In my mid twenties, I dated a guy with a penchant for cheating. He was one of a list of completely unacceptable guys I cycled through during my early adult years. Frustration, heartbreak, and angst sent me to the office of a therapist. I wanted relief. Pronto.
How did I get myself into such a spot with guys, I wondered. Were there actually any “good” guys out there? Some of my friends seemed to find them, but well adjusted, kind, loving guys seemed to elude me.
“You can’t find the right guy for yourself if you don’t know what you are looking for,” my therapist declared one rainy afternoon as I forlornly recounted yet another sad relationship story.
I was sent home with an assignment: to make a list of qualities I wanted in a partner. That weekend, I sat down and made a list. Of the sixteen items I had written on my list, I was surprised to discover that he guy I was dating at the time had less than a quarter of the of the qualities I was looking for and, quite frankly that was stretching it.
Perhaps he was right for someone, just not for me. While it was difficult initially to let go of the relationship, (even though he had cheated continuously–I was young…) letting go opened the way for both of us to find someone more suitable.
The list a was powerful tool which helped me become more selective in who I went out with, and taught me that I had the ultimate say in who I chose to spend time with. Dating was an opportunity to see if I liked the guy, not the other way around. Most importantly, I didn’t have to settle; I began to see that there were lots of guys out there, and I became more confident that I had the ability and deserved to find the right one.
The list can also serve another, much more powerful purpose, which I discovered recently. Often, we look for others to give us the very things we need to provide ourselves. For example, we might want someone who loves us without judgement. To look deeper, one might ask, do I love myself without judgement?
If you are like me, you might find yourself to be a harshly self judging. When we attract a similarly critical partner, the stress and pressure becomes untenable. We think that if we find that gentle, non judging partner, all will be well. But the voice of our own inner judge continues whether we have a partner or not, unless we intervene and grant ourselves acceptance. If we are able find acceptance and even compassion ourselves, what others think loses it’s power. It has been my experience that when one dancer stops dancing, the dance naturally stops.
I found compassion and healing for myself through the daily practice yoga and meditation. One of my close friends found it through her church, others take up self nurturing and self care practices. As I have shared in previous posts, my early attempts at self care and nurturing were wonky, but I kept trying with the hope that I would find my way to a healthier inner world, and though it’s taken time, I have come a long way and learning to give yourself what you need is a worthy pursuit.
- I have a say in who I spend time with, and who I invite more deeply into my life.
- Letting go of the wrong guy opens the door to finding the right guy.
- You can’t find what you are looking for if you don’t take time to figure out what you actually want.
- To stop looking for others to fill my needs.
- To practice self acceptance and compassion.
- We have the best shot at a healthy relationship if we first tend to our own emotional health.
*Better Help is an affiliate program.
Sometimes, we need help working our way through various issues in our lives. I have turned to therapy several times along my path to healing. Recently, I learned about Better Help, an online non-emergency mental health program that pairs you with an online therapist. It’s completely confidential and because it’s all done online you don’t have to worry about going in for an appointment. Click HERE for more information. *this is an affiliate link