and behaviors, I felt empowered. Having the courage to look at myself honestly generated a crucial to-do list.
After completing a personal inventory, I made a list of what I wanted in a relationship. Then I had to make certain the values and beliefs I identified were a genuine part of me. Why? Because if I was not patient I could not identify someone who was also patient. If I was not kind I would accept someone who was cruel. If I was dishonest I would, and did, date a liar and thief. Each of these went against my core values. But to be the real me I had to start living those values, not just telling myself I was a patient, kind and honest person.
I had to be what I wanted in another person. I wanted clear, open, and honest communication, so I focused on learning to be a good communicator. Since I desired someone who had either worked through or was actively addressing their limiting personal issues, I became devoted to healing my emotional wounds.
Desiring trust, forgiveness, and support, I became trustworthy, forgiving, and supportive. Wanting a responsible and dependable partner, I became accountable and reliable. I concentrated on growing my individuality and spirituality so I would be in the position to encourage and support the same in someone else. I wanted a respectful relationship, so I agreed to treat myself and other people with reverence.
Desiring kindness, honesty, and openness, I focused on being caring, truthful, and friendly. I wanted calm and became dedicated to maintaining a peaceful way of life. Enjoying play, I wanted someone who also consciously made time for fun. Because I desired encouragement, I learned to support others. Desiring intimacy, I became emotionally available, to myself and to other people. Longing to share my dreams, concerns, and wants, I readily became a person who holds the aspirations, apprehension, and desires of others safely within my heart.
When I took time to identify what makes up a good partnership, I also realized the important role compatibility plays in finding a suitable companion. Knowing I wanted to be in a monogamous relationship allowed me to exclude those who practice infidelity. My love of animals caused me to question the reality of having a good relationship with someone who disliked my furry friends. Valuing promptness and neatness, I stopped myself from getting involved with someone who was continuously late or who did not value personal hygiene and tidiness. Placing great importance on spirituality, I desired someone who would support, encourage, and be patient with my heart-growth.
One of our principal reasons for being alive is to learn to live with principles. Through the personal planning process, I realized to have the best life we need to bring the best of ourselves to life. To be our best, it is necessary to assess our strengths and weaknesses.
Take time to determine which values (such as honesty, loyalty, compassion, promptness, respect, cooperation, patience, think of as many as you can) are currently among your advantages, or, if absent, your disadvantages. This is an opportunity to be completely honest and open with yourself.
After determining your values, strengths, and limitations, spend time determining your objectives in a relationship. What is important to you in terms of finances, monogamy, pets, having children and how to raise them, spirituality, savings, accumulation of things vs. memories, etc. The goal is not to make someone over into who you want them to be. The goal is to find someone who shares your values. They put the toilet seat down because they are courteous. They pick up their clothes because they are neat. They share their thoughts and feelings with you because they value the intimacy that comes from clear and honest communication.
Your relationships will not be successful if you try to mold someone into the person you want them to be. Look for someone who already holds the basic values you hold dear. Then you will be able to weather any relationship storm because respect and clear communication is the foundation upon which you have come together to create a better life together than you would have on your own. Who’s out there for you depends on what’s already within you.