Humanity (noun): A lifetime quest to love and be loved. At least that what it seems to feel like some days. It’s natural to feed on validations, to feel lonely in times. What isn’t healthy is the narrative that we’re fed about finding the right person, as if your perfect person is out there hiding, just out of reach.
So we seek, we search, we crawl, we climb. Worst of all - we hope. Oh, how we hope. Hope is the reason that we’re willing to place our destiny in good faith that everything happens for a reason rather than creating own future. Our quests begin early, growing more and more desperate as we’re asked questions like ‘So are you dating anyone?’ at Thanksgiving dinners. We put ourselves in places that show we’re open and optimistic. Mainly bars. That'll do, right? But we grow tired of searching, of the bullshit, of the games. Then one day, poof! Just like they said. Right time, right place. Right mindset. We find the right person, only to grow frustrated with them every other minute a year from now. Jackpot, am I right?
This led me to the question, is anyone truly the right person or were we just feeling extra receptive that day? Perhaps we’re beaten down just low enough for our expectations to finally fall with us. Or maybe it happens when we finally stop trying so dang hard - when we switch our fixation to fixing ourselves rather than searching for our soulmates.
Here’s what I know to be true. It’s not about finding the 'right person', it’s about building the right relationship. It’s about being the right version of yourself FOR yourself. This is a much less romantic and far harder version of love than the story they tell on the movie screens. Sure, you hope they’re a hottie, but beyond that, these are the true qualifications for creating something sustainable and real.
No matter how hard things can feel, it’s critical that you continue to choose to be there standing next to them to help pick up the pieces, and vice versa. Look at the hardships as an opportunity to reconstruct those pieces into a new and better picture. It may only slightly resemble what you started with but evolution is not only necessary but needed in a healthy relationship. You know when you see a beautiful painting for the first time and you appreciate it at a surface level - the colors, the shapes, the scene? Well, it isn't until you lean in, taking the time to study the thought process that fueled its creation that you truly understand and value its worth. That's the same as a relationship. Take the time to learn each other and then relearn each other.
Compromise is a must. Listen more than you speak (which is actually impossible for someone like me so maybe just keep trying to hear each other out.) Give them the benefit of the doubt where needed while still reserving respect for yourself, too. Here’s a concept: maybe they aren’t mad at you, maybe they just had a horrible day at work. Respecting each other and the life you’ve created together should be a bond, not a break.
It's taking time for yourself.
One of the wildest realizations in relationships is realizing the importance of tending to your secret garden. Self-care, self-care self-care, they say. But then we enter these relationships, getting so caught up with the madness and excitement of it all that we push ourselves to the side. We must nourish ourselves first to create the strongest foundation possible. Find the person who encourages you to spend that time on your own, who pushes you to place more of a focus on your passions - even when you get annoyed because ~hello, don't they what to hang out with you?~
It's a blend between fairy tale and monotony.
Fairytales are magical myths, right? So why do we keep falling for them? Relationships don't stay rainbows and butterflies. Honestly, it’s unsustainable and hmmm, dangerous? to focus all of your mind body and soul on another individual.
Did you know the during the first six months or so of a relationship, your partner is a pure reflection of who you are hoping they will be? Seriously, they could do anything, say anything and you're doomed to interpret it with rose-colored goggles. It’s the flawed human condition to convinces ourselves that we’ve met someone on the complete same page as us (breeding, duh.) Just wait. Two years from now in those moments of frustration, you'll come to recognize the vast and unavoidable differences. Falling in love is simply the strange chance of two people stumbling over the same sentence in different books at the same moment.
It's growing together, separately.
There's an odd preconceived notion in our culture today that stresses the idea of a soulmate. As the Greek myth goes, humans were once four-legged, two-headed creatures - but were torn down the middle as a curse to forever wander the world searching for their other half. We are not half. We are whole all on our own. The moment you can recognize that your person was and is first and foremost, their own, is the moment you can begin your growth. Maybe the Greeks got the soul searching wrong, but there’s no doubt we’re strange wandering creatures. Allow yourself to change and for your partner to mold and morph into the person they too are meant to be.
It's remembering why you came together in the first place.
Giggle on the living room floor, smile when you screw up your grammar in an argument. Continue to court each other daily. We can get so caught up in the details - in the expectations - that we forget being in a relationship is a choice. It’s often said that the things that attracted you to your partner in the first place can end up being the very things that bother you down the line. Sure, this may be well true, but we can fight that current. Force yourself to find the person you googled over in the beginning. Now THAT is finding the right person.