With Valentine’s Day, or Happy Singles’ Awareness Day, fast approaching, I felt compelled to address some “love” related issue in this week’s post. I wrestled between writing about this and sex, and I decided this topic would be the better option. Because with the latter, people would read my prudish arguments, and probably want to burn me at the stake or at least send me hate (e-)mail. So rather than incur ridicule - save it for another day, people! - lets have a mature, frank, and introspective conversation, and I’ll spare you the birds and bees speech. Ca-peesh?
With the departure of my friend to Shanghai, where she teaches English - I told you my friends were bad-asses - I picked up her gift, “Girls in Trucks,” which she saved from the Half Price book bin just in the nick of time. Reading through the book, I felt immense pity for the protagonist. IMHO, she’s confused, insecure, and self-destructive. She lets one of her boyfriends physically and mentally abuse her - huh?!??! - until she feels numb, used, empty, and all washed-up from her long list of crazed escapades. Her older sister who used to protect her from guys, remarks, “No offense, but what’s left to protect?” Ouch.
I’m not judging this fictional character or her decisions. (She kind of gets her fairytale ending…? Although she goes through A LOT of heartache in 35 years.) However, I am exercising judgment, which is defined as: “the ability to come to sensible conclusions.” I think any rational person would agree that self-destructive behavior is not beneficial to the individual (“Thank you, Captain Obvious.”). I also think it’s fair to say that everyone wants to be in a happy and healthy relationship.
What’s the key to a happy and healthy relationship? The answer is simpler than you think: It’s a happy and healthy YOU.
Now I’m not telling you anything you haven’t heard before - I’m just the white figure standing on your left shoulder, pleading with you to do the right thing: to love yourself. And if that’s not working, here’s some tough love, which, I, btw, told myself: “Get your sh*t together because ain’t nobody gonna love and respect you if you don’t love and respect yourself first!”
“But, Christine, I don’t really know what else to do other than what I’m doing now.” I think the answer lies in knowing what you want, then living your life with passion and purpose (coupled with good-decision making / making your own luck).
If you’re 1) insecure and jealous, 2) have no life direction / interests / hobbies, or 3) relying on someone to complete you and make you whole, you are setting yourself up for disaster. However, if you’ve got goals, love life, accept / love / respect yourself, if you’re learning, growing, bettering yourself, and adding to this world, not only are you (blossoming into) a healthy individual, but you’re EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE. Everyone will be lining up to date you. That’s a guarantee.
Still not convinced? Another side effect of loving and respecting yourself, besides gaining self-confidence and positive self-image, is that you won’t accept anything less than what you think you deserve. In turn, this attitude will cue others / your significant other to treat you equally well.
By no means am I a relationship expert - I have yet to have one serious / long-term relationship - however, I am smart enough to learn from my mistakes in my “faux” relationships as well as from my friends’ mistakes. It’s taken me almost 25 years - AHH! I’ll be in my mid-20s in two and a half months! - to amass some “wisdom.”
Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married, it is time for redemption and reclaiming your dignity. A healthy person + another healthy person = a possibility of a healthy relationship. Anything else before the equal sign will most likely be detrimental to you (and your significant other) and end in grief.
Your job? Get out there and start doing what you love and believe that someone will come along. Being the person you want to be will attract the kind of person you want to be with. Or, if you’re already in a relationship, working on yourself will only strengthen the relationship - your relationship will flourish, just like those pretty flowers you’re set to receive in two days.