S / M / D / W – What’s your status?
In the age of internet dating and saturation of picture perfect images, it is easy to get swept away in a search for love. We tweeze, pluck, lift, slather, sweat, scrub, dress, and obsess all in a preparatory hope to meet The One. Perhaps we go on blind dates, fill out online inventories, suffer through coffee with the nice boy/girl our granny knows from church, or hit the bar/club scene when all we want to do is crash on the couch with a bottle of wine after a long week. Amidst the ads for eHarmony, Match.com, etc. and the wedding planning industry, I can’t help but think about what all the buzz is about. Why is finding love (or at least the appearance of it) so important to us and to society? What are we really looking for; who are we looking for; how are we defining love; and where are we looking for it?
The way I see it, love takes many forms and that’s a wonderful thing, because it means we have access to a variety of loving sources that can feed our souls and comfort our hearts. One of the reasons I think the focus on our romantic status has become increasingly important is that we are searching for an external solution to an internal problem. In this search for love, we are often looking for validation, support, and acceptance from someone else. I’ll be the first to admit, this feels really, really, really good, it’s nice, really nice to hear that someone you care about values your opinion and cares.
The unfortunate reality is that sometimes this search for external validation, compounded by external pressures to meet The One or “make it work” we lose our power in the process. Maybe, we try to make the one we are with fit into the space we have created for the one, which feels about as good as a dress that’s two sizes too small. We’re cramming all our needs and expectations into a source that’s not built for it. When the search for the one takes too long or when we’ve kissed one too many frogs, we start to question ourselves. It’s disheartening. In searching for connection for the external validation, we can lose connection with ourselves. What am I doing wrong?! What’s wrong with me?! Why don’t they like me? I’ll never find love. We all know what that looks and feels like, when we sit on the couch with our bottle of wine and get so deep in our thoughts we could drown ourselves in a cup of water. Or maybe we are in a relationship, or recently lost one, and feeling hopeless and deflated. We forget the most important source of love, self-love. We forget that we can feed our own souls and comfort our own hearts. Often, instead of believing that we are enough, we self-damn and self-criticize and reinforce this society preference for a deficit based approach.
What if we turned that on its head? What if, instead of wallowing or questioning or assuming there is something wrong with us, we took that time to really get grounded in who we are and what we like. What if we started to pull from all the sources of love around us, and let that be enough? I am a true believer that like energy attracts like. If you are in a good place mentally, physically, spiritually then you are going to be well positioned to draw and attract that same kind of love from a partner (the residual benefit being that other relationships in our lives start to shift for the better). It’s less about what am I doing wrong and more about what am I doing to serve myself and the people I love. Where am I not taking care of myself the way I want someone else to take care of me?
If we listen to all the expectations of society, our family, friends, and that vision we had for what life was supposed to look like, then we end up missing out on living and loving the life we have. The relationship with ourselves is and will always be the most important relationship we have. Staying connected to our true self helps guide us to the path where we will be primed to love and be loved. The take away here is regardless of your status, start with your relationship with yourself.