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I’ve been happily single a long time.
I have no desire right now to commit myself to anyone or give up the life I have to compromise with someone else’s.
And that’s okay. I’ve never felt sexier, more authentic, and more in my skin.
Being single doesn’t mean I haven’t fallen in love or had some fun dating over the years. I’ve done both. The difference is my loyalty to myself in knowing that I am not in a place to be fully present in a commitment because that wouldn’t be fair to me or the other person.
Being single for as long as I have has also been a gift. I’ve had copious time to get to know myself. I’ve healed traumas. I’ve become more self-loving. I’ve committed myself to daily actions that inspire me to feel good and make conscious, in-alignment choices.
I’ve become comfortable with my own company.
In truth, I am creating the person I have always wanted to be: aware, awake, present, grateful, and inspired.
And because I’ve been single, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder why I would want a relationship and what it would truly bring to my life (and the life of the other person).
It’s also allowed me to notice our deep societal conditioning around romantic relationships.
Have you ever noticed our collective verbiage around “finding our dream partner?”
Namely, how it is always focused on what the other person should be, do, and have and never on who we are and what we are attracting?
“What are you looking for?” is a question we’ve all been asked when seeking romantic love. We blind ourselves to true connection by placing too many rules, “must-haves,” and limitations on who can satisfy us.
There is a theme running through our quest for love—the theme of projection, control, fear, and manipulation.
When I was in college, I remember chatting with a girlfriend about her “dream man.” He had to be handsome, smart, affectionate, open, emotionally available, funny, social, have a good job, have good “breeding,” and be open to dealing with her family.
Meh. No biggie. As long as he had these 10 qualities (all 10!), she’d be happy with that.
I wondered if him being an authentic human being was high on her list.
Except one thing stood out to me: how much she was energetically demanding these qualities, but how she lacked some of them herself. I’m not saying my friend wasn’t a good person, but was she emotionally available? Probably not. Was she open? That was questionable. Did she offer affection? Rarely. Was she even willing to deal with her family? Nope, not really.
So what made her feel she was allowed to demand all that from a partner, without building some of those qualities in herself?
I guess what I am trying to say is, if this partner you have dreamed up is so great, why would they want to be with you? What are you offering, providing, giving, being? Do you emulate the qualities you will eventually demand from your partner?
If you want a great job, how do you go about it? Do you sit on the couch eating donuts, waiting for the phone to ring? Or do you spruce up your resumé, purchase a new work outfit, and make cold calls until someone gives you an opportunity?
This pattern of projection is not exclusive to women in heterosexual relationships. Men do this, too. Gay people do this, too. Every human being no matter how they identify sexually or on the gender spectrum, does this, too.
Why? Because we want to feel a sense of control in our lives in any way possible. Being able to pick and choose (or even groom and build) our “dream” partner has become so commonplace that we hardly question it anymore.
People are complex creatures, not one-dimensional products on a shelf that will act and behave exactly how we have instructed them to.
As Marianne Williamson said in one of her “A Course in Miracles” talks when asked a question about relationships, “No one is sexy all the time.”
In other words, people get sick. They have mood swings. They get tired. They may not want to be your “sounding board” in that particular moment because they are dealing with something in their own life.
One of my friends is a matchmaker (yes, an actual matchmaker). When she is working with clients, one of the main themes she notices is this pervasive, superficial attitude around finding a “good” partner. People come to her after years of failed relationships, only to start the cycle all over again: focusing on qualities that are surface, changeable, and finite.
Sure, everyone wants a good-looking person on their arm, but at the cost of what?
Does this person make you laugh until you cry?
Do they provide an energy of safety and support?
Are they your ride or die?
Do you like being with them, no matter what you do together?
I’m not saying not to have standards, boundaries, or preferences. I’m not saying you can’t desire a good-looking partner that also has a decent job. Not at all.
What I’m saying is to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why those are your demands and standards. Are you cultivating these qualities in yourself? Are you enjoying your own company? Are you improving yourself, your mindset, and your emotional life? Are you going after that fantastic job? Well? Are you?
I’m an energy worker and healer. That’s what I do. Every relationship we have is a mirror. Everything that we don’t like in someone else is a sure sign that we have unresolved pain or trauma. And many times, those qualities we say we “require” in a partner are qualities we wish we had or wish we could cultivate in ourselves.
Guess who you will spend the most time with more than anyone else? You.
You are in your head every second of every day. You are listening to your thoughts every second of every day. You are either your own best friend or your own worst enemy. Period.
So, are you cultivating in yourself what you wish to attract in a partner?
If you truly desire someone drop-dead gorgeous, are you choosing actions that help you become (or maintain) that as well? Are you eating well, exercising, sporting clothes that make you feel powerful and sexy, and taking care of your skin and body?
If you truly desire someone wildly successful, are you cultivating that success in your own life? Are you improving your personal development, honing skills that can make you more money, and working on your financial mindset? No? Then why would a successful person want to hang with you or create a fantastic life with you?
Here is the sobering question: Am I the things I say I desire in a partner?
Are the qualities I say I want a formula for true intimacy (which is not for the faint of heart) or a formula for a surface-level connection?
And why do you even want a relationship? Is this a knee-jerk reaction to your conditioning and programming (or your demanding father’s wishes for you)? Or is this a deep desire to connect and share life with another person, who will have ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad times, just like you will?
Our society has become consumptive, and so have relationships. Instead of asking what we can give, so many of us focus on what we can get. And then, we rarely examine how that would feel to another person. No one wants to feel used to help their partner feel complete, okay, or whole.
You have to be whole yourself, first. This isn’t a Disney movie and believe me, Prince Charming has his bad days, too.
Because we are in relationships with people, not cut-outs from Men’s Vogue or Cosmopolitan.
Take a sobering look at yourself. Ask yourself why someone would want to share their life, time, love, energy, and laughter with you. Are you that “dream partner?” Are you okay with someone checking off your qualities on a list?
Or are you a layered, deep, continually changing, ever-evolving, consciously woke, and badass human being? Are you someone who would like to talk late into the night, share passionate kisses in the rain, and make love while hearing, “I love you,” whispered in your ear?
Are you raw? Ready? Open? Willing? Available?
Well, are you?