I was speaking to a dear friend recently about her fear of getting into a new relationship. She said, "I have so much emotional baggage, and I'm not perfect. I am so flawed, how can I expect a man to love me? I don't even add value to the world.."
This is my reply to her proclamation, which I thought of sharing, as it might be useful to someone else too. Coincidentally, I had come across the quote above just that morning. Life does work in funny ways you don't expect. So, R, this post is dedicated to you, dear.
The perfect relationship is not the coming together of two perfect people. Instead, it is the union of two imperfect people with complementary imperfections, who can help each other grow.
A true relationship exists for two people to grow together. When we care very much about another person, it brings out both the best and the worst in us. Have you noticed that you sometimes hurt the one you love the most, or respond most irrationally to him/her in ways you would never do so with others? That is because our partner is the mirror that reflects our deepest fears and imperfections. This is not necessarily bad though; in fact, it is the best opportunity for you to realize the existence of those fears and neuroses, so that you can fix them. Therefore, relationships are the catalyst for self-improvement, so that you can pick up your broken pieces and integrate them back within yourself with loving care. This process also paves the way for self-love, which then expands your capacity to love others. In other words, allowing yourself to be authentically yourself (ie. being vulnerable) is a blessing in disguise. You are provided the opportunity to face your inner demons head-on.
"Love in your mind produces love in your life... Fear in your mind produces fear in your life... A shift in how we think about life produces a shift in how we experience it."
However, this process is not possible if your mind is plagued with fear though. What is needed for this self-healing to happen is love. Not just self-love, where you allow yourself to accept your mistakes, flaws and broken past, but also a love and trust in the journey of learning. When you are able to do that, things will stop being a drag. Life will become wonderful and exciting. It is all a matter of perspective.
"Instead of expanding our ability or willingness to go out and get anything, we expand our ability to receive what is already here for us."
Furthermore, love is not just about giving, but also learning to receive. A form of love is being graciously willing to receive, and knowing that you are deserving of receiving. Therefore, expand your ability to receive. Know that you are lovable, warts and all. Everyone is deserving of love. Please do not think that you bring no value to the world. We were all brought to this life for a reason, no matter how elusive it may seem. Value should not be measured in material possessions, number of successes, number of smart things you've said, etc. No, dear. Value is being able to touch someone else's life; and if you had made a difference to just one person's life, that is enough.
"Your light is seen, your heart is known, your soul is cherished by more people than you might imagine. If you knew how many others have been touched in wonderful ways by you, you would be astonished. If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be shocked. You are far more wonderful than you think you are. Rest easy with that. Breathe again. You are doing fine, more than fine, better than fine. You're doing great and don't let anything or anyone steal your right to feel good about yourself."
~ Neale Donald Walsch
There is also a misconception about relationships, that relationships exist to complete you. There are so many phrases and songs out there along the lines of, "You are my other half, you make me complete. Without you, I am nothing".
"You must water the seeds of love inside you before attempting to harvest the gardens in your world."
The truth is, you will never learn how to truly love another, until you truly learn to love yourself. Although it is true that the masculine and the feminine are complementary parts of a partnership that complete the circle of yin and yang, it is false to think that a partner provides meaning and fulfillment to one's life. Only you can give your own life meaning, and only self-love can do that. Self-love is knowing that you, as a person, are complete and whole. Your purpose in the world is your contribution to it, and no one else can provide you with that answer. No one should be responsible for your happiness (also, how stressful would that be for him/her?). Only you can make yourself happy, and the way to do that is to accept yourself for who you are. Stop judging yourself for your mistakes and flaws. Life is a learning process, every experience is a gift that points the way to improvement. See your beauty for who you are, even if you are not a supermodel (who really is, anyway? =) ). Witness your inner beauty.
(R, I am going to unbashedly state here that I liked you the first time I met you, and that's really something! And I think you're really pretty.)
When you stop judging yourself, you also stop judging others. When you see beauty in yourself, you also open your eyes to seeing more beauty in others, and in the world. It's a win-win situation. When you see, and appreciate, beauty, you will shine from within and become more attractive too! ^_^
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Finally, hang in there. Even though someone of the opposite (or your preferred) gender has not appeared to appreciate your beauty yet, know that everything happens at the right time. Everything that we face now, and learn from, are little guiding lamps to the person who is truly deserving of you. Until then, keep on growing as a person, learn to love yourself. Live life to the fullest. Be happy with the present moment, life is wonderful as it is, if you can only see it. =)
When you learn to fully love yourself, and operate from a place of love, you will be able to choose the right relationship that serves you best (ie. the person who complements you best). You will not simply accept any person who comes along, out of a fear that you will not be loved by another (and jump on the first available train). When you truly love yourself, you will be patient and not anxious, until the person who will love you well, and whom you will love well, comes along. =)